The Masters is the last competition of the judo world tour competitions of the IJF. It is special since only the top 16 judokas in each weight category can participate, unlike other competitions in which the limitation is of number of competitors of each country. Winning one fight in the Masters yields 468 ranking points – more than a bronze medal in the Judo European Championship; participation alone is 200 points, same as winning two European open tournaments.
In spite of the relatively easy to get ranking points, it’s interesting to see that not all top players are competing. -57kg is the only weight category in which all the top 8 players are listed to compete. Maybe the reason is focusing on preparation for the Olympic race. The main people to benefit from it are the lower ranked athletes, who get a rare chance to participate and score some ranking points. In the 100+ weight category competes Battulga (MGL), who is ranked 38th in the world.
Cyrille Maret is the only athlete who was able to choose in weight category to compete in the Masters. The winner of the Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi in +100kg and vice-European Champion -100kg is currently ranked 11th in -100kg and 30th in +100kg. Due to the many absences in +100kg, he could have participate in either one. The Frenchmen is currently listed in the lighter category. This means he’ll need to lose 16.2kg, as his weight was recorded to be 116.2kg in the World Championships Open weight, a little over a month ago.
Losing 16.2kg in 5 weeks sounds like an impossible mission, but it is actually doable if you break it down correctly.
An athlete from his level is likely to have a sport dietitian to guide him through the process. Athletes shouldn’t try to cut this much without a professional help.
I tried to contact Maret, but couldn’t receive his response about the matter, so all that is listed below is my estimation of the situation.
How can Maret lose 16kg in 5 weeks?
First, let’s assume that Maret, who normally competes -100kg weight category gained weight intentionally for his participation in the World Open Weight. I’m also assuming that he didn’t want to appear too light at weight in and for that ate during the day of weigh in. When an athlete sees he is heavier than others, be gets some confidence boost, no athlete would want to give mental advantage to his competitors. I believe that to the body weight of Maret at weigh in time another kilogram food and drinks was added. One kilogram that he doesn’t normally carry.
With a healthy diet that has a small energy deficit an average person will lose 1% of body weight a week. If Maret starts from 115kg and keeps this diet, he can reach the weight of 110kg (10% over his goal weight) a week before the Masters’ weigh-in. Actually, since Maret usually competes -100kg and probably had to gain some weight to compete +100kg, losing the weight is likely to happen faster than 1% a week.
How can he lose 10kg in a week?
First, don’t forget that Maret is a heavy athlete. For him 10kg is 10% of his body weight, lighter athlete can’t cut that much without risking his healthy and performance. The last 10kg are lost in a weight cut, which means a temporary reduction of weight that will come back as soon as possible after the weigh-in. The goal would be to start the weight cut as close as possible to the weigh-in.
As a dietitian, I would build Maret a 5-days plan for making weight based on these principles:
- Salt reduction (1-2kg): Pretty straight-forward strategy which means reduction of salt intake during the last days before the competition. When I was an athlete and competed -48kg, I used to lose about 1kg with this diet, Maret can lose much more, 1-5 – 2kg, depending on his regular diet.
- Bowel emptying (1kg): The weight of the stomach and the digesting track can reach to 3 kg. You can’t get rid of all this weight, but you can reduce about 1% of your body weight with the right nutrition. Removing slow to digest kinds of foods such as fruits and vegetables should do the trick. In Maret’s case it means an additional kilogram in the cutting plan.
- Glycogen depletion (1-2kg): Since the weigh-in is the evening before the competition there is enough time to recover, which opens the option of lowering the amounts of glycogen in the muscles. Glycogen is the carbohydrates that are stored in the muscles and used as a fuel. This practice combines training with reduction of carbohydrates from the menu. I wouldn’t recommend choosing this option without consulting a professional. This is a tricky option because you need to find the exact amount to lose and have an accurate recovery plan. This practice can cut another 1-2kg of Maret’s body weight, and will require a special nutrition regime after weigh-in to rebuild the glycogen stores.
- Dehydration (5-7kg): Maret can cut the rest of the weight by dehydration. As I wrote before in other posts, 5% is my limit in the weight cutting plans I prepare for my clients.
Losing 16.2 in 5 weeks is not going to be fun, but with an accurate plan it is doable in a safe manner.
Kids, don’t try this at home!
(Photo courtesy IJF)