Well, not quite. Getting the recovery right after you weigh in is just as important as making the weight in the first place, and often just as tricky. It is worth having your rehydration process planned out in advance, with your first rehydration drink already mixed up and ready to go as you weigh in. Knowing exactly what you’re going to eat and drink, at what time, will help you to avoid many of the common mistakes that fighters make.
Every fighter has their own routine for after the weigh-in - another good reason to practice your weight cut and rehydration well ahead of your fight. For this reason I’m not going to give an exact plan, but just outline the general principles that I use.
We’re assuming that this is for a weigh-in the day before your event, with a 24 hour recovery period. We’ll cover the changes you should make for a “same day” weigh-in in a future blog.
Your first consideration, after stepping off the scales, is fluid and electrolytes. NEVER drink plain water at this stage. If you’re dehydrated, then you have depleted your sodium (salt) levels. By drinking pure water, you risk diluting your sodium levels further and giving yourself hyponatremia, which can be extremely dangerous.
To replace electrolytes, you have a few options. Many people like to use Dioralyte (Pedialyte in the US), an electrolyte formula that can be mixed with water to give a rehydration drink. Make sure that you mix it up correctly, with the right amount of water according to the instructions. It is also possible to mix your own rehydration drinks, using salt, “lo salt” (containing potassium) and glucose powder. We’ll give you a recipe for this in a future blog post.
My own experience is that I rehydrate best if I stick to just fluids for at least an hour after the weigh in. Take your time with this. Your body typically absorbs less than 1 litre per hour from your digestive tract – drinking faster than this will leave you feeling bloated.
For the second hour I continue with the fluids, but move on to drinks containing more carbohydrate. You can use ready made sports drinks such as gatorade or lucozade as a base (diluted if needed), or else it’s possible to buy glucose powder or maltodextrin to mix your own.
Various recovery drinks can also be used to good effect. It’s always possible to tweak the ratio of carbohydrate to protein by adding extra maltodextrin or glucose. Experiment to find the formula that works best for you.
Next time – solid foods.