6 Mistakes Athletes Who Lost Weight Make After Weigh-in
(Written by Amelie Rosseneu for Judoinside)
Congratulations you made weight! What’s next? A big celebration meal? Probably not the best idea. Passing a weigh-in is only the beginning – you still need to conquer that gold medal. So how do you prepare your body for the competition? The theory is that you need to try to make up for your deficiencies. If you had to cut weight before the weigh-in you probably are lacking some liquid, carbohydrates and maybe electrolytes (salts). Just as in weight cutting, there are some common mistakes that it is best to avoid.
Mistake #1: Drinking Cola after weigh-in
Some foods are not recommended on a regular basis but can be helpful at specific times. Cola may seem like one. It contains carbohydrates and liquids and some athletes drink it as a recuperation drink after weigh-in. Unfortunately, these athletes are only harming themselves. Firstly, the concentration of carbohydrates in Cola is too high to be used as a rehydration source—the high concentration slows down the body’s ability to absorb liquid. Secondly, Cola also contains caffeine, which may interfere with your sleep the night before a competition. Lastly, Cola contains unhealthy chemicals, which are not recommended at any time.
Mistake #2: Eating immediately after stepping off the scales
It’s better to first drink and allow your body some time to absorb the liquid before you start eating. Absorption speed depends on the speed by which the drink leaves your stomach. When there are only liquids in your stomach this happens relatively fast—but as soon as you start eating, the speed of gastric emptying slows down. Your stomach first has to digest what you ate before it can push the food to the next stage in the digestive track.
Mistake #3: Drinking water after weigh-in
While it’s true that water is perfect for hydration, sports drinks with some carbohydrates and some salts can do it faster. Water passes through the stomach quickly, but sports drink are absorbed faster in the body. Just make sure the sports drink doesn’t contain too many carbohydrates (preferably less than 6%). Another benefit of sports drinks compared to water is that it already brings some carbohydrates and salts to the table.
Mistake #4: Have one big carbohydrate meal and go to sleep
While it’s good to eat a lot of carbohydrates after a weigh-in in order to restore the energy (glycogen) in the muscles, it’s not a good idea to do this all at once. Your body can’t process large amounts of carbohydrates at once and it will fail to store them properly in the muscles. It will store some of them as fat instead. A better approach would be to eat a few small meals rich in carbohydrates, every two hours, up until bedtime.
Mistake #5: Have a well-deserved pizza or burger after weigh-in
Pizza and hamburgers are delicious and contain a lot of energy, but it’s not the right type of energy you need for the fight. The energy fighters rely on during a fight comes mainly from carbohydrates. It’s true that Pizza and hamburgers contain carbohydrates, but they contain a lot of fat as well. Not only is fat not the right energy source for you at the moment, it also takes longer to digest. In case you lost a lot of glycogen and need to restore it, it can take a while before your stomach is ready for another meal.
Mistake #6: Add a lot of vegetables to a regular-sized carbohydrate-rich meal
Vegetables are undoubtedly healthy and highly recommended, but after a weigh-in your recovery time is limited. You need to make sure carbohydrates reach your muscles as fast as possible. Adding vegetables to your meal will lead to a slower rate of digestion, and will make you feel full for a longer period of time—thereby slowing down your recovery time.