Victor Bachmann

May 10, 2010

Making Weight

Filed under: Fights,Training — The Professor @ 2:00 pm
Moments after making weight. In 6 hours, I will have put on 15lbs.

Moments after making weight. In 6 hours, I will have put on 15lbs.

Three days before I fight Jordan Mein in the first round of
Let’s Get It On’s
welterweight tournament. The only thing I can think of is nachos and that chocolate cake my wife got me for National High Five Day. I have to make weight in two days. I fight in a weight class that maxes out at 170lbs, and usually weigh between 185 and 195lbs.

For professional MMA bouts, weigh ins are conducted the day before the event. Most fighters will spend the hours leading up to the weigh ins sweating out pounds of water to reach their weight class. The moment they step off the scale they start rehydrating and carb loading as much as they can before they have to fight the next day.

I have been cutting weight for competition for the past 8 years, since my first year wrestling. My first few tournaments I competed at the weight that sat at, 82kg. Sometimes I was bumped to the next weight class, 90kg. I would always end up the smallest competitor in my weight class, and couldn’t compete with the size and strength of my weight cutting opponents.

Going down to 76kg (167lbs) was an easy decision, if I wanted to be competitive. I would lose 5-8lbs during hard practices and didn’t seem to effect my performance the next practice. There was usually a 2kg weight allowance, and would only have to make 76kg once or twice a year. I would be much bigger and stronger than the other wrestlers in that weight class.

Cutting weight isn’t fun or easy. A fighter will do anything to get weight off, I’ve seen people shave their heads to lose a fraction of a pound (it doesn’t work, hair doesn’t weigh enough to register on a scale). The hardest part is sweating the weight off. Fighters break down and cry regularly when in the middle of a weight cut.

Some fighters prefer to sit in a sauna until they get on weight. I put on a plastic suit and sweaters and ride a stationary bike. I like to make it easy, so when I’m sweating to make weight I only have to lose 5-7lbs. I do most of the weight loss the days leading up to weigh ins. Others do all their cutting the day of weigh ins. I’ve know people lose 25lbs or more in a few short hours. I have also seen that back fire too many times, affecting fighters performance during their fight the next day or, worse, ending up in the hospital with their kidneys shutting down.

Healthy eating has made making weight infinitely easier. Nutrition is both more simple and complicated than most people think. During my wrestling years, most of the advice came from teammates. Their ideas were either passed down from other athletes or had just come up with on their own. The goal was always to keep the weight down.

Some teammates struggled harder than others at making weight. The ones that struggled tended to be straight out of high school and learning to live on their own. Their day to day diet consisted of the Lister Hall cafeteria, mac and cheese, and MacDonalds. When it came time to make weight, their diets would change to a daily bowl of oatmeal.

I made sure that I was eating the best I knew how. I did some research on proper eating. Most of the information I found was either from the Canada food guide or weight watchers. The closest thing I saw to eating as an athlete were geared towards body builders. I followed the best advice I found and I never ballooned up during the off season or struggled to make weight.

When I was living in Toronto, I had a chance to meet with nutritionist Kyle Byron. The first thing he told me was I wasn’t eating enough. Then we went over what I should be eating, when, and why. Most of the nutritional plan was simple enough. A balanced meal of protein, carbs, and veggies every few hours. The biggest surprise was eating for training sessions and performance.

Nachos! My favourite post fight meal.

Nachos! My favourite post fight meal.

Eating to lose or maintain weight is pretty easy. Timing meals to make sure you have enough energy to push through a tough training session and not feel sick can be challenging. A two hour training sessions takes a lot of energy and your muscles can only hold so much. Being able to put some energy into your body gives you a big advantage and you can maintain intensity for longer.

I don’t always eat according to plan. After I fought Jordan Mein, I skipped the official after party and ate a full plate of nachos from Original Joe’s and then went home and ate that entire chocolate cake. I usually take the week after my fight and eat nothing but garbage. After that, I go back to regular, planned, healthy eating. It means I don’t have to starve myself when I’m training my hardest and I don’t have to feel guilty when go out to dinner.

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