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How to Cut Weight For Wrestling!
Let’s take a look at the typical year for a wrestler. In the off-season, the wrestler is in the gym lifting weights. The workouts are intense. The wrestler eats normally, maintains muscles, and adding strength to her body. The wrestler may occasionally compete in a tournament or go to a wrestling camp. The wrestler learns more moves and skills, along with improved strength. Everything is good. Things are looking great for the upcoming season!
Then the season arrives. The wrestler decides to cut 15-20 lbs. to move to a lower weight class, where they will be big, strong, and ready for any competition. The wrestler eats very little, runs a lot (even with plastic suits on), sprays, uses saunas, etc. to make weight. The wrestler makes weight. The wrestler is having a good season, making weight every week, and binging after every match.
BUT THE WRESTLER FALLS SHORT OF HER POTENTIAL!
The wrestler doesn’t understand. He trains hard, really hard! He fell two weight classes, and makes weight every week. He drills after practice, and works as hard or harder than anyone else in the mat room. He doesn’t train during the season because he practices so much and doesn’t have the time or energy to train. Besides, all that hard work in the weight room in the off-season has made him really strong!
Or did it?
If you are cutting weight for wrestling, and want to be the BEST your potential will allow, make sure you:
1. Keep Up Your Strength Training
In the off-season you want to work to gain as much strength as possible. I recommend training 3 times every week in the weight room, working the muscles that are used for wrestling. Be consistent and document your progress. Always strive to add a little more weight or repetitions. In wrestling you have to STRENGTH TRAIN! You will not maintain strength in the off-season if you neglect training during the season. When youarecuttingweight,itisevenmoreimportanttocontinueyourstrengthtraining. When you cut weight, train and wrestle in dual meets and tournaments, your body uses its own muscle for food. You can avoid some of this by getting in a full body strength workout every 4-5 days.
2. Eat more often
Don’t starve your body to gain weight! When you starve your body, you slow down your metabolism. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. A calorie is a unit of energy. By starving yourself, you will cause a rebound effect, and you will have even more problems to make weight in the coming season. The answer lies in trying to lose fat, not muscle and water. You do this by eating more often. Four smaller meals each day will help you lose body fat while sparing muscle, giving you energy to wrestle hard and be strong throughout the match.
3. Give your body the right amount of calories
To find out how many calories your body needs to maintain muscle while cutting weight, take your current body weight, and multiply times 13. This is the minimum number of calories you should consume every day.
4. Eat a 40-30-30 Ratio
Now that you know how many calories you need to lose weight and maintain the muscle and strength you’ve built up, you need to eat the right ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fats. 40% of your calories should come from lean proteins (egg protein, turkey, lean beef, whey protein powder, skinless chicken). 30% of your daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates (multigrain bread, baked potato, sweet potato, brown rice, oatmeal), and 30% of your calories should come from unsaturated fat (olives, nuts). Usually you don’t need to figure in the fats other than a little bit of oil on a salad, because the meat you consume will have a small percentage of fat that is enough for the day.
5. Do not jog excessively if your goal is to make weight
Nothing is more grueling than a tough high school or college wrestling practice. You don’t have to get into the habit of jogging for miles and miles every week to lose weight. First of all, it won’t give you the endurance to wrestle like good old fashioned live wrestling in practice will. If you are trying to lose weight by jogging, you will start eating the muscles of your body. Aerobic activity is NOT an efficient means of losing fat. A controlled meal plan is the answer.
6. Don’t Dehydrate
To wrestle at your best, and make your body work efficiently, you need all body systems to work optimally. Every one of your body systems requires water. If you need to lose a few pounds to make weight after following the tips above, you will be limiting your water intake. However, limiting water intake is not the same as not drinking at all. You should still give yourself 3-4 ounces of water every 3 hours on days you are trying to make weight. Remember, this is to keep your strength up. You need to plan well to do this well. Do not weigh until two days before, and get drastically in your weight loss system.
7. Stay away from sugar
Wrestlers who cut weight by eating very little and jogging excessively tend to gain sugar. Sugar has no place in your wrestling meal plan. The only time my clients consume sugar is right after an intense strength training session. If you are within 3 or 4 lbs. of your weight class, you may want 60 grams or so of high glycemic carbohydrates (sugar) in the form of grape juice or apple juice within 20 minutes of your strength training session. This replenishes the body’s glycogen stores and aids in recovery. In general, stay away from sugars. They have no long-term positive effects on your energy. They are much more likely to be converted and stored as fat.
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