Many competitive fighters have to get below a target weight in order to fight in a particular weight class. And, sometimes, this can be a few kilos below their off-season weight, so a few weeks of strict dieting are needed in order to lose this excess weight, while at the same time, maintain adequate energy levels and nutrition for muscle power.

The last few days before the weigh-ins are the most important time for diet manipulation in order to achieve your desired weight, while ensuring you are pumped full of energy to perform at your best in the ring. During this time, you need to aim to deplete your muscles of their carbohydrate stores, then reload them with quality carbs in order to super-compensate and store more than before for optimal energy. On a more extreme level, you will have to fluid manipulate as well as carb deplete in order to get the scales down – this may mean fluid restriction and manipulation of sodium (salt) intake.

Let’s assume the weigh-in is at 6 pm, but you are not due to fight till well after 8 pm. You will still want to keep your energy up, or else you will feel listless in the ring and there would be no point to all the preparation over the past weeks. Although you will also need to manipulate the fluid intake, it’s imperative that you are still adequately hydrated by the time of the fight. The key to this is to keep carbs low (but not omit them), protein high, and fluid/sodium minimal, during the day. And then, post weigh-in, you should consume a variety of fast and slow-absorbed carbs, and rehydrate as quickly as possible, without bloating yourself causing you to feel sluggish in the ring. This following plan is merely an example, but similar to what has been used by some professional boxing and martial art athletes.


1 scoop whey protein powder in 100 ml low electrolyte mineral water

Breakfast (9.30 am)

Porridge: 100 g oats + 200 ml skimmed milk + 2 tbsp sugar

11.00 am

1 small dry roasted sweet potato
1 scoop whey protein powder in 100 ml low electrolyte mineral water

Lunch (1.00 pm)

Chicken breast (120 g)
40 g basmati rice + 1 tbsp sweetcorn
No drink

3.30 pm

Chicken breast (120 g)
Small banana
No drink

6.00 pm


Immediately post weigh-in

1 large Mars bar
250 ml bottle isotonic drink

(Sip 1.5-2 litres of water during the 2-hour period but do not bloat)

30 mins later

6 oatcake biscuits
1 scoop whey + 2 tsp sugar in water

30 minutes later

Chocolate flapjack
50 ml bottle isotonic drink

30 mins later

6 oatcakes
Kendal mint cake or Mars bar

Nothing but water 30 minutes’ pre-fight

After fight – have a good meal of whatever you like to replenish!

About The Author

Alleen Wright