I’m going to make a broad generalization here: most, if not all female competitors know that it is more difficult for a woman to rapid lose, or “cut” weight than a man. I have made this assertion many times, and many other female competitors have agreed with me, but I never really found (honestly, I never seriously looked) for empirical evidence to back up this claim.
Jon Gelber, M.D. wrote an article for Sherdog regarding female MMA fighters and cutting weight, and in addition to providing a better explanation behind why it is more difficult (I usually just say something to the effect of “stupid hormones”) he cites a study in which they create a weight cutting situation, and then test the explosive strength of men and women. It was interesting to note for women, even after rehydration, their explosive strength was less than pre-cut levels, and appeared to have a direct relation to the percentage of weight loss. You can find the article Gelber cites here.
So what’s the best course of action? Really, you know what works best for your body/schedule/etc. but personally I would recommend a slower weight loss program with more time between the start date and the day of the tournament. That’s pretty much what I did for Abu Dhabi Pro Trials and I felt pretty good leading right up to the tournament. Granted, I got (just a little) weird a few days before the tournament because I was worried I was going to unknowingly sabotage myself somehow, but for the most part I felt pretty strong and good to go. So, again, do what works best for you, but if you are not sure what approach to take in terms of weight loss for a tournament, take this as an argument for taking a slower, in my opinion healthier strategy.
Aaaand here’s Day 11 of the 12 Days of Judo: Suma Gaeshi. Enjoy!