Making Weight

Posted on: November 20th, 2011 by Rachel Cosgrove

Every once in awhile someone will ask me – “I know it doesn’t matter but I’m just curious…and you don’t have to answer me but how much do you weigh?” or recently one of our clients whose husband also comes to the gym said, “So, last night at my house we were discussing how much we thought you weighed…”

Me, in disbelief – “My weight was the topic of conversation over dinner at your house last night?!?!?!??!”

“Well, yeah…because I think you’re probably in the 130’s…are you?”

“Ha, Ha. Me? 130 pounds?!?!?!”

As much as I try to de-emphasize the scale and what you weigh people are still determined to put emphasis on it focused on what # do I need to weigh to look the way I want to look. I always debate whether I should share what I weigh knowing that they are comparing themselves to me but usually when I do share what my weight is (which I don’t always know because it isn’t something I focus on) they are surprised that I weigh as much as I do. In fact, my grandma who doesn’t understand the concept of muscle weighing more every single time I see her says- “I can’t believe that tiny body weighs so much!” “Um, thanks Grandma…I’ll take that as a compliment…”

This past week I was extremely focused on my weight because I had to “make weight” for the powerlifting competition I was competing in. Why did I have to make weight? The weight classes were Under 165 pounds or Under 148 pounds. My weight is usually around 155 pounds (Not 135 pounds like people seem to think!) so I am right between these two classes. If I stayed put I’d be in the 165’s and I knew there was a girl in that class who already held all of the records and could lift a lot more than I could. Being the competitive person I am I knew if I dropped my weight by 7 pounds I wouldn’t be against her and would have a shot at making a few records and winning the GOLD.

Here’s the crazy thing – My husband (who has had a lot of experience helping fighters “make weight”) knew he could manipulate my weight by loading and depleting my water to drop the 7 pounds no problem. Little did I know what exactly he meant by that and what all was involved but it should have been a hint when he said- “You have to do everything I tell you to and you can’t be mad at me or cry…and I’ll help you make the weight.” Sounds extreme but I can handle it! The few weeks before the competition I was confident in my husband’s knowledge to help me do what I needed to do to make weight so, although I should have, I didn’t try to drop a few pounds first but instead had a weekend in Vegas and then the week before we enjoyed our usually Saturday night splurge of Pizza and on Sundays in the winter time we go to the local pub for roast dinner with potatoes and gravy and of course a Guinness…so come Monday before my competition my weight had creeped up to 157. Usually I would not even know this because the last time you should weigh yourself is right after a splurge. All I know is that I can get away with a few splurges a week and maintain my jean size which is all that usually matters to me. I knew the couple pounds was bloat from my recent splurges but I had to be 148 or under by Saturday. Can you drop almost 10 pounds in a week? My husband said he can do it but again I can’t be mad at him and can’t cry…this is not going to be fun…(disclaimer: do not try this at home)

I ate clean and drank my water and got back to 155 by Wednesday dropping the splurge bloat. Then we started to load my water and then deplete by Friday I was at 152 pounds but that meant I still had to lose 4 pounds by the next morning! No way!

How I spent my Friday night…submerged completely under a hot bath (only my face showing), then sitting up in the bath sweating like crazy, then sauna style wrapped in two robes and a towel on my head sweating even more. This sequence took about 20 minutes the first round (again disclaimer: do not try this at home). I’ve done a lot of physically challenging things including completing an Ironman and this was one of the TOUGHEST things I have ever done! I had conversations in my head of – “I can’t do this. I have to get out of here.” Then I’d talk myself back down- “Breathe. You can do this…”

What did that do? I dropped 2 pounds of water! I did one more round taking about 15 minutes and finished Friday night where I needed to be at 148 pounds. Saturday morning on an empty stomach I was 147 pounds- I had lost 10 pounds in one week. My body was EXACTLY the same (did you catch that? EXACTLY THE SAME) and remember it was temporary! Just because the scale said a certain # didn’t mean anything had changed.

Immediately after I stepped off the scale I started a regimented refueling schedule of Gatorade, protein, and high sodium foods getting my body back to my normal weight before competing.

One of our clients (who is super fit and looks amazing) at the competition heard me talking about what I had done and she said – “I want to do that.” “Why?” “So I can drop that much weight.” “Why?” “To be down on the scale.”

Really?!?!?! Why would you put yourself through THAT just to see a number on the scale for one moment. It amazes me that no matter what, people still put so much emphasis on the # on the scale. They can look fit and be in phenomenal shape and still want to see a certain # on the scale.

I hope this blog post illustrates how you can manipulate the scale to get it to say what you want (it’s not easy but it can be done) but it doesn’t mean your body has changed at all. I didn’t lose any fat this week or add any muscle. My body is the same and could lift the same amount of weight and wear the same jeans it could wear a week ago when I was 10 pounds heavier. Plus within a few hours of stepping on the scale I was back to weighing what I weighed a week ago.

Stop putting so much emphasis on the scale and enjoy your fit, healthy body!

Oh and it was all worth it…I got the GOLD!



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