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Cut 7.7 Pounds in 7-1/2 Days

by Gary F. Zeolla

I will be competing in the Pennsylvania State Championships for the International Powerlifting Federation on Saturday, September 22, 2007. I will be competing in the 114 pound weight class in the open and masters (45-49) divisions. The weight class limit is actually 114.5 pounds due to being converted from 52 kilograms.

I weighed 122.2 pounds this past Friday morning (9/14). I have to weigh 114.5 pounds at 6:00 pm this coming Friday (9/21) to weigh-in for my contest on Saturday. So I have to cut 7.7 pounds in 7-1/2 days.

This is actually less than I had to cut for my last contest when I cut 9.3 pounds in 7 days. But for that contest, I really had to kill myself the last 24 hours, and I still initially weighed-in a pound over. I had to spit for an hour to make weight. I want to avoid that this time. With weigh-ins not until 6:00 pm, I really need to make weight the first time I step on the scale. I have too little time as it is to eat and re-hydrate afterwards.

For my last contest, weigh-ins started at 9:00 am Friday morning, so I had all day to get my weight back up, and I weighed 120 the morning of the contest. Weighing in later this time will make it more challenging to get my weight back up, but it will make making weight easier.

I figure I could weigh as much as five pounds over the morning of weigh-ins and still make weight. But that would require not eating or drinking anything all day long and taking a couple of hot baths. It’s the hot baths that I want to avoid this time. I felt like those baths really took it out of me last time. So I would prefer to be down to 117.5 the morning of weigh-ins. I figure three pounds should just drop off with not eating and drinking through the course of the day. But my approach will be a little different this time to get down to that level.

When I first started powerlifting, I mainly cut fat intake the week before weigh-ins, then carbs as needed. So I mainly ate low-fat protein foods (chicken and turkey breast, low-fat fish like cod, protein powders, and egg whites), along with low calorie veggies (broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, etc.). That worked for a few pounds, but the cutting of fat lowers testosterone levels, and that is counter-productive.

So my last contest, I drastically cut carbs but kept fat and protein levels at normal levels. But the weight did not come off as I had hoped. So that’s why I had to loose so much the last 24 hours.

This time, I will simply cut calories about in half, while continuing my normal eating pattern of consuming a “balance” of protein, carbs, and fat at most meals. This is the eating pattern I advocate in my book God-given Foods Eating Plan, and it works best normally. And I think it best to keep things as “normal” as possible this week.

I was already down to 121.0 this morning (Sunday). I’ll post an update on how things are going later this week.

As for post-weigh in eating and drinking, immediately post-workout I will drink my normal post-workout drink. But otherwise, I’ve found a large steak hoagie is the best thing to pig out on. And that makes perfect sense.

The bread, of course, will replenish glycogen stores. But another important point is that red meat raises testosterone levels. Since cutting weight no matter how it is done will lower T levels, this is very important. Another important point is if it is a restaurant hoagie, it will contain loads of sodium. Normally, this is common problem with restaurant foods. But I will be cutting sodium the last couple of days before weigh-ins, so replacing it is vital.

But instead of going to someplace like Subway, I might just take some bread and cooked chip steak with me and make my own steak sandwiches. In that case, I’ll use “Annie’s Natural” BBQ sauce on it. It will provide the sodium, and rather than sugar, it uses brown rice syrup. As I discuss in my book, brown rice syrup is a very good sweetener as it contains all carbs that are effective for replenishing glycogen stores, whereas half of the carbs in sugar are not effective.

Potassium is also important to replenish. For that, I already bought a bottle of organic, orange-carrot juice at a heath food store. It is super high in potassium, along with vitamins A, C and other nutrients. All of these are important to replenish as well.

Now I do want to state that fruit juice is not the best food to consume for replenishing glycogen store since fructose is not effective in that regard. But with being half carrot, this juice is rather low in sugar compared to other juices. And I’ve drunk it before post-weigh-in, and it work out well.

So that’s my plan right now. I’ll post a report the week after my contest on how things go.



I didn’t lose any weight from Sunday to Monday, so I’ll have to get a little more “extreme” in cutting. Mainly, I will have to really cut carbs. Maybe a piece or two of fruit a day, and that will be it. And I’ll have to cut fat more than I had planned, just small amounts of some healthy fats (fatty fish, nuts, olive oil), and maybe a little lean red meat. But otherwise, I’ll be following the eating plan I mentioned about using before, low fat protein foods and veggies. Hopefully, that will do it.

On another note, I found something that might be better than the orange-carrot juice to drink after weigh-ins. It’s organic “Very Veggie” juice. It’s even higher in potassium and lower in sugar than the orange-carrot juice. The bottle I have is “low sodium” but as I said, I should get enough sodium from the hoagie and/ or BBQ sauce. But the Very Veggie juice is available with sodium as well. I’ll probably drink the orange-carrot juice during the contest.



This morning (Wed, 9/19), I was at 119.8. That puts me in good shape. I should mention, that another aspect of my cutting was to *increase* salt and water intake Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon. Then starting now (Wed afternoon, about 48 hours pre-weigh-ins), I will eliminate sodium as much as possible and return water intake to normal. Then on Friday I will decrease or eliminate water intake as needed.

The idea is that by increasing sodium and water for a couple of days, your body gets used to excreting the extra sodium and water. Then when you drastically decrease their intake, your body takes time to reset, so it continues to execrate the extra for a short while. That should dehydrate me very well by weigh-ins. Of course, it is then imperative to consume water and electrolytes afterwards, hence my previous discussion about the potassium in veggie juice and sodium in a restaurant hoagie.

It also means that right now I am feeling little bloated. So once I cut back on the sodium and water, hopefully, I will easily shed the last 5.3 pounds.


Final Update

Thursday morning I was down to 118.8, then 117.8 on Friday morning, the day of weigh-ins. This was just a little more than I had hoped to be. So I didn’t eat any breakfast, just drank a small glass of iced tea. And that was it as far as any intake the rest of the day. I did, however, suck on an ice cube at times to help quench the thirst. After going to the bathroom, I was down to 117.2.

Late morning, I then took a hot bath. That got me down to 116.2. I drove to my motel and checked in around 3:00 pm. After resting, I took another hot bath at the motel. I was now down to 115.2 about an hour before weigh-ins. So I still had 0.7 pounds to lose. But I wasn’t worried. I hadn’t urinated since noon, but I kind of felt like I needed to now. But I figured it best to hold it until right before weigh-ins. And after doing so, I just made weight.

After weighing in, I sat down outside and drank my post-workout drink and then guzzled half of the 32 ounce bottle of veggie juice in one gulp. I drank a little more water and felt bloated at that point.

I stopped at Subway on the way back to my motel and got a 12” roast beef sub. After eating that, I felt stuffed. I wanted to eat more, but just couldn’t. I drank some more water over the next couple of hours, then ate a couple of chip steak sandwiches with meat and buns I brought from home. But again, I felt stuffed. I wanted to eat more and especially drink more, but I just couldn’t. So I went to bed.

The next morning, I was only back up to 117.0. This was three pounds less than for my last contest. But that time I had weighed-in at 9:00 am. So there was obviously a big difference in the weigh-in times.

I ate basically what I normally eat for breakfast, whole grain cereal with nuts and fruit, using protein powder instead of milk, but I ate much more than normal. And I tried to drink as much as I could. I then ate some peanut butter on graham crackers in my car right before going into the contest site. But I still felt like I was dehydrated, but I just couldn’t drink any more. And this really came back to haunt me when it ended up being very hot at the contest.

I’ll discuss that problem in my contest report. But here, I will just say that this will be the last time that I will enter a contest where weigh-ins are not until 6:00 pm and I will be cutting to 114s. Either I will go 123s or only enter a contest with weigh-ins at 9:00 am the day before the contest. Since this is allowed in the IPA and I will probably stick with the IPA from now on, then I might as well take full advantage of the IPA’s 24 hour weigh-in rule. In fact, it was mainly because of this rule that I first competed in the IPA when I began powerlifting again 4-1/2 years ago.


For how my contest went, see IPA PA States Powerlifting Championships - 2007

Cut 7.7 pounds in 7-1/2 days?. Copyright 2007 by Gary F. Zeolla.

Powerlifting and Strength Training
Powerlifting and Strength Training: My Diet/ Eating Plan

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