The first question I always get about squatting 800, 900 and now 1,000 pounds is “Man what does that feel like?” The best way I know how to describe it is just a whole lot of squish! The biggest difference for me is that my balance gets much harder to keep, especially when thicker squat bars start whipping around due to the narrower space I cover under the bar than other 1,000+ squatters. However it doesn’t really matter how much a person squats, 100% intensity weights are a whole lot of squish for anyone that’s been lifting for long at all. In reality though, who really cares about my feelings? You just want to know the formula of how to do it right?
It’s Saturday, 1 full week before my meet where I’m planning to lift in the 198lb class. I step on the scale after a light breakfast and BAM 221lbs pops up. My only thought here is “Ugh....” I increased my carbohydrates significantly the previous 5 weeks to combat the accumulated fatigue that happens during a meet peaking/over reaching micro cycle.
Saturday protocol AM weight 221lbs (1 week out)
Dread and Anxiety all day (this is going to suck a lot)
Sunday morning the process begins! No carbohydrates today and only water to drink. Meals consist of protein, healthy fats and greens. Still seasoning my food normally.
Sunday AM weight 220lbs
Beginning of 5 days without carbs
Monday morning my weight is down a bit from the lack of carbs and the fun part begins. Water and salt loading protocol begins. Running to pee every half hour mixes well with having class and coaching in my sport performance graduate program schedule.
Monday AM weight = 215lbs
3 gallons of water
7 packets of iodized salt
Protein healthy fats and greens
Tuesday was more of the same from Monday but the body has already began releasing the hormones that regulate fluid to return the body back to homeostasis. Still peeing every half hour and still taking salt packets to the face.
Tuesday AM weight = 213lbs
3 gallons of water
7 packets of iodized salt
Protein healthy fats and greens
Wednesday is almost looked forward to because I get to pitch the water jug aside eventually.
Still eating regularly but today I say goodbye to flavor, no salt today. All water on Wednesday moves to distilled to reduce the amount of minerals and anything that could bond to a water molecule in the body. Food and water are both cut off today and the last 8-10 ounces of water I drink are preceded by a bottle of Magnesium Citrate to clear all the “dead weight” in the GI tract. Best not to do this within a
day or so of weigh ins, especially if you stopped eating before, you can get the residual effect of the laxative after you weigh in making reconstitution a nightmare. I don’t use diuretics but if you were going to take them this would also be the time. Lots of peeing and bathroom trips occurring the rest of the day.
Wednesday AM weight = 212lbs
1.5 gallons Distilled water
Normal meals to 2 pm
Magnesium Citrate at 3pm with the last 8-10 ounces of water
Thursday is a day of nothing, no food, no water, no energy etc. I walked around on campus the entire day with 4 layers of clothes on. It wasn’t an overly hot day or anything so the effect wasn’t great.
Started the more intense sweating process about 7pm in the gym sauna and left around 10pm with a half hour in and a half hour out. In retrospect 20 in and 20 out would’ve been better honestly.
Thursday AM weight = 207lbs
0 calorie diet
(casein pudding would be a good idea on this day)
Friday Morning I woke up at 2:15am and continued to cut weight in my bath tub through hot baths through 7:30am. Time periods were 20 in and 20 out of the bath, dumping boiling water back into the tub when I got back in to keep temperature up as the hot water heater didn’t have the punch I had hoped for. Also remember to plug up any overflow drains in the tub that you would happen to use while using this method or you won’t be able to fill up the tub to an appropriate level. The goal here is to submerge your body as deep as possible, covering the neck but still be able to breathe well.
Friday 2:15 AM weight = 200lbs
around 220 minutes total in hot baths
Friday 9AM Official Meet Weigh in = 194lbs
So now comes the part I’m typically not the best at, putting the weight back on. Somewhat conveniently my best squats in training were when I was around 215lbs so this was my goal to get back to. If I were competing raw the goal would obviously be to weigh as much as possible but in equipped lifting there are a plethora of extra variables to account for making it the unique sport that it is. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the complexity of it.
My goal for reconstitution is to keep my fats very low for the first 4 to 5 hours to keep insulin response high (insulin sensitivity is drastically higher due to week long carb drought) and to keep digestion moving along smoothly. A 1:1 ration of Gatorade to water is preferred with sodas thrown in as well. A soda with water as soon as you step off the scales will get things going pretty quickly.
Past this 4-5 hour post weigh in window, I try to get a nap in around 2pm for 45 minutes or so and then begin the “free for all” portion of putting the weight back on. A party sized bag of Tostitos nachos with salsa is consumed with a gallon of Gatorade and a gallon of water sitting next to me to be consumed.
Friday PM Weight = 214lbs
Meet day! I woke up at 211lbs which was a few pounds under I wanted to be. Gear fit pretty loose and the meet site was in a big metal building in which we all roasted in, not very optimal for strength especially after a big cut. I ate enough and drank enough to certainly get to 215 by the time I started warming up but sweating like crazy took its toll. My gear was looser than it had been all training cycle but you play the cards you have in your hand the best you can.
My squat flight was just 8 people deep which made for super short rest breaks. This was accelerated even more because everyone else in my flight was lifting raw. My opener 915 was given whites and very easy, partially because it was a touch high but it still gave me confidence. 1,000 unracked pretty well on my 2nd shoes began to fail structurally. My heels were halfway slid off the soles of my chucks by the time I hit depth which made it a tight rope act to stand up without pushing out of my shoes completely. I overcame all kinds of problems with my second so I felt confident to jump to 1060 for a world record attempt at 198. I pushed and my legs locked out under the bar but
I went absolutely nowhere. Carpet stretched out and my shoes completely folded over! Pretty lame attempt result and I felt terrible for wasting the spotters and loaders time with it but what can you do? Due to the dehydration on meet day I escaped the rest of the meet with just my openers of 515 bench and 655 deadlift due to shoulder pain and my left hip subluxating on my second deadlift attempt. I cut my losses and passed on all third attempts.
When I came home after eating, I weighed myself and I was 211lbs. This after drinking a gallon of water with salt, eating between lifts and a meal after the meet. That’s about 10lbs of sweat during meet day! Like I said before, not conducive in these circumstances but it worked out ok. Very big thanks to Rudy Rosales at Overkill Strength Equipment for supplying me with the best equipment available in the game today. There really isn’t a substitute for the expertise and custom fit you get with Overkill gear. Thanks to all my training partners at Peak Fitness in Johnson City who keep me from death regularly, the support of the crew at RP and my awesome wife who was also cutting weight with me the entire week, fixed my meals for me even though she was feeling like crap too, stayed by to make sure I was ok while I was sweating out my last several pounds and is generally my strength when I feel weak.