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Making weight for an event

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

Olympic athlete dieting strategies allow athletes in weight determined sports to gain an advantage by competing in a weight division that is lower than their training weight (Reale et al., 2017). Deduction to weight is achieved not only through strategies (body fat loss) but also through acute influences before "making weight" (Reale et al., 2019). Another term for this is cutting. A method for cutting body fat without jeopardising any lean muscle as losing muscle would negatively affect training performance and competition. This strategy is used noticeably by other sporting professionals in other sports like boxing, mixed martial artists, and judo. They will be able to cut weight dramatically, mainly water weight before a weigh in to "make weight" (Ellerbroek et al., 2015). Olympic weightlifting athletes would not be able to cut weight in this strategy. It may negatively affect performance as rapidly dehydrating like boxers and mixed martial artists, is not an athlete's method. Rebalancing a diet plan is more beneficial to the athlete's longevity and performance results.

On the other hand, there is another method for diet strategy, which is bulking. A bulking approach utilises a calorie surplus in a very well-regulated and controlled manner. When an athlete is in a caloric surplus or eating more calories than the body needs for its normal functions, the diet plan needs to be strategic to ensure that most of the weight gain consists of muscle (Deakin et al., 2015). The strength athlete will inevitably gain some fat when bulking and, if the Olympic weightlifter is not monitoring the bulk very closely, they will gain more fat then required.


Deakin V, Kerr D, Boushey C.(2015) Measuring nutritional status of athletes: clinical and research perspectives. In: Burke L, Deakin V, eds. Clinical Sports Nutrition. 5th eds. p27–53.

Ellerbroek, A., Silver, T. (2015). A high protein diet composition in healthy trained men and women – a follow-up investigation. P12- 39

Reale R, Slater G, Burke LM. (2017).Individualised dietary strategies for Olympic combat sports: Acute weight loss, recovery and competition nutrition. Eur J Sport Sci. p727-740.

Slavin J., Carlson J., (2014) Carbohydrates, Advances in Nutrition, Volume 5, Issue 6, Pages 760–761.

Reale R, Burke LM, Cox GR, Slater G (2019).Body composition of elite Olympic combat sport athletes. Eur J Sport Sci. p147-156.

Thomas D., (2016). Nutrition and Athletic Performance, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Volume 48 - Issue 3 - p 543-568

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