At last night's session, Sarah asked who determines the correct weight for an athlete, the coach or the athlete. The answer is that it should involve a discussion between both coach and athlete.

The athlete will have a sense of what weight they want to be in and the coach should have a good sense of what is both optimal and practical.

In general, judokas like to cut weight for competition. The thinking is that if they cut weight, they will still be able to retain their strength but they will be fighting in a lower weight class.

Because of the prevalence of such thinking, everybody cuts weight and so just to be of equal strength as your competitors, you have to cut weight. That is why there is a lot of weight cutting in judo.

But there are exceptions. Kayla Harrison is a very good example. When she was a teenager, she struggled to make the -63kg weight class. Her natural weight was around 68kg or 69kg but at -70kg was her teammate Ronda Rousey, who at the time, was a better player. So, she couldn't compete at -70kg.  She felt she had to go down to -63kg.

Jimmy Pedro Sr, her coach at the time, decided she should move all the way up to -78kg. This seemed like a big jump but what that did was it gave her room to develop strong muscles (which adds weight to your body). And she didn't have to diet for competitions. She was able to eat and be healthy at all times, while others are busy starving and dehydrating themselves.

That strategy obviously worked. She is a World Champion and double Olympic Champion.

In general, I don't like athletes cutting too much weight. Someone like Sarah, who is 49kg should obviously fight at -48kg. But that means cutting only 1kg, which is very doable. It won't involve that much suffering.

Actually, if she is fighting at -48kg, her ideal weight should be around 51 or 52kg and when competition comes around, she cuts down to -48kg. That should be the way.

For someone like Kang, who is 61kg, the common advice would be to cut down to -57kg. But I think that would be a mistake. Already she is quite slim and doesn't have a lot of weight to shed. To make -57kg, she would have to diet all the time, and therefore be miserable all the time. A better strategy would be to compete at -63kg. That means bulking up to about 66kg and cutting down to -63kg when competition comes around. Then she would be a very strong player. And, she can afford to eat properly.

As a rule of thumb, it's not a good idea to cut too much weight. You will be always hungry and lacking in energy during training. It's not worth it and in fact, it's counter-productive. It's much better to be strong and fit at your natural weight.

When you have proper nutrition and have high energy levels, you can do judo much better and therefore enjoy your judo much more. This is important for sustainability.