Alright, while cutting weight isn’t really the focus of this blog, it is an important part of wrestling. And since I’m a proponent of educating yourself in an effort to maximize your performance, I figured I’d tackle some of the common questions I get.
On a quick side note- I decided to include a picture from my most recent weigh in a couple of weeks ago which was the first time I made 145 after fighting at both 170 and 155 for my previous 6 fights. The only reason I put it up is to better show that I practice what I preach…and the ring girls aren’t too hard on the eyes either (which may end up brightening your day if you’re currently cutting weight)!
There are a number of issues to tackle when it comes to getting your weight down so I’m going to take them in order of importance.
Get Your Diet Under Control
Listen, as you probably know, there’s only so much weight you can cut.
My water cut didn’t go according to plan my last cut (we think due to the fact that I had a cold and major congestion all week and that I didn’t drop my carbs enough).
So I ended up having to cut 12 pounds from my morning weight until I stepped on the scale at 6:30 that evening at 145.8.
As you may have guessed, it wasn’t a very fun time.
But whatever, I had to do it so I got it done.
By the time I was done, I probably didn’t have much more to dehydrate out of me. I was starting to have some inner ear issues, I obviously had really bad dry mouth, and my eyes actually felt really dry; something I’ve never felt before.
Fortunately it’s a day before weigh in, so I had plenty of time to rehydrate; something you, as a wrestler, do not have the luxury of.
So anyway, back to the point- there’s only so much your body will let you dehydrate.
On top of that, because you have such a limited time to rehydrate, it’s probably in your best interest to stay as regimented with your eating as possible so that you can avoid dehyrating excessively.
A great resource to get you started on ways to improve your diet is my Wrestling Nutrition post.
In terms of putting together a meal plan to follow here are some tips:
1. Slower digesting foods farther from practice.
This will provide more of a sustained source of fuel for you during the day and keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.
My daily breakfast is my Super Yogurt Pudding!
Wow, sounds fancy and delicious, right??
Anyway, right now I’m not measuring my food since I don’t have to make weight again until January 25, but I’d estimate it to contain the following: 1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt, 4 tablespoons organic peanut butter (doesn’t need to be organic, I’m just a dirty hippie), and 1 scoop of Chocolate Pro Blend by Heavy Athletics Nutrition.
It makes a nice, chocolate-peanut butter pudding that is packed with slow burning protein and fat.
Not only does it provide 2 great sources of protein but also a slow burning fat which keeps me feeling full for a very long time.
My breakfast choice is by no means the answer to your dieting concerns. But it is certainly better than a bowl of sugary cereal, and works well for me (a big theme when designing your wrestling nutrition plan).
2. Faster digesting foods around practice/workouts.
For more immediate fuel and faster replenishment after practice or a workout you’ll want to ingest foods that digest at a faster rate.
Typically that means starchy foods, some fruits, and faster digesting proteins. You’ll want to stay away from fibrous carbs (veggies, slower digesting fruits like apples, and in my case, Ezekial bread).
While there are a lot of great options to eat before practice, it’s important that you find what works best for you.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t exactly follow this tip very well.
For example, I will start my day with the Yogurt Pudding I mentioned above and within 2-2.5 hours I’ll have my first workout.
After that I usually eat 3 slices of Ezekial toast with Coconut Oil (very slow digesting carb coupled with fat, which digests slowly too) and honey along with a Vanilla Pro Blend protein shake.
I’ll then rest for a couple of hours before starting my next workout, after which I usually have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Ezekial.
In addition to the slow burning fat from the peanut butter and slow burning carbs from the Ezekial bread, I usually use low sugar jelly; so I don’t really do a super good job of replenishing my glyogen stores during the most opportune times.
Anyway, while the timing of my meals in relationship to my workouts is something I need to work on, I’ve found that it seems to fuel me consistently well.
I don’t suffer from the dips and spikes in blood sugar that are oftentimes associated with high carbohydrate, fast digesting meals; something that plagued me regularly when I was a pudgier, out of shape powerlifter.
So I guess this kind of supports the idea I’m trying to convey that it’s really about finding what works best for you and that these are only guidelines/suggestions.
3. Stay Consistent
The biggest thing that I think leads to the most problems with wrestlers is consistency between weigh-ins.
This past week was certification week around NYS and of course, the wrestlers I train were all working hard to get their weight down.
You know the drill- not eating coupled with drinking just enough water to maintain pee that doesn’t look like Apple Juice all while at the same time worrying that it’s “putting on too much weight.”
And then once they all were finished with the process, the eating began.
One of the wrestlers I train who’s going for his 3rd NYS Championship had a full sub, can of Pringles, package of cookies, and one other thing (I can’t remember it all when he listed it off, but it was a ridiculous amount of both food and calories).
Another one of the guy’s went to 3-4 different restaurants throughout the afternoon and evening to get his favorites at each.
I know it’s part of the “ritual” and I too did similar things after certifications.
But it’s huge swings in calorie consumption like those which lead to inconsistencies with your metabolism, your body’s ability to properly digest and utilize food as energy, and general bloating and water retention (which when done in between weigh-ins that are only a couple days apart which will lead to an increase in difficulty in getting your weight down for the next match).
I know it’s hard to maintain your weight.
But honestly which is more painful- not eating a brownie at lunch or losing an important match in front of your friends, family, and teammates?
Listen, only you can make the decision as to whether or not you want to commit to your nutrition plan.
But let me tell you from personal experience- getting my diet under control has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
I recover better.
I feel better.
I lose weight easily when I need to.
I have great, consistent energy throughout the day.
The list can go on; and I’m sure when you eat consistently good you feel the same way.
And if you’re having trouble recalling times when you ate consistently well how well you felt, instead just think of how you felt after all the indulgences on Thanksgiving…