If you have a wrestler at home you know that these guys need to eat. However, so often we find our wrestler needing to cut weight for a tournament. How do we find a balance between healthy food and the calorie intake a wrestler needs to keep going? I find the best way to keep my wrestler from running out of steam is to feed him healthy options, but often to keep him from feeling hungry. It is never a good idea to suddenly and drastically restrict calories or fast to drop weight as this can adversely affect performance. They may make weight at the tournament but they will be weak and not in top performing condition. During wrestling season we all eat a little healthier around our house. I usually try to pack his lunch for school. Often the choices offered by school cafeterias are too high carb/low protein to properly fuel a wrestler and help him cut weight. I also pack a light snack he can eat quickly before practice. His lunch will consist of a chicken breast, sweet potato, broccoli. His snack may be three to 4 ounces of lean turkey and an orange or a half cup of grapes. It is so important to have healthy snacks and meal options so as not to tempt our guys to stray from their goals and have to cut too much weight too quickly. A healthy diet is the key to keeping them from losing muscle and strength during wrestling season. Don’t allow too much weight gain during the off weeks and they won’t have to adopt unhealthy methods to drop weight before a tournament. This information is brought to you by www.highlandsfightgear.com, HWC's premier source of top wrestling supplies including shoes, knee pads, wrestling singlets and the coolest apparel.
The weekends during wrestling season are hectic for the wrestler and family alike. With wrestling, the tournaments are rarely close by and usually involve some time spent on the road traveling. Long distance traveling plus a long day in a hot gymnasium requires preparedness beyond your basic essentials. I try to pack healthy snacks for the day for myself and my wrestler. The concession stands rarely have food that is good for you, much less able to sustain an athlete for an entire day of wrestling, especially if he has to make weight again in a couple days. Plenty of water and healthy carbohydrates are essential for maintaining high energy levels required to wrestle well during the day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just pack a cooler with water, fruit, yogurt, some sandwiches and you are set. Other good items to include are bagels (cinnamon raisin, blueberry & other fruit flavored types are good), graham crackers, cereal bars, granola bars and different types of nuts or trail mix to snack on. Pack enough for you, anyone travelling with you, your wrestler and some of his friends. You will ultimately end up taking much of it home with you but it’s better to be prepared than not. Planning ahead with food will be healthier for both you and your wrestler. It is so much better than cold pizza and processed hot dogs that are in abundance at most tournaments! Keeping your wrestler well nourished will insure a much better day of wrestling and a much happier you at the end of the day! This nutritional information brought to you by www.highlandsfightgear.com.
Few wrestlers have the advantage of weighing in the night before their competition. Most professional fighters and weight lifters do this and it makes a huge difference in being able to fully replenish the body after an arduous weight cut. High school wrestlers often weigh in and then only get about an hour before they have to compete. This makes it very difficult to replenish the body completely enough to make the weight cut worthwhile. The trick is to give the body fast acting carbohydrates and water to quickly fill the muscles for an immediate upcoming performance. If you eat too little or the wrong foods, you will gas because your tank was still empty or you gave it junky fuel. If you eat too much, you will suffer with stomach cramps, bloating and even nausea from being too full. The nerves of getting ready to compete also play a big role in reducing/slowing digestion of food. This is the nervous system’s ‘fight or flight’ sympathetic reaction of your mind getting your body ready for battle. Adrenaline is being produced and blood is shuttled away from the digestive organs and into the muscular system. This is another reason to focus on easy to digest carbohydrates; clean, natural fuels like white rice, sweet potatoes, etc. Eat these foods in small amounts in regular intervals without over eating to avoid the stomach bloat. With such a short time in between weighing in and competing, it’s often hard to eat more than a couple times before your match but get as many in as possible without making yourself sick – this is where it takes discipline. Also eat small meals (depending on how full your stomach is) in between matches if you compete in more than one. This information is brought to you by www.highlandsfightgear.com.
Managing your body weight is as a part of wrestling as training is. After cutting weight, replenish the body with food carefully, keeping a close eye on your competition schedule. Manage your body weight, not letting yourself gain more than 8lbs. (10 at the most) so you won’t have to go through a frantic, difficult weight cut at the last minute. Trying to cut 7-8+ lbs. the night before a competition is mentally and physically stressful and is best avoided if possible. While some athletes are better at it than others, the chances of this process leaving you drained, weak and tired for the next day are high. It’s much better (safer and healthier) to drop weight slowly throughout the week whenever possible. If you have 8-10 lbs. to lose and you have 5 days to lose it, you can chip away at it by dropping weight when practicing and dieting throughout the week. After making weight, control yourself during the replenishment process so you don’t blow your bodyweight up to a number that will be hard to handle when getting ready for the next meet. If you’ve made your weight for a Saturday competition and it’s time to eat again so you can perform, don’t go to crazy with calories if you have to make weight again for an upcoming duel on Wednesday. If you replenish the body with clean foods (like rice, potatoes, fruits, etc.), you can have much more of them without doing harm to your bodyweight as compared to junk foods and fast food. For more information about performance nutrition, check out some of the articles posted on this website. This information is brought to you by www.highlandsfightgear.com.
If you have to make weight but you’re only a few pounds over, it’s a shame for your coach to pull the plug on you because he says you’re too dehydrated. While it’s common (and often necessary) to restrict your water intake the day of weigh ins if you’re one pound under or right at your weight. This is never a problem… as long as you’re not going into it already dehydrated. If you are, a good coach will recognize the problem and not let you cut until you’re out of the red zone. Wrestlers should never allow themselves to get dehydrated even the slightest bit as this will definitely cause a reduction in strength, speed, coordination and stamina on the mat. If you want to make it easy to drop water weight, the answer is to drink tons of water – all the time. You’re not going to be able to ‘float’ a pound overnight when you sleep if your body is craving water. If you’re even the slightest bit dehydrated, your body will tend to hold water when you drink it, making you heavier. On the other hand, if you’re constantly flushing the body with water by drinking it all the time, the kidneys will be constantly working and moving water. When you’re well hydrated, you can also get away with eating a bit more salt on your food. Salt is an important electrolyte that needs to be replaced after you sweat so hard during practice. If you’re dehydrated, you should also stay away from salt as it will be a double whammy for holding fluid. What’s the answer? Drink tons of water! Judge how much water you drink by the color of your urine. If you’re well hydrated, your urine should be clear. This nutrition tip is brought to you by www.highlandsfightgear.com.