This will never be me in the absolute division (or anywhere else.)
But still, I manage to stress over my weight more than I should. Making weight for a tournament is a different thing for women than it is for men, I believe. It seems to me that men are usually fine with whatever they weigh ordinarily.. but logically want to be in a lower weight class at a tournament for strategic purposes. Women, on the other hand, are pretty much always conscious of their "walking around" weight and pretty much always wish it were less. Add to that the spectacle of a public weigh-in (and not even the Gina-towel-accidentally-dropping type) and the labels these tournament people attach to our weight classes... it gets ugly.
I mean, seriously, NAGA, wtf? how can you divide women into "light weight" (134.9 and under) and "heavy weight" (over 135)..
And women still want to be in the lightest weight class they can, for the same strategic reasons.
Plus, it's harder for us to drop weight, thanks to the hormones swirling around in our bodies that think we best be prepared to bear fruit at all times, despite images in the media that tell us we should always look like this:
So... keeping in mind this is NOT medical advice, I'll tell you what I do when I want to lose weight for a tournament. And I'll say up front, I know what I do is contrary to the advice of most nutritionists, sports med people, doctors, blah blah blah. It's just what works for me so nyah. I'd love to hear what YOU do to make weight, if you care to comment...
My problem is that usually after a tournament I get a little loosey-goosey with the diet, treating myself to pizza, tacos, Belgian waffles, and other yummies. Thus, I gain back what I lost. When I'm not "between tournaments" my weight settles at a happy, healthy place, so I know my usual amount of eating, exercising, and sleeping is good for me. Tested with a bod pod at my gym, I'm 21% body fat, which is the bottom of the range of "healthily slim" and just above the start of "elite athlete" (which makes me LAUGH) according to the World Health Organization and National Institute of Health recommendations. So please don't think I'm anorexic or whatever.
It's a simple, three step process. I start about 4 weeks out from a tournament.
1. I work out at least 3 hours a day, 7 days a week. On weekends, this consists of jits class-- maybe a 20-30 min warmup of conditioning, cardio, pliometrics, stretching, bodyweight strength exercises, etc. Then an hour or so of drilling technique, which is maybe 1/3 sitting and listening. Then an hour or so of open mat. On weekdays, I'll do a two hour jits class in the morning, at least twice a week, sometimes if I'm lucky 5 days a week. Lunch is an hour of crossfit-like class at the gym, and sometimes an hour of open mat afterwards. At least 3 nights a week I do a 3 hour jits class as well. This is actually my normal workout schedule, whether cutting weight or not. If I am really stressing about losing weight, I will add a night class on Monday, or cardio (LSD) workouts on the weekends.
I will say, jits motivates me to exercise. I want strength and endurance! (Arms like these would be great too.)
2. I get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a night. This makes all the difference in the world, in terms of fast weight loss AND not physically breaking down. Better if I can get 8.5. When I can, I add 15-20 min in the sauna at my gym, maybe 1-2 times a week. I count this as rest, as it certainly helps with any tweaked muscles. I do NOT cut weight in the sauna, though I know others do with great success. I have tried it on the day of weighins, for example NAGA tournaments where you weigh in the day before, and it doesn't cut a lot of weight for me. Couple of ounces at best. I'm just not hard core enough to dehydrate that much.
3. I seriously restrict what I eat. If I am really panicky about making weight, I'll eat 700 calories a day; if I'm just shooting for losing 3-4 lbs/week, I'll ease up to 900-1000 a day. Usually for me this works out to eating 100-200 calories throughout the day in the form of healthy, very low calorie snacks (carrots, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, lemonade with splenda, rarely some low fat light yogurt). I'm just not hungry before and after class. At night after my last class, I'll eat the rest of my calories for dinner, ideally a huge spinach/kale salad with lots of fresh vegetables chopped up, some protein, and a little bit of whole grain carbs. If I'm being bad, I will keep the same calorie count but adjust for indulgence with a cookie or two, or pasta, or whatever my husband is eating for dinner.
My resting metabolic rate is 1300 calories a day, meaning if I sat at my desk and did no exercise, that's what I burn just existing. A pound of fat is 3500 calories. To lose a pound, you have to burn more or eat less; Newton's Law of Thermodynamics means it's simple math. My body can't always do math-- sometimes I am CERTAIN I ate way more than I exercised and still I drop weight; sometimes I am positive that I only ate 700 calories, yet I gain weight. This is why I think being female makes cutting weight different than it is for a guy. I retain water unpredictably, and my hormonal cycle throws a wrench in the mix too.
But, it works for me. I weigh myself on two digital scales, one at home and one at the academy. At home, I'm naked, at the academy I'm usually in a normal (non-competition weight) gi. I write down my weight twice a day like clockwork. It gets a little anal retentive, I know, but it's that or show up for a tournament and be over weight. At NAGA it's just embarassing, to be this short and have someone say I'm a heavyweight and make me fight the bigger ladies. But at IBJJF tournaments, it means I wasted plane fare etc. and can't get bumped to a higher class. Lame.
I will say that the whole body fat analysis thing made a world of difference. After doing jiu jitsu for 18 months, it seemed like I could never get back down to my prior, happy, skinny weight of low 120s. But the analysis showed that, to keep the same amount of muscle mass and still weigh that little, I'd be in the 10% body fat range (which is ridiculous, for me, and would kiss hopes of fertility good bye.) When I weigh about 132, I am about 18% body fat, which is well into elite athlete, and still at least 7 pounds too much for the pena/feather weight division. Oh hell, I don't care. I'm short for my weight :)