There are a few people who don’t struggle with weight, ever. Those who seem to have a metabolism that can’t be slowed and can’t be fed enough either!
Then, there are the countless majority who intimately know the battle of maintaining good health.
Many have fought the good fight to gain and maintain lean muscle mass and lower body fat percentages.
For jiu jitsu athletes, in cases like competitions where weigh-ins are required to qualify and compete, failure is simply not an option.
Athlete or not, failure is never pleasant and the weight-loss fight can be insult to injury when defeat is suffered. Perhaps the answer is to maintain a lower working body fat level?
Those athletes, for example, would they be better advised to maintain single digit body fat percentages throughout the year making the weight-loss cut for competitions less daunting?
It is a fair question and one that deserves to be investigated.
Reaching Versus Maintaining
The most successful weight cutting and weight-loss success stories all have one thing in common, they involve people who were religious about their programs.
These programs include two primary considerations: dietary guidelines and an effective fitness regimen.
In a somewhat ironic twist, however, those who lose weight faster may actually incur more trouble maintaining a healthy lifestyle after reaching their goals.
How this translates and what this means for those seeking a healthy lifestyle like our aforementioned jiu jitsu athletes, is very important.
The first point to note is that most anyone can reach their goals.
Some routines or methods are better or healthier than others but the evidence suggests that a deep commitment to any number of effective programs will produce results.
Those dedicated to a routine, despite the viability or how drastic it might be, are capable of reaching body fat goals.
The second point to consider, is that the real issue isn’t as much about achieving body fat goals as much as it is maintaining those lean and peak percentages.
For the sake of argument, assume that the person or athlete has reached their body fat percentage goals using a safe and healthy program.
There are plenty of sound, trustworthy and effective weight-loss programs out there after all.
Is the Problem Really Maintaining?
Competition in any sport can be fierce, and in jiu jitsu it can be physically and mentally challenging.
Any advantage you can gain over your competitor is an edge you want, right? Now we begin to tap into the great impetus behind why athletes like these cut weight and maximize fat loss for competitions.
It is common in many combat-related competitions for an athlete to fight one or two classes below their “natural” fighting weight.
This of course, prompts the question…
What is the Ideal Body Fat Percentage?
Being overweight is a condition that is fairly simple to determine, defining what constitutes a healthy physique and the parameters which define that have been made.
What is a little more difficult to ascertain, however, is a goal as elusive as the “ideal” or perfect body fat percentage.
Elusive because each body type and individual are different. A competitor who is 6 feet tall competing against another competitor in the 145 lb. weight class who is 5 foot 8 inches tall would represent two entirely different body compositions.
That example is where we can begin to discern some clarity in what it means to be healthy and to maintain your optimum physical state.
Maintaining Your Best Physical Condition
Using two such opposing body types is a good way to illuminate the variances in what the peak physical condition might be for one person versus another.
It might make sense that the taller 145 pound fighter, assuming they are in excellent condition of course, might have a lower body fat percentage than the shorter fighter at their natural fighting weights.
For the taller fighter in this scenario, it would be easier to maintain single digit body fat supposing their best natural fighting condition was at 8 or 9 percent body fat.
If the shorter fighter, given the muscle density and body type, reached their best natural fighting condition at 10.5 to 12 percent body fat then maintaining single digit body fat might be unrealistic.
In addition, It can also be argued that attempting to maintain your body’s peak state of condition can also be an unhealthy practice for the long-term.
The Best You Versus The Peak You
Do you feel good, healthy and strong? Is that stomach tight, your conditioning top notch and are you happy with your physique?
Good, that is the best you and the one that you should live in. The peak you is just that and might be great to employ during a competition but even the best designed and most effective training programs call for rest.
If single digit body fat is where your body is at it’s healthiest and happiest condition, cutting weight for that tournament shouldn’t be a problem.
If your best you tends to be a little higher than 8 or 9 percent, no worries just plan accordingly.
Two or three extra weeks of conditioning will generally suffice and it certainly won’t make you any weaker.
Trying to maintain single digit body fat makes sense if that is where you are your healthiest and best self – but where that is will be different for everyone.