You’re new to BJJ tournaments and are starting to become aware of the fact that many fighters are shedding pounds in an effort to be bigger and stronger in their respective weight class. This is fairly common in combat sports and you may be wondering if it’s something you should experiment with to gain a performance edge. Before you plunge right into caloric restriction and dehydration let me caution you as to some of the variances that exist in weigh ins.
Not all weigh ins are created equal. There are instances where a fighter will weigh in the day before or minutes before a match. While losing 20 lbs for a “day-before” weigh in is totally normal and plausible in BJJ or combat sports, if your match is minutes after, this will be met with near certain failure. In time you must learn to understand the strategies of world class BJJ, wrestling, boxing, fighters who cut and understand how their time frame will match yours.
Jiu Jitsu has some implicit differences from other combat sports. A major one being that there is no requirement to stay standing as in other sports like judo and wrestling. This gives the athlete less opportunity to take advantage of the size difference. Meaning if you being bigger and stronger than your competition costs you speed, endurance and overall feeling healthy this may not be a worthwhile exchange.
I have been on both ends of the spectrum in terms of a successful weight cut. An example being a 10 lb cut the day of where I fought hours after my weigh in and 10 lb cut the week of which turned into an absolute disaster. In the latter, my weigh in was minutes before my match. In my experience, with IBJJF format I do not recommend cutting weight in the form of dehydration, particularly if you have a deep bracket containing 3-6 6-10 minute matches. For those interested in the strategies involved this has been one of my go to resources and strategies where I have not only felt the best but performed the best, no matter if I was spitting in a cup to rid myself of extra fluid, just hours before the weigh in.
All in all, competition should bring out your best version and while it is reasonable to go to a lower class, understand the risks associated with it, not only the day of but the training camp leading up to your match. No one wants to receive an injury and improper weight cutting combined with the rigors of BJJ can result in exactly that. Come to understand your limitations and where exactly you are the healthiest and strongest because that is likely where you belong. In some cases it may lead to better preparation and planning on your part.