Preparing for a lower weight class or getting ready for the upcoming season requires you to cut weight for more or less 15-20 pounds. Considering this, you’ll more likely intake less food and water, and spend more time in the weight room.
However, after all, you’re still not losing weight! Why? You’re not doing it right. When cutting down weight for wrestling, you should make sure that you’re doing the following.
Eating more Frequently
You probably think of not eating to lose weight. However, recent research has shown that starvation is one of the factors that leads to low metabolic rate, which will eventually cause weight gain. Considering this idea, you’ll more likely have a rebound effect if you’ll starve yourself. How? Let’s have a recap.
Metabolism is a chemical process where your body will burn a unit of energy called calories. When you starve your body, your system will automatically protect your body by slowing down your metabolism. Having a low metabolic rate means your calories are hanging in your body, causing unwanted weight gain.
Your body senses that there’s no more food coming so your system intuitively counters. It may think this way: ‘it seems like my owner isn’t feeding me my needs, so I have to slow down my metabolic rate and save calories for the next day.’ In other words, starvation prompts your body to reserve fats store as a mood of survival.
Instead, try to cut down your calorie intake rather than eating nothing at all. You have to lose fat, not water nor muscles. What you should do then is to eat more but less. For instance, take four smaller servings daily. This approach will get rid of those unwanted body fats while sparing muscle mass and function and getting stronger to wrestle during an entire match well.
Ultimately, here’s how you figure out the minimum number of calories you need to consume daily. Take your recent weight then multiply it by 13. It’s as simple as that. The difficult part is to maintain this calorie intake. You have to be sure that you’re taking a sufficient amount of calories to lose only your extra fats but not your muscles.
The 40-30-30 (Protein, Carbs, Fats) Ratio
We’ve taken note that while we’re in the process of weight loss, we shouldn’t lose the muscles we’ve built up. To be able to do so, we have to have a proper ratio of macronutrients, namely protein, carbohydrates, and fats. These nutrients play an important role in your development and normal growth, so your body often requires to have a large amount for each of them.
The ratio should be 40-30-30, which is your daily intake for calories, carbohydrates, and protein, respectively. Let me elaborate further:
- Take 40% of your calories from lean proteins
- Take 30% of your calories from complex carbohydrates
- Take 30% of your calories from unsaturated fats
The following are the healthy food sources to complete your 40-30-30 diet plan:
- Lean protein (40%). Lean proteins are typically from egg whites, skinless chicken, turkey, or lean beef. You may also get it from whey protein powders but be sure to choose the healthier and better one. You can check reviews on barbend.com.
- Complex carbohydrates (30%). Complex carbohydrates are food sources like whole grains and vegetables that take some time to be digested. Some of these are oatmeal, multi-grain bread, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
- Unsaturated fats (30%). Unsaturated fats are one of the healthier forms of dietary fats. You may take them from nuts and olive oil. Wondering how to measure 30% from, let’s say, olive oil? You don’t need to spend too much time thinking about it. A bit of oil, maybe 2-3 drops, on your salad would suffice for the day because the lean meat alone has a small percentage of fats.
Keep Hydrating Yourself
One study published in the Turkish Journal of Sport and Exercise has shown that dehydration is one of the primary health concerns in the weight loss of the most wrestlers. For as little as 1-2% loss of normal water volume in your body, a wrestler’s muscle endurance declines.
What’s more, this consequence is relatively associated with adverse changes in cardiovascular responses. Specifically, doing heavy wrestling exercises while dehydrated can lead to heatstroke, extreme muscular cramps, or swollen brain that can cause hypovolemic shock and seizures.
One of the ways to determine dehydration is through simply checking your urine color. Most of the time, colorless urine indicates hydration, whereas an apple juice-like dark color indicates dehydration. Needless to say, consult a medical expert to get a more professional result and advise.
It’s clear-cut: don’t cut off water intake to lose weight. It’s okay to follow a restrict water intake, which is recommended by other trainers. However, this plan doesn’t mean you’re not going to hydrate yourself at all. You still have to drink up ounces of water every three hours. Remember, you have to keep stronger as a wrestler and water aids you to achieve this.
In general, dehydration leads to a decline in your endurance, strength, and mental alertness. This is because every part of your body system requires water. Taking this into consideration, you have to drink water so your body can work efficiently and optimally to wrestle at your best.
Off-season doesn’t mean you’re not going to indulge in training. That’s the last thing you should do. Instead, gain more strength as much as possible. While recuperating or under rehabilitation, ‘safely’ (meaning ask advice from your trainer and attending physician) do strength training and focus on the body parts that are functional in a wrestling match.
This strength training is even more necessary when cutting weight. It allows you to burn a huge amount of calories, which both happens during and after the workout. Remember that starvation causes slow metabolism and leads to gain weight. As this workout continuously maintain and enhance your musculoskeletal system, your metabolism will gradually improve.