One of the most controversial aspects of combat sports, whether it is Karte, BJJ or MMA, is weight cutting. In fact, this is one of the standing controversies in martial arts. Despite plenty of attempts lately for governing bodies to regulate weight cuts, they still remain pretty much at large. At a professional level, cutting weight might somehow make a little sense. However, trying to shed 10+ pounds for an IBJJF competition as a blue belt does not sound like the smartest decision. Believe me, I’ve done it. A BJJ Weight cuts are not easy to feature, and very often, it may turn out to be the hardest part of tournament preparation. That said if you happen to be a lady, and on those days of the month when you have to cut weight, you have an almost impossible mission to complete.
It has often been said that cutting weight for combat sports is a science. I couldn’t agree more. A BJJ weight cut can go wrong in so many ways it is difficult to imagine them all. When paired with the fact that you need to be training and/or traveling during the toughest days of a weight cut you can see why so many people miss weight. Now, if you add the issues of a menstrual cycle to the mix, you get an unbeatable combination. The first piece of advice is to try and avoid mixing weight cuts and periods. However, since this is not always possible, let’s look at some possible solutions.
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Cutting Weight For Competition: How And Why?
The basic idea behind cutting weight is to gain an advantage over your opponents. However, this does not work the way most people imagine it. Being half a pound heavier than an opponent won’t do much for you. Particularly if you’ve been cutting weight to get there. On the contrary, a BJJ weight cut might just leave you tired and gassed before you even compete. On the other hand, going to a weight class above might mean you have to face quite stronger and taller opponents. As you can see, cutting weight is all about balance.
With the ladies, unfortunately, there are not as many weight categories as there are with male grapplers. That means that presented with only a few choices, sometimes female grapplers have no other option but to cut weight. And sometimes, it may even be a significant amount. With a proper nutrition plan and a system in place, this shouldn’t be a problem for any healthy individual. However, there are a few more factors that the finer half of grappling ahs to consider when it comes to weight cuts.
Even the most perfectly executed BJ Jweight cut might end up a mess if your monthly period comes about. This brings us back to the most important aspect of weight cutting – planning. If you want a successful weight cut, you need to plan things out in advance. And yes, you need to go into detail. Moreover, do not just take other people’s programs and roll with them. Know what your body is like and make adjustments along the way to make sure you don’t mess it up. Otherwise, you’re only going to get an expensive tournament T-shirt in return and no chance to showcase your skills on the mats.
Weight Cutting During A Menstrual Cycle
The main trouble with trying to cut weight during a menstrual cycle has everything to do with hormones. The female body is designed to bear children, and it reminds ladies of that every month. Physiologically speaking, hormones in the female body circulate rhythmically not only on a daily but also on a monthly basis. These hormones, among other things, have a significant effect on fluid retention. This means that the common BJJ weight cut practices won’t yield results during this time.
Moreover, there’s the issue of fat reduction. Women that fall below a certain limit of fat percentage, might lose their menstrual cycle altogether. This is reversible, but not something worth an IBJJF medal. In a way, the body fights against a weight cut in order to ensure it is capable of preproduction. This is a purely physiological response and one you can predict, meaning you can factor it in your weight cut.
There are a couple of common issues associated with cutting weight during a menstrual cycle. One is cravings. During this time your hunger is a force to be reckoned with, and in particular, sugar cravings. Battling this during a time of low-carb dieting can be maddening. Moreover, there’s often significant bloating that occurs, frustrating your weight-cutting efforts.
Apart from a well-planned cutting protocol, you should employ several tips and tricks to deal with these minor issues. In essence, you need to understand that there’s no way to curb cravings without snacking However, you can make snacking part of the weight cut and not suffer negative consequences. Lockhart’s cinnamon in water trick is perfect to deal with sugar cravings in particular. Bloat control comes mainly in the form of hydration or better-said hyperhydration. Salt baths might help as well.
To be honest, I am all against weight cuts. However, in the cases that you feel you really need to cut weight at least do it in a healthy way. There’s no need to let your monthly menstrual cycle affect your BJJ weight cut. Simply plan for it and introduce the adjustments to your cutting schedule. Moreover, never cut weight unless your cut is designed by a nutritionist or medical professional. Finally, if you’re really having a hard time with hormones, think about switching your weight class while you still have time to register