I played a bunch of sports in my youth, but I never did any that involved weight classes.
My winters involved Basketball, so I never ended up Wrestling. My summers were jam-packed with Baseball, and that was all I did, so no weight classes in the warm weather either.
The Fall, once I hit High School, was the only time of year I lifted weights, and I just did the same program every other person that lifted did, since there was next to no guidance at all in the High School’s weight room.
So, when Grip Sport instituted weight classes in 2012, I really had no idea what it meant to have to “cut weight” in order to “make a weight class.”
When the weight classes were instituted, I was weighing anywhere from 265 to 290-lbs. I was eating whatever I wanted and if you go through some of my early 2012 videos, you can tell I’m not lying by my bloated face and lack of muscular definition.
But this year I really cleaned up my diet and increased my running and was able to drop about 50-lbs from early March to late September.
So, when I held the Holdfast Gauntlet at my gym on September 28th, fitting into the 105-kg (about 231-kg) Weight Class was rather easy for me to do because I was walking around at 232lbs.
But since September, my weight has gone up about 8lbs. I am still eating super clean, but I have not been doing the cardio as religiously. And while that may have put a couple pounds of fat on me, honestly, I have been KILLING IT in the gym for the last 4 months, have added Squats back into my training, and am just plain feeling like a monster pretty much every day.
Throw on top of that the fact that I celebrated Thanksgiving on the day of, had another one the Saturday after, and then had my birthday a few days after that, plus a weekend with my two biggest High School buddies thrown in there, I was staring at a scale that read 242-lbs on Monday of last week.
Let’s re-wind a bit.
As I mentioned, I ran and competed in a contest at my gym on September 28th. I had no intentions of doing any more competitions the rest of the year, because I had only prepared for my competition up until that point.
But, less than a week after the Holdfast Gauntlet, my new Grip Training Partner, Luke Raymond, asked me with crazed, obsessed eyes and saliva coming out of his mouth, “When’s the Next Contest Brother???”
Yes, I’ve got him talking like me now…
So, what am I supposed to do? Just tell this grip-obsessed, talented, and 2.5-closing grip-up-and-comer, “The next contest is next weekend, go have fun…”???
No way. I told him I would go along with him despite the fact that I hadn’t trained for it so that he could get some more experience. This contest was the King Kong Grip Challenge and it was only 3 hours away. A drive-there-compete-and-drive-back-all-in-the-same-day kind of distance.
It was what we call a Mega Comp, because on one particular day, there are multiple locations all over the world contesting the same events and the results are compiled into one massive database.
Despite the fact that neither of us trained the specific events for this contest, we both did very well. I was able to secure a Top 10 finish and Luke got some outstanding experience.
Luke is an athlete. He has a decent understanding of how to do an event just by being shown and told how to do so one time. Some guys have been competing for 10 years now, and still don’t understand the right way to do the events.
He also loves competition, and I think it is something he misses, sort of like the Michael Jordans and Andy Pettittes who retire from their sport too soon and end up coming back a few years later. Only in this case, Luke isn’t trying to go back and re-live the glory days of High School sports. Instead, he is testing himself with something new and enjoying every minute of it.
Even though I had a good finish in the King Kong, I was overwheight for the 105-kg class. I weighed in above the limit for the 105-kg class because I was so stressed out from the Holdfast Gauntlet, I gave myself like 4 cheat days. I ended up being 234 or 236 at weigh-in time, and it was so cold, I just was not interested in trying to cut weight to make the 231 mark by running all over the place.
Kink Kong Videos:
On the way back home from the King Kong Challenge, we made plans to compete at Gripmas, which was held this past weekend. And we both committed to making weight for our respective weight classes – the 93-kg for Luke and the 105-kg for myself.
But, it’s not time to talk about that yet.
Almost right smack dab in the middle of the early October King Kong and the early December Gripmas was the mid-November Thanksgripping.
I dread long drives alone, so I checked with Luke about it and he had something going on that prevented him from making the trip to Columbus, Ohio for Thanksgripping. I needed something else to justify the trip, so I called up an old buddy, Paul Knight.
You might know that name, he is one of the best Gripper Closers in the world and when he is peaking, perhaps the absolute best in North America. I asked if he was available that weekend to work on a little project we had talked about off and on for over a year, and as it turned out, he was.
So, I made the trip to Columbus for the November 15th Thanksgripping contest, and on Sunday, Paul and I shot a complete DVD on Gripper Training, which will be coming out in early 2014.
JL Holdsworth, the promoter for Thanksgripping and the owner of the greatest Grip Sport surname in history, did not do a weigh-in, so I have no idea what I weighed that day. I am sure I was overweight, but not significantly, since I had dialed my diet back in and had been doing several 15-minute Jump Rope sessions per week. I was feeling awesome from the good eating and feeling strong from re-instating Squats, but hadn’t monitored my actual weight very closely, so I am not sure.
Once that contest was over and in the books, it was time to get serious. I knew I had to get “ahead of the game” by the time Thanksgiving rolled around, because if I packed on fat during that period, I would only have about a week to cut off the excess in time for Gripmas.
Despite my best efforts, when I scaled myself on Monday morning of last week, 242 was staring me in the face and I knew that I had my work cut out for me. That is what two Thanksgivings and a bunch of beer with buddies will do to you.
And like I said, I have no experience with regards to how to cut weight, so I just laid out a plan for eating, cardio, and training.
Eating & Cardio Plans
- Breakfast Plans: Each morning would be hard boiled eggs with a handful of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. This is actually what I eat 3 or 4 times per week anyway. The other days I make an omelet. But, I knew there would be fewer calories in total with the hard boiled eggs and veggies so I went with that.
- Breakfast Result: Total success. Between making extra eggs ahead of time and my wife helping me out a couple of days, my breakfasts could not have gotten any better in my eyes.
- Lunch and Dinner Plans: Each lunch and dinner would be chicken breast and steamed vegetables with yellow mustard for flavor. This is close to what I eat multiple times a week, except I usually put some kind of seasoning on the chicken that has a ton of salt on it and I usually use brown spicey mustard for a little added kick. Those condiments don’t add a lot of calories, but they are loaded with sodium, so I cut them out in order to reduce water retention.
- Lunch and Dinner Results: Unfortunately, my wife also made a huge container of Sloppy Joes for me and expected the entire container to be gone before I left. She made it with ground turkey meat, so that wa sbetter, but I am sure the Manwich Sauce was riddled with sodium. To try to even things up, I mixed the Sloppies with steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower to make them a bit better. This actually tasted amazing, and I am considering it for future meals when I do not need to watch my weight for a comp.
- Cardio Plans: On that Sunday morning, I looked out the window and noticed the Field I ran in all summer wasn’t overgrown anymore. I stopped doing my Field Running partially because the grass got super high and I was afraid I was going to have a Giant Spider crawling on me or a rapid raccoon would end up attacking me. I went out and did 20 straight minutes of jogging, so I planned on doing that on a daily basis. It was actually quite relaxing.
- Cardio Results: Never ran again, but I had good reason. First off, I forgot the time had changed, so by the time 6PM rolled around, the time when I was doing my runs in the summer, it was pitch black dark out, so I was afraid I’d end up stepping in a rabbit burrow and breaking a lower leg like Sid Vicious did off the top rope. Plus, it was now hunting season, and I would probably either spoil someone’s hunt or run the risk of getting shot, since I run so gracefully I resemble a deer now. Instead, I did a daily 5-minute Bike Sprint, a daily 3-song Jump Rope Stint, and three Cardio Circuits that week. I actually think the combination came pretty close to what the running would have produced and I was left with more energy at the end of the week due to the shorter duration cardio efforts.
At the beginning of the week, I was emailing with Chris Rice about my plans to cut weight to make the 105-kg mark and he also sent me an article that covers how the UFC Fighters can cut 20 to 30 lbs in one week in order to make weight for a fight. Here is the link: How UFC Fighters Cut 30 lbs in a Week.
So I read the article, which I thought was quite good, although I wouldn’t recommend it as a weekly approach to weight loss by any means.
And, I decided to take some before and after photos of myself as a way to document everything.
Here are the photos:
Left: Monday Morning. 242lbs. Right: Friday Night, pissing brown. 227 lbs, so I thought…
So, I embarked upon the uncharted territory of purposeful dehydration. After several years of pushing daily hydration and filling a gallon jug with water and not being done until it was gone, I would now set up a schedule to purposefully dehydrate myself.
Monday: 2 Gallons of Water
Tuesday: 1 Gallon of Water
Wednesday: .75 Gallon of Water
Thursday: .5 Gallon of Water
Friday: Only water I drank was in coffee or the food I ate.
I should also note that from Monday to Thursday, I also was taking three servings of generic Metamucil, in order to clear out my colon as much as possible of any clogs. I believe this to have been a complete waste of effort, as I have been eating so much fiber over the last 9 months that most of that junk is completely gone. I saw no change in my stool size or frequency at all.
For food, all I ate for protein all day long Friday was hard boiled eggs. For cards, all I ate all day long was broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Honestly, I felt pretty darn good on this “diet.”
In the UFC article, the writer talks about feeling absolutely horrible. I did not. I felt some cramping in my neck which I thought was probably due to dehydration, but other than that I felt pretty good.
So, when we got to the hotel, I had packed my spot-calibrated scale that I used for the Hodlfast Gauntlet. Confident it was accurate, I placed it on the floor of the hotel room and weighed myself – 227-lbs. A 15-lb drop in weight from Monday across 5 days. I sat down and ate a few more pieces of broccoli and two more hard boiled eggs so that I could get some decent sleep.
Luke stepped on the scale and was weighing 206. I laughed at him and pointed while jumping up and down. Pissed off that he wouldn’t be able to eat or drink anything that night, he went to get a shower.
The Magic Shower
When he returned from the shower, he stepped back on the scale and this time, to our surprise, was 203 lbs!!!
“How could that be?”
I then remembered I had heard long ago that a scale won’t work right on a carpet. We had weighed ourselves on a carpet.
So, the complete geniuses that we are, we placed the scale atop the credenza beside the TV so that we had a more sturdy surface. Why we did not take it to the tile floor in the bathroom I have no idea.
What I do know though, is that I was now weighing 233-lbs. 2 Pounds over my 231 limit.
So, all the dehydration efforts, I only lost about 9-lbs. Looking back, my dehydration probably did work effectively due to the sloppy joe’s I ate or something. But regardless, I still had to cut off a couple more pounds.
But I did not rely upon a magic shower. Instead, I put my sneakers back on and bundled up and went to run around the hotel to burn off some calories and get rid of more water.
It was snowing out BIG TIME. As I ran, I remember wondering if all the snow I was inhaling through my nose and mouth was negating my dehydration tactics. I remember wondering whether the moisture in my beanie was sweat or just snow that had melted. Was I making progress, or shooting myself in the foot? I was already so dehydrated, my feet hurt and both achilles tendons were sore, and they just kept getting more sore with each stride on the pavement as I went around the hotel and convenience store complex. My only solace was the fact that it was snowing and the accumulation and slush were padding my strides somewhat.
The snow was both my enemy and my partner.
I made myself do 10 laps. Each time I passed by the South Door, two dudes speaking Spanish and smoking cigarettes stared at me. I was just waiting for them to make a reference to “el guero corriendo,” so that I could talk back to them in Spanish to surprise them, but it never happened.
When all was said and done, I finished my 10th lap and went back inside and I had been running for 40 minutes, twice as long as I had run in any of my Field Running jaunts from the Spring and Summer. So I was proud of myself in that regard.
I weighed in again, once more atop the credenza, as I tried to remember which Dr. Seuss book mentions a credenza, and I had gotten all the way down to 232 and a couple of ounces. I jumped in the shower and went to bed.
When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was weigh in. I was now 229 on my scale.
Luke and I jumped into the car with no food. Just black coffee and we made it to the Grip Comp location within about 20 minutes. I weighed in at 229 something. Luke was 203 something. We both made weight, and it was time to put the feedbag on! We started by consuming a Gatorade Gel Pack apiece and chugging an entire 32-ounce Gatorade. We then proceeded to eat about a half dozen eggs each, bacon, toast, and more goodies prepared for us by Chris Rice’s wife, Teresa, and amazing breakfast – thank you so much to the Rice’s.
And that is my story of my first ever cutting experience. All in all, it was not that bad of an experience. I lucked out and got no headaches and didn’t cramp up or collapse on the floor.
Going forward, I plan on continuing to train super hard with the goal of adding muscle and strength. I also plan on keeping the cardio in there and eating clean to continue to reduce bodyfat. I’d love to be able to pack on another 10lbs of muscle while also dropping 10 more lbs of fat. Since I am Squatting and Deadlifting again, I think the strength and muscle gains are easily fathomable. With the diet dialed in and the cardio, I think the fat will come off too.
This post has already gotten much longer than I ever would have intended, so I will not speak of my events at the contest, at least not right now. I will however, post the videos. Enjoy.
Thanks for reading (if you did) and all the best in your training.
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