If you are a jockey or light weight wrestler, boxer, or rower, you are probably not overweight. But you may have to cut weight to achieve a lower weight standard for your sport or else be denied permission to compete. Use the information here to help you lose weight healthfully. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to starve yourself.
If you are worried that strict dieting as a teenager will stunt your growth, note that you will catch up after the competitive season. Many wrestlers are short in stature not because of malnutrition but because of genetics. They tend to have short parents. Small people often select a low-weight sport because they are more suited for it than they are for football or basketball.
The first step to attaining your weight class is to get a realistic picture of how much weight you need to lose by getting your body fat measured (see chapter 13). If you don't have access to calipers or another means of measuring your percent body fat, give yourself the less professional pinch test. If you can pinch more than half an inch of thickness over your shoulder blade or hips, you can safely lose a little more weight.
The absolute minimal weight includes 5 percent fat for men and 12 percent fat for women. The minimum weight recommended for wrestlers commonly includes about 7 percent body fat. If possible, do not try to achieve a weight that will result in your having to starve yourself to lose muscle or dehydrate yourself to lose water weight. Achieving an unrealistic weight is difficult and can hurt rather than enhance your health and performance.
Second, start to lose weight early in the season or, better yet, before the start of the season. That way you'll have the time to lose weight slowly (0.5 to 1.0 pound [0.25 to 0.5 kg] per week) and more enjoyably. Your goal is to achieve and stay at your lowest healthy body-fat level.
To lose weight, follow the calorie guidelines outlined on pages 270 to 272. No matter how much weight you have to lose, do not eat less than that required to sustain your resting metabolic rate. Most athletes need to eat at least 1,500 calories of a variety of wholesome foods every day to prevent vitamin, mineral, and protein deficiencies. Do not eliminate any food group. During the day or two before the event, choose low-fiber foods to reduce the weight of intestinal contents and restrict salty foods to reduce water weight.
Remember that water is not extra weight. Your body stores the precious water in a delicate balance. If you disrupt this balance, you will decrease your ability to exercise at your best. Using diuretics, rubber suits, saunas, whirlpools, or steam rooms to dehydrate yourself is dangerous. And when replacing sweat loss after training sessions, note that sports drinks, soft drinks, and juices all have calories. Ration them wisely when refueling after exercise, then drink water the rest of the day.
To lose weight rapidly before an event is counterproductive. If you do, depleted muscle glycogen and dehydration will take their toll. The odds are against the starved wrestler who crash diets to make weight as compared with the well-fueled wrestler who routinely maintains or stays within a few pounds of his competition weight during training.
In a study of wrestlers who quickly lost about 8 pounds (4.5 percent of their body weight), the wrestlers performed 3.5 percent worse on a six-minute arm-crank test designed to be similar to a wrestling competition. These results suggest that rapid weight loss by athletes before competition may be a detriment rather than a competitive advantage (Hickner et al. 1991). Yet, if the athlete follows an aggressive refueling program after the weigh-in, drops in performance can be minimized (Slater et al. 2007). Choose high-carbohydrate, salty foods and drink lots of fluids. For example, enjoy juice and pretzels. Be careful, though, to consume only the amount you can comfortably tolerate.
Was this article helpful?
Make a plan If you want to lose weight, you need to make a plan for it. Planning involves setting your goals both short term and long term ones. With proper planning, you would be able to have an effective guide on the steps that you want to take, towards losing pounds of weight. Aside from that, it would also keep you motivated.