How To Lose 20–30 Pounds In 5 Days: The Extreme Weight Cutting and Rehydration Secrets of UFC Fighters

Nate Green workout and nutrition tests collage showing feet on a scale, dietician's hand on his stomach, vertical jump test using ladder rungs, chest circumference measurement with tape.

The following is a guest post by Nate Green, who works with Dr. John Berardi, nutritional advisor to athletes like UFC champion Georges St. Pierre (GSP).

This is the first of two blog posts entailing extreme physical experiments. Absolutely no performance enhancing drugs of any kind were used.

Part 1 — this post — details exactly how top fighters like Georges St. Pierre rapidly lose 20-30 pounds for “weigh-ins.” To refine the method, Nate performed this on himself, losing 20 pounds in 5 days. The unique part: Dr. Berardi and team measured key variables throughout the entire process, including the last “rehydration” phase. As Berardi put it:

“We used GSP’s exact protocol with him [Nate]. The idea was that by doing this with a guy who didn’t actually have to compete the next day, we could measure all sorts of performance variables that you’d never get with an athlete about to fight.”

Part 2 — the next post — will share how Nate used intermittent fasting and strategically planned eating to gain 20 pounds in 28 days, emulating a fighter who wants (or needs) to move up a weight class in competition.

Cautionary Note on Part 1

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters put it all out in the open for the world to see: they kick, punch, laugh, cry, and bleed in front of thousands of arena fans and millions more watching at home.

But even if you’re a hardcore fan who knows all the stats, there’s something behind the scenes that you’ve probably never seen in full: world-class weight manipulation

Done right, it can significantly increase a fighter’s chances of winning. An athlete will artificially lower his weight for pre-fight weigh-ins, then show up to the actual fight 10, 20, or even 30 pounds heavier than his opponent. It’s a game changer.

Done wrong, it can make even the toughest guy lose his edge… and probably the fight. There’s serious risk of organ failure if done haphazardly.

Even though boxers and wrestlers have been manipulating weight in this fashion for decades, it has the air of illicit activity. And though it’s legal in MMA competition, you should never try this at home or without medical supervision. Excessive dehydration can kill you. “Cutting weight” has no place in real-world dieting or behavior.

This is NOT an article on sustainable weight loss or healthy living. Rather, it’s a fascinating look at how far athletes and scientists will go to manipulate the human body for competitive advantage.

Here’s how it works…

Enter Nate

Imagine this: It’s Saturday night and you’re a top-ranked MMA fighter who just stepped into the cage to fight for the 170-pound Welterweight Championship.

Question: How much do you weigh?

The answer may seem obvious: 170 pounds, right? But if you followed the steps of extreme weight manipulation, the real answer is that you weigh somewhere between 185 and 190 pounds. That’s 15-20 pounds more than the “cutoff” weight of 170.

24 hours before you stepped into the cage, however, you did in fact weigh 170 pounds. You had to. Friday night was the official weigh-in where you and your opponent both stripped down to your skivvies, stepped on the scale in front of the judge, and prayed that the number on the scale hit 170 or lower.

But once you stepped off that scale it was a race to gain weight.

I find this kind of physiological puppetry very interesting. Most of us regular guys have a hard time gaining or losing just 5 pounds at a time.

But the top combat athletes can lose up to 30 pounds in just 5 days leading up to the fight. Then they can gain nearly all of it back in the 24 hours between weighing in and going toe-to-toe.

They do this to gain a massive competitive advantage. In other words, the bigger guy who retains more of his strength, agility, and endurance will likely win. The guy who weighs in at 170 — and then fights at 170 — often has a world of hurt coming his way.

That’s why Anderson Silva – arguably the world’s best MMA fighter — normally fights in the 185-pound class even though he actually weighs 215 pounds. A few days before he fights, Anderson “cuts” 30 pounds to make weight…then gains most of his weight back in 24 hours in time for his fight.

Georges St Pierre — arguably the world’s 2nd best fighter – normally walks around at 195 pounds. He ends up cutting 25 pounds to make his 170 pound weight class, and then gains 20 of it back before his fight.

Sneaky, huh?

Just how do these guys do it? And what does this rapid weight loss and weight gain do to their performance?

My Extreme Weight Manipulation Experiment

I’m lucky enough to be friends with Dr. John Berardi and Martin Rooney, two guys who regularly work with UFC athletes.

Recently, I told them I wanted to see what cutting weight was like. Is it really possible for a regular guy like me to drop 20 pounds in a few days then gain all of it back in 24 hours?

And if it was possible, what would it feel like? I heard cutting weight was one of the hardest things fighters do throughout their career. Was I man enough to handle it? Or would I give up when things got tough?

They agreed to help me cut 20 pounds in one week, and then put it all back on again in 24 hours.

Nervous doesn’t even begin to explain how I felt.

The Smart Way To Cut Weight Fast

Nate Green before cutting

Before pics. Full of water and feeling happy.

Now extreme weight manipulation can go horribly, horribly wrong. Even a lot of UFC guys don’t know how to do it the smart way. Instead, they put their bodies in real harm by doing stupid things like taking a lot of diuretics, not drinking any water, skipping meals, wearing trash bags while exercising (sometimes in the sauna) and generally being idiotic.

They lose weight, of course. But they also lose energy and power and develop one bad temper. None of which helps during fight time.

With the help of Dr. Berardi and Rooney, I decided to take a smarter route, instead of putting my health in serious jeopardy.

I started at 190.2 pounds and had 5 days to lose 20 pounds.

Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional strategies we used — the same one Georges St Pierre and other elite MMA fighters use before a big fight. (Remember: we know this because Dr. Berardi is Georges’ nutrition coach).

STRATEGICALLY DECREASE WATER CONSUMPTION

Dropping weight fast is all about manipulating your water and sodium levels.

For a fighter who wants to cut weight quickly and safely, here’s how much water he would consume in the 5 days leading up to his weigh-in:

Sunday – 2 gallons

Monday – 1 gallon

Tuesday – 1 gallon

Wednesday – .5 gallons

Thursday – .25 gallons

Friday – No water till after weigh-in at 5PM.

As you can see, the amount of water starts high with two gallons and decreases with each day till he’s drinking hardly any water on Thursday and Friday.

This is to ensure their body gets into “flushing mode.”

By drinking lots of water early on, the fighter’s body will down-regulate aldosterone, a hormone that acts to conserve sodium and secrete potassium.

And when he suddenly reduces the amount of water he drinks in the middle and end of the week, his body will still be in flushing mode, meaning he’ll hit the bathroom to pee a lot even though he’s hardly drinking any water.

What happens when you excrete more fluid than you take in? Bingo! Rapid weight loss.

DON’T EAT MORE THAN 50 GRAMS OF CARBS PER DAY

Since one gram of carbohydrate pulls 2.7 grams of water into the body, it’s important for fighters to keep their carb intake low.

By doing this, they also deplete muscle glycogen (a source of energy) and keep their body in “flush mode”.

DON’T EAT FRUIT, SUGAR, OR STARCHES

These are carbs that should be avoided entirely while cutting.

EAT MEALS THAT CONTAIN A LOT OF PROTEIN AND FAT

Fighters have to eat something. Since they’re avoiding carbs, Dr. Berardi advises them to load up on high-quality protein like meats, eggs or a vegetarian sources of protein. It’s also the perfect opportunity to eat lots of leafy vegetables (like spinach) and cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower).

Georges St Pierre normally has his meals prepared by a private chef so he doesn’t even have to think about this stuff or make decisions. Recommended reading: here’s an entire article detailing GSP’s training diet.

DON’T EAT SALT

Since the body likes to hold on to sodium (which will hold on to water), dropping salt helps the fighter’s body flush water out.

CONSIDER A NATURAL DIURETIC

This step isn’t always necessary, but it can help when you’re getting down to the wire and still need to lose water. Opt for a natural diuretic like dandelion root, but wait until the last 2 days to use it.

TAKE HOT BATHS

We sweat a lot in hot environments. However, we sweat the most in hot, humid environments. Since hot water offers both heat and 100% humidity, fighters lose water quickly by taking hot baths and fully submerging everything but their nose for 10 minutes at a time.

SIT IN THE SAUNA

This is the “finishing touch” to flush the last few pounds of water and is only used on the last few days leading up to the weigh-in.

The Weight Cut Schedule

So if we take all of that and break it into a weekly plan, it looks like this:

SUNDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 2 gallons

Salt: None

MONDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 1 gallon

Salt: None

TUESDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 1 gallon

Salt: None

WEDNESDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 0.5 gallon

Salt: None

Sauna in afternoon

THURSDAY

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: As much as you want in 3 meals

Water: 0.25 gallon

Salt: None

Sauna in afternoon for 30 minutes, hot water bath at night

FRIDAY (WEIGH IN AT 6PM)

Carbs: Less than 50 grams per day. No fruit, starches, or sugars.

Protein and Fat: Eat 2 very small meals until weigh in

Water: None till weigh-in

Salt: None

Sauna until weight is met

(Note from Tim: You can download the entire weight-manipulation plan that Nate used here: Weight Loss and Rehydration Protocol.)

What It Feels Like To Cut Weight

Nate Green after cutting weight

Dry as a bone and none to happy about it.

So that all looks fine on paper. But what does it actually feel like to go through it?

One word: Hell.

I started my cut on Sunday at 190 pounds. Here’s a quick rundown of what it looked like.

SUNDAY – 190 POUNDS

I carry a gallon water jug with me wherever I go, which makes me feel ridiculous. But I have to make sure I get my two gallons of water in. Overall, though, I feel fine. It actually doesn’t seem that difficult. I’m not sure what the big deal is.

MONDAY – 187 POUNDS

I’m starting to miss the taste of salt. All of my food is bland. Now I’m drinking one gallon of water instead of two. Still not that bad.

TUESDAY – 182 POUNDS

I go to the bathroom 13 times in one day. A new record, I believe. And I’m still drinking a gallon of water.

WEDNESDAY – 179 POUNDS

Now I’m down to half gallon of water per day, which means I have to ration it out, which feels weird. I have a little with breakfast, a little with lunch, and a little with dinner. It’s definitely not enough water.

My mouth is dry. I feel dehydrated. I’m drinking straight espresso instead of drip coffee because it contains too much water.

In the evening, I try my first hot water bath. I generally enjoy baths, but this one’s different. My apartment’s water doesn’t get as hot as Dr. Berardi wants it to be — “hot enough to cause moderate pain but not burn your hand” — so I fill two pots and a kettle with water, put them on the stovetop until they boil, and pour them into the bath tub.

I get into the bath and immediately regret the decision.

10 minutes later, I’m lying naked in the middle of my living room trying to catch my breath. My eyes are rolled back into my head. My entire body feels like a giant heartbeat. I want to drink some water, but can’t.

This is starting to be less fun.

THURSDAY – 175 POUNDS

I am a zombie. A zombie who sits. Mostly in the sauna or on the couch.

In the sauna I watch beads of sweat collect on my skin. I see my precious water run down my arms and chest and legs and know that I won’t be able to replenish any of it when I get out.

I only have .25 gallons of water to last me the entire day. I’m ready for this to be over.

FRIDAY – 169.7 POUNDS AT 5PM

I look sick, very sick.

I spend the last 30 minutes before the weigh-in in the sauna and drink four sips of water throughout the entire day…

What Cutting Weight Does To Performance

OK, I’ll save you the rest of the journal entries and share some performance data.

While the fighters are tested in competition, no one has ever really documented how much strength or power they lose by dehydrating. (Or how much strength and power they regain after they get all their weight back.)

So we decided to check.

And it turns out, losing 20 pounds in 5 days is not conducive to being strong, powerful, or agile. (Surprise!) I couldn’t jump as high, lift as much weight, or run as fast or as long as I had just a week before during our baseline testing.

POWER TEST: VERTICAL JUMP

Baseline: 31.7 inches

After Dehydration: 27.6 inches

STRENGTH ENDURANCE TEST: 225-POUND BENCH PRESS

Baseline: 15 reps

After Dehydration: 5 reps

ENDURANCE TEST: MAX TIME ON TREADMILL

Baseline: 3 minutes and 14 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

After Dehydration: 1 minute and 28 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 3% incline

It’s no wonder these guys try to gain all their weight back immediately after weighing in. They’d be screwed if they didn’t.

Speaking of which…

The Smart Way To Gain Weight Fast

Once UFC athletes cut weight and weigh-in, they’d never be able to perform at a top level. (Which is obvious from my less-than-stellar performance in the gym).

So what do they do next? They gain as much weight as humanly possible in 24 hours.

Here’s how they do it. (And how I did it, too.)

DRAMATICALLY INCREASE WATER INTAKE.

According to Dr. Berardi, the body can absorb only about 1 liter (2.2 pounds) of fluid – at maximum – in an hour. So he advises the fighters he works with to not to drink any more than that. Instead, he tells them to sip 1 liter (2.2 pounds) of water per hour.

However, the fighters won’t retain all that fluid. In fact, probably about 25% of it will be lost as urine.

So, here’s the math for someone like Georges St Pierre:

  • 9 liters (20 pounds) of water to get back.
  • 11 liters (25 pounds) of fluid between Friday weigh-in and Saturday weigh-in to get it all back.
  • 24 hours in which to do it. 8 of which he’ll be sleeping and 3 of which will be leading up to Saturday weigh-in.

This leaves 13 total hours for rehydration.

So as soon as Georges steps off the scale, he literally slams a liter of water and carries the bottle around with him, refilling it and draining it every hour until 3 hours before his fight. (There isn’t a bathroom in the cage.)

EAT AS MUCH CARBOHYDRATE (AND PROTEIN AND FAT) AS YOU WANT

Now’s also the time for fighters to load up on carbs and pull all the water they’re drinking back into their muscles. It also helps them feel more human and look less sickly. (Something I definitely experienced during my super-hydration phase.)

Dr. Berardi has his fighters eat a big meal directly after they weigh in. He doesn’t restrict calories – his athletes can eat as much as they want in that meal as long as it’s healthy food like lean meats, sweet potatoes, rice, and vegetables. (Gorging on junk food is a bad idea.)

Then on Saturday (fight day), Dr. Berardi has his fighters eat a satisfying amount of healthy food in a few small meals leading up to the fight.

ADD SALT TO EVERYTHING

Since sodium helps the body retain water, fighters are encouraged to add extra salt to their meals.

Here’s what my super rehydration schedule looked like:

The Weight-Gain Schedule

FRIDAY AFTER WEIGH-IN

Carbs: Eat as much as you want in one meal after weigh-in and testing

Protein and Fat: Eat as much as you want in one meal after weigh-in and testing

Rehydration Beverage: Drink 1 liter of water mixed with 1/2 scoop of carbohydrate/protein drink for every hour you’re awake. (We used Surge Workout Fuel.)

Salt: Salt food

SATURDAY

Carbs: Eat satisfying amount in four meals before weigh-in

Protein: Eat satisfying amount in four meals before weigh-in

Rehydration Beverage: Drink 1 liter of water mixed with 1/2 scoop of carbohydrate/protein drink for every hour you’re awake but stop 3 hours before testing.

What Gaining Weight Does To Performance

Nate Green after rehydration

Back to normal-ish.

First things first: Personally, I ended up gaining 16.9 pounds back in 24 hours. Not bad.

But the real question: How much strength and power do you really gain when you super-hydrate?

Answer: A lot.

While I didn’t perform as well as my baseline (when I did all the performance tests before I started the experiment), I got really close. Which means that even though I put my body through a week of torture, it was almost 100%.

And I totally annihilated my performance numbers from just 24 hours before when I was sickly and dehydrated.

I ran faster and longer, jumped higher, and lifted more weight for more reps.

POWER TEST: VERTICAL JUMP

Baseline: 31.7 inches

After Dehydration: 27.6 inches

Re-hydrated: 29 inches

STRENGTH ENDURANCE TEST: 225-POUND BENCH PRESS

Baseline: 15 reps

After Dehydration: 5 reps

Rehydrated: 12 reps

ENDURANCE TEXT: MAX TIME ON TREADMILL

Baseline: 3 minutes and 14 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

After Dehydration: 1 minute and 28 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 3% incline

Rehydrated: 3 minutes and 25 seconds of sprinting at 8mph with 6% incline

Lose Weight. Gain Weight. Fight.

For an MMA fighter, this is about the time when he’d be getting ready to step in the cage and fight, which means it’s about the same time you’d turn on the TV and see him in his corner, jumping up and down, getting psyched and ready for battle.

How much does he weigh?

It’s safe to say at least 10-30 pounds more than the weight class he’s fighting in.

And now you know the “secret” to extreme weight manipulation, something 99.9% of guys who watch MMA will never know.

Pretty cool, right?

If you have questions, please put them in the comments and Dr. Berardi and I will do our best to answer them.

###

Nate’s not done yet. Next, we’ll have Part 2 – How To Gain 20 Pounds in 28 Days: The Extreme Muscle Building Secrets of UFC Fighters.

For more about Nate and his writing, check out his blog.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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889 Replies to “How To Lose 20–30 Pounds In 5 Days: The Extreme Weight Cutting and Rehydration Secrets of UFC Fighters”

  1. If I did this and after the 5th day I just started to drink my 1 gallon of water a day is that ok? I’m trying to get rid of the water weight and will I gain it all back? Can this be used as a diet plan

  2. I know this post is a bit old, but I have a question that I hope someone can help me out here. After reading this post and looking at the link with the daily routine, I can’t seem to find the workout routine that was used throughout the week. All it says for excercise is “As per Martin”. What excercises were used during this week?

  3. Hello. I have a couple of questions too:

    1) How do U train during weight cuttiing? Is it two times a day? Are those training based on boxing, grappling, or just sweating to get your water out?

    2) What is the period that U reccomend for recovery after this program? Untill U try to do this again?

  4. As far as high school wrestlers go, the rules are changing. In Wisconsin, the WIAA has made a new rule. You have a base line weigh in at the beginning of the season and you have 5 or 6 pounds you can lose in a week. This will be your weight class for the season. Now it doesn’t matter who is putting the pressure on the wrestler-the coach, dad or maybe the wrestler he myself to lose a bunch of weight. There are simply no options!! This is good news who wrestle for stupid coaches who think, “wrestling is life” and that a kid should have to give up his body for the sake of the team. I hope more states do this so the focus can be on actual wrestling instead of trying to gain a competitive advantage through weight manipulation. I hope they do it in the UFC as well. Let’s see who the toughest fighter really is!!!

  5. Hi I just finished reading the article and I loved it. do you think it would be safe for a younger athlete to try this? I’ve always heard about it and wanted to try it but I was never to sure.

  6. Would this work on woman too? I know its not healthy but I have a wedding to attend to in 9 days and my dress is to small by two sizes. I don’t have time to get it fixed. But anyway would this work for a woman??

  7. hello ,ive been trying to loose weight this seems great i just had a question if i do this can i go to the gym as well because i go to the gym? also if i keep doing this past the 5 days will i loose more weight , or to jeep the weight off. any tips??

  8. Wow this post is awesome! Thank you for taking the time for this with all the pics. I’ve tried this and failed before because I didn’t know how to do it. 🙂 Thank you

  9. I’m not a pro sport anything. In fact I’m a young women who just wants to loose that 20 pounds. So my question is…If I follow this lay out- no cheats or harmful things added…do you think this could work. I am at 140 and want to be 120/125.

    And if I do pull it off (the safe way. Following all rules) will I gain it all back? I don’t want to so how would I keep it off.. Other than doing the normal exercise and eat healthy. Feed back will be greatly appreciated!

  10. I know I am fat even though people tell me I am not so I am going to try this I will limit myself and do it for the better of my mind and my body

  11. Does this only work in losing weight in muscle or can it be applied to losing weight in fat as well? I understand it wouldnt keep the weight off if it did work for fat as well.

  12. I remember doing a similer diet when i was fifteen i had to be 62 kilos for a boxing match and my brother put me on this diet all the week still training , running etc , no energy , tired , grumpy on the monday i was 66 kilos got on the scales on the saturday i was 61 boxed that night and smashed the lad! Was turture though!

  13. Just wondering the exercises you were doing the five days leading up to the weigh ins. Im going to do the diet plan with a 3.5 mile run and 120 minutes of wrestling practice each day. I only have 12 pounds to cut and on Thursday and Friday im going to do the hots baths and the 3.5 mile runs with a sweat suit. Do you think that will be enough to make weight Saturday then?

  14. I compete in Judo but we have to weigh in appx 2-5hrs on the day that we fight. Can this be done with a smaller amount of weight? What would be the most you could gain back in say 3hrs?

  15. How would this work for a woman??? I’m not a fighter obviously but I’ve had two sets of twins and it’s been hell trying to get my weight down. I exercise. I eat plenty of veggies. I haven’t eaten anything fried since I gave birth October 2013, to my last set of twins what am I doing wrong???.

  16. About six years ago I landed in a wheelchair due to CRPS/RSDS (a nerve based disorder) and cannot have contact with the soles of my feet without EXCRUCIATING pain… My weight was okay for awhile but, the longer I’m without access to decent cardio, the more my weight fluctuates.

    I’m looking to find a way to lose weight… quickly… and without gimmick…

    Thus far I’m having no luck really.

    I was always thin and taught prior to the chair, but I am in DESPERATE NEED of returning to that… stasis… and all that I’ve tried is merely a “bandaid” of sorts…

    When I spent 8 hrs a day/5-6 days a week at the gym, I was able to stay in shape but, now that I’ve returned to my collegiate academic pursuits I’m unable to dedicate that much time to my fitness.

    Any suggestions???

    I’ve looked into this pretty extensively and it appears that little can be done if I’m unable to run, jump, etc. Or within consistent access to gym equipment.

    Any help would be GREAT.

    Thanx Guys,

    NiQue

  17. It’s crazy how much weight you can lose just de-hydrating. Someone once told me the body exists of 70% water, you wouldn’t know by the looks of it! Very interesting article.

  18. How would you go about not gaining all the weight back at once? I’m looking into this as kickstart to weight loss. Would you recommend that, or no? I’d like to get the weight off and work to keep it off.

    1. I would not do this to kickstart a weight loss campaign. You will not be able to work out safely while severely dehydrated. The minute you drink water the weight would go back on. Losing fat for the long-term is not accomplished by temporarily losing water. Focus on sustaining a reduced caloric intake and exercise for long-term results.

  19. Hey I actually have a fight coming up n 5 days I need to drop 15 pounds (163-150) would this put me under I’m 5″ 9 1/2 nd at 158-163 fluctuating would this be good idea for me my manager jst got me this fight so its short notice

  20. Very interesting article. Been really intrestedin mixed martial arts recently and want to start training soon. I almost changed my mind when i heard about the agony cutting weight is. this article made it look so much better.

  21. Can you do this just to lose weight. I need to lose weight fast before a trip. If I do this and after day five monitor my food and excessive will the weight stay off?

    1. Absolutely not. The minute you drink any water the weight will come back on. This is only meant as a temporary loss to meet weigh in requirements. Sustaining dehydration for any length of time is dangerous. If you lost 20lbs of water weight and did not put it back on, you would be looking at damage to organs. This is not a long-term solution, merely a way to make a weigh in and return to previous weight.

  22. I am dropping weight for a weight loss competition. I’m down about 40lbs in 5 weeks. I would love to drop about 20lbs in a few days (or less) before weigh in. I used to be a wrestler and did stupid stuff back then, however now I am older and would like to be safer (relatively). I recently read the other blog post on this website about dropping 30lbs in 24 hours ( http://fourhourworkweek.com/2008/01/18/how-to-cut-weight/ ). Was wondering which method works best for my case, keep in mind I don’t have to be in fighting shape at anytime, just achieve weight loss. I realize these methods are similar, but one is more prolonged while the other is much shorter. If I can do the shorter method, I can work out hard in the beginning of the week to hopefully drop about another 5lbs of fat. Side note, I have a PA friend who will monitor blood sugar, HR, blood pressure, and visibly observable attributes for medical safety.

    Thanks for your input.

  23. Thanks for the detailed info. I have tried different ways before and now will try this one starting tomorrow. Will start around 184. I wanted to know a few more details. What kind of workouts or how many times a day did you do during this 5 days and for how long? What kind of fat did you eat..avocados etc? how many times did you do the sauna throughout?

    Thanks

    Curt

  24. Hi,

    Awesome article, thanks.

    Are there any modifications that could be made for a weight cut where the weight in is same day (amateur) with an obvious reduction in the target weight loss (7-10lbs).

    Thanks Kyle

  25. I don’t see any info about the caloric intake/fasting outlined here, just water. I would imagine you can’t crush calories into your body during this time both because of sodium, calorie and water contained in the food. Is there any reference so we can see what the diet portion looked like during this time?

  26. Yes I’m in the process of trying to make weight for the Air Force and I’m trying your technique. In the process of the first two/three days of the “fasting” is working out necessary and/or should be done during those days to speed up the weight loss process because I need to drop 30 pounds for the weigh in and then can regain after. A LOT of muscle loss required. Would love to hear something ASAP, I continued doing the basics of sit ups and push ups and don’t know if I should push that much harder with advanced techniques. Thank you. Ashton Coffie.

  27. Would it be possible to do something similar to this to lose weight fast but not quite like this ? Let’s say 10 days instead of the 5 and Im not looking to put it all back in 24 hours. I can’t do the sauna stuff either.

  28. I am an MMA fighter. I am dropping from heavyweight to light heavyweight. (Debut to second fight.) This article has motivated me in knowing its possible to drop all the weight I need to. (25 lbs) So thanks for posting this!

  29. If you were doing this for a quick weight loss, do you gain it all back even if you are not trying to gain. Or do you just gain some of it back>

  30. I’m a woman and weigh 155.. and I’m 5’6″. I want to lose about 20 to 25 lbs … I don’t have sauna… I can used hot bath 5 days with 10 mins. 3 meal a day protein and veg only. No salt sugar…. for 5 days like 2 gallon of water 1st day.. 2nd and 3rd day drink 1 gallon of water …4 th day drink .5 gallon of water last 5th day .25 gallon of water. .. will work for me… I can do it… do I need to run or go gym?

  31. I am 53 in height and I will two hundred and twenty-five pounds I have to lose someone seriously is affecting my health and after reviewing your post I am going to commit myself to do 20 to 30 pound weight loss in the next 5 days and continue going to LA Fitness for the tone I want to thank you very much for your helpful information and insight I have one more question then that would be do you think I would be able to continue from.. After dropping 20 to 30 pounds in 5 days keeping it off and continue to stay healthy and continue to drop more because my goal is from 225 drop down to 130 pounds yeah so thank you

  32. This was really awesome to read i wonder if people actually use this method just to loose weight. if so is that even possible? If you lost all that weight and needed to re-hydrate without trying to re-gain weight is it possible to keep it off?

    1. imo, it depends on your body, the first time i did it, it took me about two weeks to gain it back and that was little to no working out

    1. Josh, I’m doing this for my MEPS weigh-in to get back into the National Guard – fortunately my goal for this is only around 10 pounds to be well within the margin without having to do the tape test.

  33. Very cool article. I know that the article is a couple of years old, but it has come in handy for me recently.

    I’m currently in the middle of doing this weight cutting proces for a weigh-in this coming Friday for MEPS to get back into the Army National Guard. (Age 44, after nearly a 10 year hiatus!) At 72 inches in height, I’m allotted 203 pounds, but the MEPS scale weighs about 4-5 pounds heavier than my home scale. I’ve passed the physical that I took a few weeks ago, but I need to do a final height/weight check. The last time I weighed, I was 204, which meant I had to take the tape test to determine body fat percentage. I passed it, but I’d rather not have to tape, hence the reason I’m cutting weight for the weigh-in. I’m not going to go to the exreme of doing the last day of this process though. I started on Monday at 205/206, I weighed 202 yesterday, and hit the scale at 199 this morning, which is my last day drinking a full gallon of water, so I still feel pretty good. Tomorrow I’ll cut back to a half gallon, and I should be well within the margin of error when I weigh in on Friday morning without having to get too dehydrated, and I may not even take any hot baths unless I feel like I need to lose a bit extra. In my case this method works perfectly and safely because I don’t need to lose more than about 10 pounds to be within the margin of error for the scales I’m using.

    In any case, nice article, and thanks!

    1. I think it’s mentioned in the article – there is no workout, only water consumption, water depletion, sauna and hot baths. If you work out your muscle tissue holds on to water, and you don’t want that.

  34. I just started your 5-day rapid weight loss regimen and wanted to know how much you work out during the 5 days. I work out regularly but am not training for any event. Eating 3 full meals a day, even with all protein, seems like a lot of calories.

    Thank you, Eric.

  35. I have a question, when u say no salt, do you refer to eat protein that contains no salt or you mean no additional salt to the proteins.

  36. Weigh ins for powerlifting are the night before, if I do this and after weigh in drink water and eat like an entire pizza, will I have my strength back enough to keep my strength for the powerlifting meet the next day?

  37. its probably a dumb question but is it possible to lose the weight and keep it off or foes that lift the health risks even high?

  38. Hello! Very interesting article.

    Next saturday im gonna Fight in England ( im from Germany) and so my flight goes on friday Morning. This morning I was 58,3 kg and I Need do be 52 – 52,5 at weigh in on Friday around 4 p.m. So can I use this plan too ? Im also gonna do Sports but i dont know why allthough i went running yesterday, then swum an hour and then had One hour of kickboxing workout and I just ate about 200 kalories I just lost 0.4kg. This is so disappointing and I dont know what to do.

  39. Hi Tim, thanks for the article. I was wondering exactly what foods should be eaten during this. It says high protein and fat with little carbs and no salt. However, I am struggling to find foods that are high protein and fat but no sodium. Everything tasty has sodium so I’d like to hear how you were eating during this dramatic cut.

    1. I don’t know what he ate, but I ate things like skinless chicken breasts and eggs cooked in olive oil with garlic, onions, zucchini, and pepper for flavor – no salt. The veggies have carbs, but low amounts. I only did 4 days of the 5 day plan, but I still lost 12-13 lbs, which is what I needed to lose and got me where I needed to go – to weigh in for a final check at MEPS so that I didn’t have to take the tape test.

    1. Sheena, if you read the article, he specifically says that you aren’t supposed to work out during the 5 day weight cutting. The reason is that for MMA fighters – the guys who this is designed for – they work out so hard, that those days are necessary for recovery so they can be at their strongest for the upcoming bout, but also because of the fact that when you work out, your muscles hold on glycogen (I think, it’s been a while since I read the article and haven’t reread it) which in turn causes them to hold on to water, which is counter-productive to the end goal of weight loss through hydration manipulation.

  40. I wish this had worked. I was in a weight loss competition at work and going into the final week, I was in second place by a small margin. The contest was based on percentage of weight lost, but I calculated I needed to loss 16 lbs to win. I followed the plan verbatim, even cutting my carb intake to 20 grams or less. After 5 days, and on the final weigh in, I lost a total of 9 lbs, not the 20 to 30 this article claims.

    1. Jeff, I think it depends on what your hydration levels are like going into it. You may not have had that much water weight that could be lost. When I did this a few weeks back, I only did 4 of the 5 day plan, I didn’t sit in a sauna, and I only took one hot bath, and only did a single 10 minute soak. I lost about 12-13 lbs and didn’t get in to day 5. I’m also not working out hard daily like some of these guys are. I think that if I had pushed through to day 5, I might have gotten to the 18-20 lb mark, but not much more. For me it did exactly what I’d intended, and I didn’t put myself at risk by going too far with it.

  41. These are absolutely the best workouts to loose quick weight, i would like to ask you what are your thoughts about using fat burner’s ? do you think one can loose weight only by doing exercise and following the above diet regime.

  42. Hello! Would you happen to have any advice for a former college basketball player? I’m training to get back into the game and want to know how this could help with my training.

    Thanks! Article was very informative.

  43. Hi I’m a female and want to know if this would be a safe way to lose that extra weight to weigh in for a contest. We’re doing a biggest loser contest at work. Is this safe for females and do i have to gain the weight back?

  44. Hi. Im 17 and Im looking to immedietly drop 12-14 pounds using this method but, I don’t want to gain all my weight back. Can I use this method but not gain it back?

  45. Hey

    Great article very informative. I’m actually competing in a world-class event in Vegas in less than three weeks and I’m going to use this to cut the last 10 to 15 pounds. But I would love to know exactly what food you ate throughout the process?

    Is it possible you kept a diary of exactly everything you eat? instead of just breaking it down into grams of protein and carbs!

    Just an actual daily food log that you kept?

    Would love to know if that’s at all possible and or available?

    Thanks Steve.

  46. Umm so, I work out at the gym and I really need to lose 20 pounds fast! Would you recommend this for me? (Keep in mind, I’m 13) if so, can I lose the weight and not gain it back?

    1. Read the article – he specifically says to not work out because working out causes the muscles to retain fluid.

    1. My advice – run, lift weights, (don’t skip leg day!) and eat a clean diet – chicken breasts, brown rice, vegetables, cook with olive oil, and keep your total caloric intake under 2200 calories a day. The reason to not skip legs is because they are the largest muscles in the body, and therefore burn more calories than anything else during recovery while you sleep.

      Also remember, there’s a tape test to measure BMI if you wind up being slightly over weight, so if you are close, you’ll probably pass the tape test.

      I used the method talked about in the article when I rejoined the Army National Guard after a 10 year hiatus at the age of 44. I’m 6’0″ so I needed to be under 203, and I started off at about 214. I came in at 202, and skipped the last day of the program.

  47. Would it be possible to do practice this method starting with 1 gallon instead?

    Starting with

    Day 1-1 gallon

    Day 2- .5

    Day 3- .5

    Day 4- .25

    Day 5- none until weigh in

    1. This wouldn’t be a good program for you – 5 minutes is not enough time to replenish before a fight, so you’d be pretty compromised physically. Your best bet would be to fight where you normally weigh.

    1. I’ve been amazed reading the new comments that pop up – questions that were either already answered in the article that they apparently didn’t fully read, or things that are easy to find in a Google search, or better yet, with a judicious dose of common sense.

      You asked the question about what foods to eat to limit yourself to 50 carbs. Isn’t it pretty obvious? Meat and veggies. Fruit isn’t good because fruits contain a lot of sugar, and sugar=carbs. Gotta be careful on the veggies too though because although veggies don’t contain a lot of carbs, they do still have them. When I did this, I’d mostly eat chicken breast and veggies sautéed in a dab of olive oil and seasoned with black pepper – NO SALT, period. Veggies I was eating were onions (for seasoning) mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini squash. But even those veggies contain carbs, so you have to be careful on the amounts you eat.

      On a side note, I Googled everything to check nutritional content, sugar/carbs content, calories, etc.

  48. Thank you, Tim, for some great info, though I won’t be applying it to myself anymore. 10 years before your time at PU, I put myself through a much less sophisticated version of this in preparation for my performance in Dillon Gym. Over a month’s time, I cut 43 pounds to compete, and win, in both the 148 and 160 pound weight classes. Post weigh in (1 day before the event), and through the actual competition (i.e., while actually on the bench) I was drinking straight honey out of the squeeze-bottle bear’s head! I was at least 170 pounds on the day of competition and my name is still on the Dillion Gym wall as the record holder, for both weight classes.

  49. Can this diet be safe to use if you are not a MMA fighter or wrestler and just wanna use the diet to lose weight faster?

  50. Hi

    Please want to ask if can we eat vegetable and coffe with milk and what you mean with protein vegetables ,and can we use all kind of oil to cook food

    Thanks

  51. I’d like to have some things clarified. Currently I’m at 252 lbs (mostly fat), but I’ve been hitting the gym 3-5 days a week recently and I’m mostly successful in eating less than 50g of carbs each day. Would this strategy work for someone like me looking to shed the fat off of my stomach? I’m wondering if I should continue to work out while on this new plan or if it’s meant to be done without physical activity. Also, I’ve been taking a preworkout before the gym and a protein shake when I get home. Can I continue to do this while trying out this diet. Also, can I still lose weight without the sauna/hot bath? And can I do this process for a few weeks and lose as much as I am trying to, or does it not work like that?

  52. I have a question:

    If you accidentally eat a small portion of something that should be avoided while cutting (ex. Starches) how dramatically would it effect the end results of your weight loss?

  53. What if your a female on her early 40’s, 5ft at 185lbs and want to lose weight the way described. 20+ lbs weight loss in 5 days. What kind of exercises can I do in order of reaching that goal.

  54. Is it unhealthy if I use this cutting weight method but then don’t use the method to gain the weight back? I’m a female that weighs 130 pounds and I’m 5’7 and I want to get down to about 110 or 100 pounds.

  55. Can you help me please I’m pro mma fighter I fight at 125 and the fight is Friday im at 140 my coach who helps me cut is gone what do I do first

  56. Okay, I’ll be critical:

    I tried the lose 20 pounds in five days thingy to the letter and didn’t lose but three pounds in five days. It’s a joke, and you need to take it down, because it doesn’t work, and it misleads the public.

    1. Jack, it’s possible that you didn’t do something right – maybe you ate too much salt, or had too many carbs, or decided to work out during the process, but I only did 4 of 5 days of this plan and I cut nearly 15 pounds – it can and does work, and especially if you have the water weight to lose.

  57. People often forget what mostly matters when it comes to losing weight.

    Losing weight its all in the mindset. Im pretty sure about that. No matter how hard it is for you to stop eating what you like , and how hard it is for you to exercise . If your mindset is to loose weight , You will lose weight .

  58. For sure, being dehydrated makes even Thor weaker…

    Great post on cutting weight, by the way…

    The very best thing that you can do for yourself is to make small changes to help you cut weight.

    This entails finding good modifications to your eating to help make it more healthy or exercises which you could include in your everyday living to help make them habit forming. It might end up being best if you pick one new change just before moving onto the next. Learn even more tips at BestFruitsForWeightLoss- d 0 T–info today… This is actually the healthy and balanced alternative in comparison with various other kinds of dieting tips that you might have previously heard about.

  59. I’m a highschool hockey player who needs to make weight quickly due to a team dropping out,if I have my doctor monitor me will this be ok

  60. Hello

    I am a 30 year old female wanted to do a 5 day water fast , would following this much intake of water for 5 days as you described help me to lose 20 pounds in 5 days or does this technique only works with high fat and protein diet?

  61. I know meats like beef tenderloin and chicken breast have sodium in them, is it ok to eat these as long as I don’t ad salt when I grill them? Is garlic, black pepper and olive oil ok?

  62. So I am actually fighting in less than a week, I will be fighting at 155 and I am at 167 right now!!! I will fight July 3rd and I am not really nervouse about cutting weight, but I have not had enough water throughout my diet, and I’m a little nervouse to try this for the first time due to the fact that my fight is super main stream!!! AXS TV I have cut all Sodium out of my diet, I have been eating about 3 8 oz baked chicken breasts a day with a cup of broccoli, or spinach!!!! Do you think I can still make this cut pretty easy only being 10lbs over 7 days prior to weigh ins?

  63. You may ask, “Can l lose weight while pregnant?” The answer is no because during pregnancy your baby needs all the nutrients he can get in order to gain weight and remain healthy. However, your article is helpful. Thanks