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The fighting spirit is all about ‘go hard or go home,’ i.e., either win the game or lose your chance. However, there comes a time in a fighter’s life when losing is a ‘win-win’ situation for them. That time is when they are going through a weigh-in and have to ‘lose weight.’
As the weigh-in is near, the fighters have to work hard to lose weight and maintain their weight before the fight. During their stay in camps, the fighters have to train hard and focus on reducing their water weight. This goes on till they don’t finally reach the weigh-in date.
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Even women experience a tough time as they have high estrogen levels that makes pulling out water from their bodies more difficult than men. However, Ronda Rousey- UFC women’s champion, didn’t quit and lost 17 pounds in just one day. She has suffered from eating disorders from an early age, but she’s positive about losing weight.
For ordinary people, a weight-loss journey leads to a healthy transformation as it takes weeks and months for them to lose weight. But for fighters, they have to experience a drastic weight-cut that can leave them into a dehydrated state after a fight.
Some fighters suffer from vision problems and brain or kidney issues for a long time. George comments further that these weight-cutting procedures are primitive and not needed. They can do more harm than good.
So, what are some of the ways for fighters to lose weight aggressively before weigh-ins? Let’s see,
Reducing Water Consumption
Let’s say the weigh-in is after five days. The fighters have to start with consuming 2 gallons of water, and then it eventually decreases to 0.25 gallons to having no water till the weigh-in ends in the evening. This technique controls down sodium and secretes potassium resulting in more fluid excretion and less in-take that allow fighters to lose weight rapidly.
Avoiding Fats and Proteins
The fighters avoid consuming fats and proteins. Since they have to eat something, they take high-protein foods such as meat or eggs. Most fighters survive on green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, etc.
Refraining from Taking Sugar, Salt, And Fruits
Dropping water and salt weight and flushing them out of their body helps a fighter lose weight quickly. While avoiding carbs is not even a choice for the fighters as it’s a big NO, especially during their weigh-ins.
Taking the Sauna
The last few pounds need quick shedding. The fighters’ last resort is to sit in the sauna and flush out the remainder from their bodies. Spending more time in sauna helps with sweating. When you sweat, you lose weight. And, when you spend two to three hours in a sauna, you can lose as much as 2 to 3 kgs of weight.
Diuresis is a process that reduces water and sodium from the body in the form of urine. The fighters eat natural diuretics such as dandelion or parsley to force out all the sodium from their kidneys into the urine.
Diuretics are often banned by UFC during matches. However, they can be taken before starting the preparation. That is, at least a week before the actual match. By eating diuretics, MMA fighters can lose weight a lot faster. Natural diuretics are not banned by UFC or any other sports.
MMA Fighter in a weight losing cooler. Source: Twitter
Taking Hot Baths
Whether it’s the summer season or the fight season, fighters like to sweat. Taking a hot bath exposes them to 100% heat and humidity that enables them to lose weight rapidly. Although hot baths rarely reduce more weight of the fighters. So, they focus on their meals instead.
Source: Essentially Sports
Preparing Diet Meals
The diet meals and plans are not that simple. Every fighter has his or her own diet plan according to their weight and height. However, the diet plans follow strictly no carbs policy. UFC fighters have a strict diet provided by their nutritionists that they have to follow to stay in shape and lose weight without losing energy.
These ways aren’t as simple as they seem, and some fighters even have to take weight classes. Considering the fighters have five-days to lose weight before the weigh-in takes place or even much worse- fewer days, taking these quick weight-cut techniques can still cause more harm to their body once the fight is over.