Weight cutting

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Weight cutting is the practice of fast weight loss prior to a sporting competition. It most frequently happens in order to qualify for a lower weight class (usually in combat sports or rowing, where weight is a significant advantage) or in sports where it is advantageous to weigh as little as possible (most notably equestrian sports). There are two types of weight cutting: one method is to lose weight in the form of fat and muscle in the weeks prior to an event; the other is to lose weight in the form of water in the final days before competition. Common methods to cut weight include restricting food intake, water-loading, and perspiration through exercise, wearing a sweatsuit, and/or sitting in a sauna.[1]

Nutritional experts rarely give advice on how to cut weight safely or effectively, and recommend against cutting weight.[2] However, many athletes choose to do it because they wish to gain an advantage in their sport.


In addition to improving performance through healthy eating, some athletes will seek to lose weight through dieting and aerobic exercise. By losing fat they hope to achieve a higher "strength-to-mass ratio" or "lean weight." This means more muscle and less fat, and should theoretically give them an advantage against other athletes of the same weight.

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  1. ^ Park, Sungjun; Alencar, Michelle; Sassone, John; Madrigal, Leilani; Ede, Alison (2019). "Self-reported methods of weight cutting in professional mixed-martial artists: How much are they losing and who is advising them?". Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 16 (1): 52. doi:10.1186/s12970-019-0320-9. PMC 6849211. PMID 31718652.
  2. ^ Sundgot-Borgen, Jorunn; Meyer, Nanna L.; Lohman, Timothy G.; Ackland, Timothy R.; Maughan, Ronald J.; Stewart, Arthur D.; Müller, Wolfram (2013-11-01). "How to minimise the health risks to athletes who compete in weight-sensitive sports review and position statement on behalf of the Ad Hoc Research Working Group on Body Composition, Health and Performance, under the auspices of the IOC Medical Commission". British Journal of Sports Medicine. 47 (16): 1012–1022. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092966. ISSN 0306-3674. PMID 24115480.