There are safe ways to cut weigh to make it into a particular weight class, and there are not-so-safe ways. Cutting water weight is a last resort and should only be used to shed the very last couple of pounds necessary to make the scale sway in your direction. This is a common practice in combat sports, where competitors often fight at weight much lower than what they normally walk around at. Water weight should only come off in the last 1-2 days before weigh-ins and it is important to stay hydrated up to that point. These are the most popular ways many MMA competitors shed those pounds.
1. Fluid Restriction
The most basic method of taking off the water weight is to restrict fluid intake. This should only begin no more than two days before weigh-ins. If the weight cut needs to be complete by Friday afternoon, that means restriction should start Wednesday with half the normal intake, followed by less on Thursday and little to none on Friday depending on how close the mark is.
This method should ideally be preceded by an over-hydration period of 2-3 days, where the athlete drinks 1-2 gallons of water daily depending on their size. This triggers the body to excrete more urine than normal, which is a response that can remain through the days of less fluid intake.
The most difficult part about fluid restriction is discipline. Thirst is inevitable as is dry mouth and typically back pain from distressed kidneys.
There are a number of ways to sweat out the excess water weight. This is a good option if time is short, because even lean athletes usually have a little water to sweat out.
Exercise: This is the simplest way because it does not require any particular equipment or setting. Jumping rope, running, shadowboxing or using cardio gym equipment are all good options. The concern is fatigue for the fight, so monitor closely.
Dry Sauna: This is also a fast way to get off the water if there is a sauna available. Many gyms have them in the locker room, but certainly not all. When fatigue sets in it may be a good idea to have someone assist in monitoring the athlete. It is also easier to stay in the sauna for longer periods with company. Some suggestions to speed up the process include doing crunches while in the sauna or removing the sweat frequently.
Topical Thermogenic Vasodilators: Topical grease such as Sweet Sweat will help stimulate sweat during workout or sauna time. It also helps to loosen muscles that are overworked.
3. Bowel Movement
Emptying the bowels the day of or before weigh-ins could shed an extra pound or two. Normally the 28 feet long digestive system consisting of the stomach and intestines can contain up to 5-7 pounds of material. Assuming food reduction has already taken place, it is unlikely that there would be quite that much material so close to the weigh-in day.
Cleaning out the bowels is a good option because it doesn’t require any extra effort. A gentle natural laxative is the best option. Laxative tea is a good option, but do not take anything powerful that could leave you running to the bathroom on the day of the fight.
Some fighter have been known to opt for a colon hydrotherapy or an enema. Hydrotherapy should be done early on in the food restriction process for optimal results. Neither are idea options, but they are available.
It is important to be careful when considering using diuretics because they can do more harm than they are worth if abused. Use of diuretics should never be a first option as it can cause an electrolyte imbalance and affect performance. Caffeinated beverages serve as diuretics, but with already potentially low blood sugar from food reduction, this could cause major jitters. Grapefruit is said to be a natural diuretic and may also work well as part of a limited diet. Bodybuilders are known to use a lot of diuretics, and have also had fatalities because of this. Not all supplement diuretics are bad, just choose wisely if taking this route.
Just relax. Light a candle. Grab a book. Taking a hot bath with Epsom salt and/or rubbing alcohol will help to suck the water out of the skin and the Epsom salt may also relax muscles. This is a great option to use especially if fighting on the road, because most hotel rooms have a bathtub. A hot tub may also work for this, though the additives in the bath solution may make the water come off faster depending on the temperatures of the water.