Coming from the program implementations in various world, asian, and regional championships last 2019 in weightlifting and boxing, I felt the need to share this especially to all weight class athletes who’ve been constantly challenged to make weight.
Weight management is a considerable aspect of competition in weight class sports. However, detrimental challenges lie in the unguided rapid weight loss practices of athletes.
Aside from multiple training sessions, one approach that many athletes of weight class sports do is to cut down on food or calorie intake through the consumption of fruits and vegetables in exchange for regular meals.
In the initial phase, a high fruit and vegetable intake is recommended so that other “less healthy” food items will not crowd out the essential ones. This will help in managing weight effectively by efficiently improving body composition - reducing overall body fat and improving muscle mass.
Without a doubt, fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of key nutrients for maximum sports performance. But, knowing when to consume them in preparation for weigh-ins can help reduce the dilemmas in achieving target weight.
For majority of athletes that I am coaching, weight management begins months before the actual competition. For example, the nutrition program implementation of IBF world champ professional boxer Jerwin Ancajas began 7 months before his actual fight. This ample time has allowed us to let him recover completely from his previous fight, restore overall balance in his nutritional state, and lead him to his optimum body composition.In his program, various sources of fruits and vegetables are included to ensure that all nutrients needed by the body were sourced out naturally.
In the initial phase, a high fruit and vegetable intake is recommended so that other “less healthy” food items will not crowd out the essential ones. This helped him manage his weight effectively by efficiently improving body composition - reducing overall body fat and improving muscle mass.
Leading up to the weigh-in, fruits allowances are slightly reduced (but not totally removed) to manage overall intake of carbohydrates. A few days before the weigh in, fruits and vegetable allowances are totally omitted in order to reduce bulk and extra weight because of fiber. Note that this is a TAIL-END strategy that can be done when an athlete is having a hard time losing the last extra pounds.
This proper timing of fruits and vegetable consumption in relation to day of weigh-in leaves a lot of people confused thinking that the “healthiness” of them is equivalent to lesser calorie intake and less bulk in the diet (“hindi mabigat sa tyan”). Also, it is important to consider that overall balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is of utmost priority more than the strategy above. Without this, following the proper timing of fruit and vegetables intake will not make a significant impact on athletic performance.
For weight class sports athletes, there is no assurance that competition performance is going to be as good as training performance but will be based on the extent that weight cutting has been done and how smart recovery nutrition is implemented.