How to Minimize Cutting Weight
One aspect of wrestling that seems to be a necessary evil is cutting weight. Everybody does it in the sport even though no one actually likes doing it. Over the past decade, in the sport of wrestling, there have been some good rules put in place to lessen the amount of weight that a wrestler can cut which appears to have had an overall positive effect. At one point in time, although rare, wrestlers were literally dying from cutting weight. Even with the new weight guidelines, cutting weight is still part of westling, but there are ways to minimize the amount of weight a wrestler has to cut which will help them focus more on wrestling and winning matches instead of battling the scale each week.
One way a wrestler can minimize the amount of weight they have to cut during the season is to have a disciplined diet not only during the season but in the off season as well. It is very common for wrestlers to really thicken up during the off season. Many times a wrestler might be walking around in the summer 30lbs to 40lbs higher than the weight class they plan on wrestling the coming year. When this happens, it sets the season up for a huge battle to make weight. Now, it would be very difficult for most people to stay at their in season weight throughout the entire year, but by eating a disciplined healthy diet year round, instead of being 30lbs to 40lbs over during the summer, a wrestler might only be 10lbs to 20lbs over which is a lot more manageable.
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Another aspect of having a disciplined diet it is to eat clean during the season and not let yourself balloon up after matches or tournaments. When a wrestler makes weight for a Saturday tournament, then binge eats afterwards and comes to practice 20lbs over weight on Monday, that is a huge problem especially if there is a dual meet sometime soon.
Eating healthy both in and out of season will help to decrease the amount of weight cutting a wrestler will have to do. Plus, eating healthy will help provide better fuel for the body to recover after practice and workouts. So eating healthy is really a win win situation for wrestlers.
The reason a wrestler cuts weight is to try to be the biggest and strongest they can be at the lowest weight possible. So instead of focusing on losing weight, you can focus on maximizing your strength for your size. During the offseason, take strength training seriously. There are a lot of ways to get strong that doesn’t involve putting on excessive bulk. If you focus on maximizing strength for your size, you will not need to cut as much weight.
Change Your Mentality
One way to break the cycle of cutting a lot of weight is to change your mentality about it. A lot of wrestlers get into the mindset that for them to succeed out on the mat, it has to me at a certain weight, but this is not always the case. In reality, most weight classes are so close together, especially in high school, that going up a weight class is not that big of a deal. The difference between wrestling 140lbs and 145lbs is only 5lbs. Hold a five pound weight in your hand, it is not that much weight at all in reality, but for some reason wrestlers make it a much bigger deal in their heads.
Another mental aspect about weight cutting is you have to determine how much energy you are willing to put into cutting weight and if it is worth it to drop down another 5lbs to the next weight class. To use the same weight classes as an example, you might be happier, have more energy, and be able to focus better if you wrestle at 145 instead of 140.
At the end of the day, wrestling should be about wrestling, not cutting weight. Try to make it so during the season you are able to eat healthy and focus on winning matches not worrying about making weight. A good rule for most wrestlers is you should be within a couple pounds (2-3lbs) of weight after each normal practice. That way, when it comes time to make weight, it doesn’t drain all of your energy out of you before your match.
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