Cutting Weight

A few months ago, I got to thinking about the phrase “fighting weight.” If I were ever dumb enough to take my karate into the cage, what weight class would I enter? Right now, I wouldn’t have a choice: heavyweight. I once saw Andrei Arlovsky at a comic book convention, and I couldn’t believe how huge the guy was. At 6’4″, he’s got 8″ on me.

I would be killed by those towering monsters.

Light Heavyweight wouldn’t be much better, but hey, I decided it would be a good goal. 205 pounds is still a bit heavier than the 185 I walked around in when people called me skinny, but it’s a lot more attainable. I’ve been scribbling that number here and there a as a reminder when I examine my workout routines, and I think it’s helped. I’ve dropped about 13 pounds since this summer. As I write this my running has been derailed by a muscle injury in my back, but I hope to be back on the track in the next few days. Watching the graph of my daily weight tracking dip downward has been very inspirational.

This week, I found a new source of inspiration. A guy named Drew Manning started a program he calls Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit, and his story is going viral. The short version: he’s a fitness buff and personal trainer who decided to take six months off exercise and eat anything he wants (which, honestly, looks a lot like what most people eat), and then he will turn around and see what it takes to cut that weight. This Good Morning America interview will bring you up to speed.

He’s about two weeks from the end of the fattening up side, and he’s gained over seventy pounds. His before and current pictures are stunning in their difference, and it shows how crummy our diets can be. I experienced that kind of weight gain, though not in that short a time, and as I read his Month 5 in Review post, a lot of it felt familiar.

I can’t say his plan is a great idea. Morgan Spurlock had the same problem on a smaller scale in Super Size Me a few years back, and it took him quite a while to lose the weight. I also think it’s going to be a lot tougher than Drew thinks to get back into an exercise routine, because his body is just not going to be able to do the things he used to do. He’s going to have to rebuild his old habits and break the new bad ones, making it as tough mentally as it will be physically.

Back to the inspiration bit. No, I’m not going to gain weight. Obviously I’ve done that part already. But I’m going to watch closely during the next part of his plan and see what he does to cut the weight. He’s a bit bigger than I am, but looking at his pics and the general shape of him, I’d say I’m in a similar position: I’ve got muscle, but I’ve covered it up with a layer of insulation. I plan to compare my routines to his, compare results, and see where I can improve.

I already draw a lot of inspiration and ideas from magazines like Men’s Health and Muscle & Fitness, but a lot of their workout routines and plans are built for guys who are already in shape. Like most of us, Drew is going to have to start slow. I’d lay odds he can pull it off, but again, I’m interested in seeing how long it takes and how difficult it will be.

In the meantime, I’ll be putting together a more detailed regimen for myself. The running will be about the same, but I feel like I need some more planning in handling the days between the running. That will make it a lot easier to compare my routine to Drew’s, as well as help introduce a little more variety in my workouts versus the “What do I feel like doing today?” problem.

Whether it’s specific karate drills and exercises, running, or weight lifting, it’s all going to be about cutting weight. I’m visualizing it like a weigh-in before a fight: I don’t make that fighting weight, I don’t get to fight. If I were a pro, if I can’t fight I won’t get paid.

205 pounds. I’ve got a ways to go, but I best make it happen so those towering monsters don’t tear me apart.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Noah L says:

    Good luck with reaching Light Heavyweight, Mike! I’d like to reach Welterweight, myself, although I’ve been stuck at Middleweight for a couple years.

    • Mike says:

      I haven’t been at welterweight since my freshman year of high school. I floated around 171, but they made me wrestle in the 189 class.

      • Noah L says:

        I was Light Heavyweight throughout high school, then dropped down to about 165 thanks to two years at the dojo, After I moved out here and started focusing on Judo I went back up to about 175 due to muscle gain, but my metabolism has slowed way down and I can’t get to the dojo as much as I did before moving here, so I’m back up around 185 right now. Believe me when I say that I only look skinny when I have a shirt on–my height is deceptive.