Most athletes believe their sport is very difficult, but try playing a sport while starving. Wrestlers have to be weighed and then, depending on their body’s composition, categorized into a specific weight class. The weight classes separate all the opponents so that they are equally paired. Wrestlers want to be the largest in their weight class to dominate over their competitors.
In order to be the largest in the class, the wrestlers have to weigh the most possible without crossing the maximum amount. To reach the goal for the weight class, the wrestlers adopt unhealthy and dangerous strategies. Wrestlers often want to lose that extra body fat to compete in a lower weight class with as much muscle as possible. The wrestlers cut down on eating and drinking multiple days before weigh-in. They get rid of water weight by drinking less water and “sweating it out.”
“You don’t need to starve yourself unless you’re above weight. If so, then you would just not eat and get rid of water weight the day before and the day of the weigh-in,” junior Dylan Zacca said. “To lose water weight just wear thick, heavy clothes that make you sweat and just keep running.”
The habits the wrestlers adopt causes them to lack nutrients and become very dehydrated. Forcing one to starve themselves and push out ounces of bodily fluids is detrimental to the athlete’s health. Some of the most common effects include organ damage and the eventual development of an eating disorder. After years of participating in the sport, the effects can easily pile up and only worsen the wrestler’s well-being. Dehydration combined with extreme caloric reduction can result in a loss of strength, muscular endurance, stamina and concentration.
“To lose water weight just wear thick, heavy clothes that make you sweat and just keep running.”
Wrestlers have used the same risky weight loss behaviors for years. The strategies may fulfill a short term standard; however, it is detrimental to them in the long run. Wrestlers could adopt new ways to lose weight and some have.
“I run 4.2 miles every night, so I will gradually lose the weight over a week,” junior Joey Riestra said. “I decrease the amount I consume during my meals.”
Wrestlers have destructive habits, but there are things that can help. Wearing thick clothes to “sweat it out” causes overheating and, when combined with the lack of water in the body, it can lead to dehydration as well. The wrestlers need to drink enough water to replace what they lose in practice and throughout the day.
Usually, the athletes fast the day before the and day of the meet. Instead of trying to lose weight in such a little window of time, the wrestlers should weigh themselves daily and make the necessary changes. The players should eat intermittently throughout the day on more nutritious, possibly lower calorie foods. Carbohydrates and protein are needed for athletic activities. The wrestlers should not cut this out of their diet if they want to perform at the best of their abilities.
Photo by Kayla Florenco