For this entry, we will focus on IBJJF type competition, where you weight in with your gi on before the start of your division.
Competition can be a very stressful time on its own but when you factor in weight divisions, weight cuts and weight in’s, it brings competitions to a whole new level. From when I was a white belt, I competed in three different weight classes, before I figured out the ideal weight class for me. I didn’t drop any weight or change my diet for my first tournament. I was at the very bottom of the light weight division, size and weight. I decided to make a conscious diet change. I cut alcohol, deserts, and nachos and I easily made the feather division. When I received my blue belt, I wanted to optimize my weight to strength ratio by taking my diet much more seriously. I successfully compete at light feather. It is much more work but worth it on competition day.
As a new white belt competitor, this question of what weight category should you be in can be very stressful, especially if you have never cut weight before. My advice to a new white belt is don’t go to crazy with the weight cut. At this point, you don’t want the additional stress of weight cutting/hydration for the first time. The white belt division is a very heterogenous pool, from new white belts to very experienced white belt competitors, this is the time to feel the field. If you didn’t choose the right weight category, it’s not a big deal, change your diet and try again.
The more you compete, the better you get, and have a much better understanding of how your body reacts leading up to a competition. Furthermore, as you grow through the ranks, your weight division becomes more and more important, especially for the bigger competitions, you definitely want to be at your optimal weight to strength ratio.