Can I temporarily lose 5 lbs by Monday?
February 19, 2010 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Can I temporarily lose 5 lbs by Monday evening, when it is now Friday evening?

I'm interested in entering a strength competition that takes place on Monday evening.

There are only two weight classes for women: 130lbs and above; 129lbs and below. Right now I weigh 134, and I don't think I'd have much of a shot against a woman who was 6 feet tall and 200 lbs.

So- is it possible for me to drop 5 lbs by Monday? I don't care if it's water weight, and I don't care if I gain it back afterward. I am young and very healthy.

I also wonder, at these events, is it usual to be weighed both beforehand and afterward? If I went without eating or drinking that day until I was weighed in, and then ate or drank something during the event that put me over the weight limit, would I be disqualified?

If it matters, these are the events I'd need to compete in:

Event #1: I would have to lift three heavy stones from a lower platform, to a higher one, and then back to the lower one.

#2: I would have to flip a heavy object a certain number of times.

#3: I would have to deadlift a certain weight off the floor and hold it as long as I could.

#4: I would have to pull a certain weight across the floor with a rope.

All these events are timed.
posted by anonymousme to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think any method that allowed you to lose that weight so quickly would make you too weak/tired/dehydrated to perform well in the events.

Your best bet would be to forgo carbs and salt and to sweat like crazy over the weekend. So even if by doing so you lost the 5 pounds and got into the lightweight category, I don't see you then lifting stones and pulling carts successfully.
posted by thebazilist at 2:59 PM on February 19, 2010

Well, kind of. But no guarantees.

Most people's weight fluctuates by a couple of pounds over the course of a week, even sometimes over the course of a day, as you eat, drink, urinate, defecate, etc. So if you were heavy when you weighed yourself just now, going on a light fast and cutting back your water intake might just get you to 129 by Monday. But that isn't "real" weight loss, just lowering the amount of extra water and food you're carrying around.

Then again, if you already at the lower end of your weight spectrum right now, you're kinda out of luck.
posted by valkyryn at 3:05 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think it depends on (1) your height and (2) your eating habits. To lose water weight easily, you need to be carrying some extra around. I'm 5'9 and when I eat poorly I tend to go overboard on the salt and carbs, so I have "lost" 3 pounds in a weekend without trying, just by going from bloating-encouraging behavior back to my normal healthy routine. My 5'1 friend thinks this is some sort of miracle weight loss ability.

Most of the things I've heard "work" ("master cleanse") seem like they would drain your strength, which would hurt your larger goal.

It may be healthier to cut out carbs and drink a lot of water (not enough to get a water overdose though!).
posted by sallybrown at 3:08 PM on February 19, 2010

My father claims he's lost about five pounds doing the Master Cleanse, though he admits that he always gains the weight back immediately - which wouldn't be a problem in your case. That said, I can't imagine that it would be any better than a straight crash diet.
posted by modernserf at 3:08 PM on February 19, 2010

Cutting carbs completely will cause your body to deplete its glycogen stores very quickly, which carry with them a significant amount of water. Additionally, eating a high protein diet has a diuretic effect, which will further help you release water. Though, as far as I know, you want to actually drink more water than usual at first, only cutting water out in the morning before your weigh in. At that point, you're just gonna want to do everything you can to sweat and hope that you can hit your weight target.

But, you don't have to starve yourself completely, so you should still have most of your strength.

Any reduction of strength will almost certainly be minor compared to the impact of being in an entirely different weight class.

Of course. This is neither a healthy, nor a sustainable way to lose weight. (Not anti-low carb, but super high protein diets without adequate fat can lead to kidney failure.)
posted by paperzach at 3:10 PM on February 19, 2010

Wikipedia article on weight cutting. Read the section on dehydration. (I'm not your doctor and don't advocate anything for anybody ever.)
posted by Craig at 3:13 PM on February 19, 2010

If you have excess body fat on you, you could think of undergoing a liposuction. 2-4 kilos of fat can be removed in one session which can be performed under local anaesthesia. Of course there will be some bruising and swelling for the next couple of days.
posted by noirnoir at 3:23 PM on February 19, 2010

How much do you weigh? When I wrestled in HS our 189 could cut 10 lbs in 2 days. It's dangerous - do your own research. Running with trash bags on while sucking on sourheads is dangerous, do not do it.
posted by yoyoceramic at 3:26 PM on February 19, 2010

That's almost 4% of your mass... I would guess most procedures that do this would be quite unsafe.
posted by polymodus at 3:28 PM on February 19, 2010

If I need to drop water weight to fit into something for an event the next day, I always do a diet of bananas and water. The bananas add potassium, which helps regulate your hydration level, and they also keep you from completely starving. While it can be done, it doesn't seem to be a good way to win the competition. There's a reason athlete carb load the night befor a match. You'll be weak and have no excess glycogen from which to get energy during the competition. Also, you probably do not want to chow down right before the match, that's a good way to throw up.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:43 PM on February 19, 2010

It is possible through water weight loss. In high school, people would wear a garbage bag and run laps to lose water weight to make wrestling weight classes. A fast where you eat very little food and water can also help. For a Monday night weigh-in, you may start eating light immediately, and then work to lose any weight remaining on Sunday through heavy exercise. As others have stated, this will probably serve to weaken you some due to dehydration and the exertion to sweat the water out. Depending on the seriousness of the competition, your competitors will be doing the same thing.

For wrestling events, weigh-in was typically at the very beginning of the event, and no other weigh-ins occurred.
posted by garlic at 3:43 PM on February 19, 2010

If you lose that much water, you'll make yourself really sick. You could die.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:51 PM on February 19, 2010

If you donated a pint of blood, I think that would be about a pound right there. Not sure how quickly the body adds that back, or what it would do to your ability to compete.
posted by willnot at 4:02 PM on February 19, 2010

Another small issue is that everyone's scale is different, maybe because of calibration or what. So wouldn't you have to lose more like 5-7 lbs just to make sure you actually met the under 129 requirement...i mean it is cutting it awfully close
posted by Polgara at 4:19 PM on February 19, 2010

Data point: I don't know how I "do" this, but I weigh around 100 lbs on average and my weight can fluctuate by three pounds either way in two days and I don't pass out or anything. It seems that if a 100 lb person can drop/add 3 lbs in 2 days that someone who ways 134 could drop 5 pounds in 3 days, but I am not a doctor or anyone of any sort of authority or knowledge on this subject. But I'm also very short and not competing in any kind of strength contests. I think it's mostly just when I eat less food or do more exercise.

Also, it seems kind of absurd that there are only two weight classes for a strength competition. If you imagine that most women in this contest will weigh at least 100 lbs, if they're going to have a cutoff at 130, they should have another at 160 and 190 (and so on, depending on what the highest weight is) to make it fair. Unless, that is, weight is somehow accounted for in the scoring or whatever.
posted by ishotjr at 4:31 PM on February 19, 2010

You can definitely lose five pounds by Monday and without resorting to enemas or master cleanse. Here's some guidelines on how to do it. Pro fighters often drop ten pounds in that amount of time (sometimes much more). I'm not a doctor, but I really doubt there's much of a chance of you dying as a result, based on the fact that thousands of fighters, including high school wrestlers do this all the time.

That said, I don't recommend it unless this is a extremely important contest to you. It's notoriously unpleasant, and so many fighters say it's the worst part of their jobs.
posted by ignignokt at 4:34 PM on February 19, 2010

Chocolate Pickle "If you lose that much water, you'll make yourself really sick. You could die."

You have no idea what you're talking about.

At 170lbs, I routinely lose 5lbs goaltending in ice hockey for an hour if I'm not constantly drinking water. That's a good percentage and it effects performance some but I'm nowhere near death or being sick.
MMA fighters who are extremely lean sometimes drop 20lbs before a fight and only have a day to rehydrate.

Even at your weight I think you losing 5lbs is no problem. You could do that by tomorrow morning if you wanted to. I think the bigger problem is if they weigh you multiple times (which seems unlikely.)
If you are only weighed once, before the events just wear a trash bag under your clothes and go jogging (or something else low energy) or into a sauna on Sunday. You'll lose more than 5lbs in no time.

Eat light, really clean, and super low sodium for the next few days as well. Bring some gatorade to get your sodium backup and start chugging it right after the weigh in. I would recommend cutting it 50\50 with water.
posted by zephyr_words at 4:43 PM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]

I used to wrestle in high school. My weight always fluctuated between 145 and 150 pounds, and I was in the 150 pound weight class.

Cutting weight simple meant foregoing food the evening before a match and not drinking any fluids or eating until after weigh-in.

A five pound fluctuation over the course of a 24 hour period is relatively common and easy to do.
posted by dfriedman at 4:52 PM on February 19, 2010

Five pounds? Easily. Download a couple episodes of The Ultimate Fighter and you'll see them doing it... Fighters can cut quite remarkable amounts of weight, primarily water weight.
posted by glider at 4:55 PM on February 19, 2010

As much as I want to hate Tim Ferriss, this is the best article I've found on the subject.
posted by grieserm at 5:44 PM on February 19, 2010

This is a Strongman competition, right? The weight classes are a bear. In no weightlifting competition I've ever seen are you weighed after the competition (that would be silly--everyone would weigh less due to dehydration).

Weigh yourself tonight and tomorrow morning after going to the bathroom. This will give you a rough idea of how much you can lose overnight. Let's say you lose 1lbs.

So Sunday night, you want to be 130lbs. That means between now and then, you want to aim to lose 4lbs.

Cut out carbs and salt now, first thing. Reduce calorie intake, but not majorly, as you aren't going to lose a significant amount of fat between now and Monday evening.

Saturday, start reducing liquids to about half your normal intake. Take out all salt. Do some cardio--but not hard, low intensity for long periods of time--in heavy sweats. You really want to sweat the weight out. If you have a sauna use that; if you can sit in a steamy bathroom for a while do that as well.

Track your weight throughout the day to get a good idea of how much you're losing. Weigh yourself Saturday night and again Sunday morning. If it's less than the 1lbs (or whatever) above, then assume [i]that[/i] will be your weight cut overnight from Sunday to Monday.

Sunday, if you're not on track, you may have to intensify the sweat-out/whatever efforts. Again, no sprints, no crazy hard cardio like that, that will impede your lifting.

Monday morning, you are ideally going to be at less than 129lbs, because you want to be able to eat and drink something throughout the day. If you are at 129lbs exactly . . . Carry a scale with you if you're planning on ingesting anything to make sure the weight of it won't put you over.

Weigh in, take off all your clothes, make sure you've gone to the bathroom, and hit it.

ALSO--post-weigh in, make sure you have Pedialyte or some other rehydrating drink (not Gatorade, preferably medical-grade rehydrating drink), and foods with a shitton of potassium like avocados or bananas. This will help prevent cramping.
posted by Anonymous at 5:45 PM on February 19, 2010

No problem. I don't think I'd start cutting weight until sunday. Mostly just eat fruit on saturday and check your wight. If you need to wring another couple of pounds out, the sauna or garbage bag under the clothes will work just fine.

Do you know why the call it sucking weight? Because it sucks.

Good luck.
posted by mearls at 6:40 PM on February 19, 2010

Just do exactly what schroedinger said. Five pounds should not be too hard.
posted by Durin's Bane at 5:49 AM on February 20, 2010

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