Tip #1: Eat the Right Amount of Protein
The muscles in your body is where the energy you get from your food goes. They are what moves you on the wrestling mat and allows you to do the physical things that you do; your muscular system is where your metabolism lives. On a reduced calorie diet (when weight is reduced), the body is forced to rely on energy stores because you are no longer fueling it with enough gas to go. This is in the form of body fat and glycogen (stored carbohydrates/sugar) in the muscle cells. When glycogen runs out, the body turns to body fat and then protein to burn for energy. Since muscles are made of protein, if you don’t eat enough dietary protein when you’re losing weight, your body will use its own muscle tissue to fuel itself. This will not only make you weaker and perform poorly on the mat, but it will also cause some kind of temporary damage to your metabolism.
This is why eating protein while losing weight is so important, but it’s not the end of the story; you must eat the right amount for it to be effective. This is calculated by a simple body fat test that will not only indicate your body fat percentage, but also your lean body mass. To avoid losing muscle on a low-calorie diet, you should eat at least as much protein (in grams) as your calculated lean body mass. Given the excessive amount of exercise wrestlers engage in daily during training, you should also add 10-15 grams of protein (in addition to your lean body mass number) to aid recovery and prevent overtraining. For example, at 145 lbs. wrestler who has a lean body mass measurement of 138 pounds. you should eat between 150-160 grams of protein per day. Once he has established his daily protein requirement, he controls his weight loss by manipulating the amount of carbohydrates he eats per day.
Tip #2: Load up on your calories from the start
The best way to reduce body weight and keep performance levels high is to reduce body fat and water weight, while maintaining muscle mass. After establishing the correct amount of protein to eat, the best way to do this is to minimize fat in the diet and choose only clean, natural carbohydrates as the main source of calories. Most of your carbs should be starches like rice, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal first with breads and pastas as secondary options. Mix fibrous carbohydrates, like green leafy vegetables, with the starches you eat in as many meals as possible. In addition to breakfast, eat 1 or 2 servings of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or green beans at each meal. Keep in mind that corn, peas, and beans can be eaten, but they are treated like starches and should not be counted as fibrous vegetables when it comes to weight loss. Fruits can be eaten, but if your goal is body fat loss, fruit should be eaten in limited quantities in the first part of the day.
For the easiest and best weight loss, stagger your calories from highest to lowest starting with the first part of your day. In other words, breakfast is the largest meal of the day, meal two is the next largest, meal three is even smaller, and meal four and five (if you eat that many) are just protein and vegetables. Staggering your calories in this way turns your body into an extremely efficient machine. After a couple of days of eating like this, you’ll go hungrier and hungrier at night and starve for breakfast, which works well since it’s your biggest meal of the day. Eating all of your starches in the first half of your day will load your body with plenty of fuel for after-school training sessions. Eating the fewest calories at night will leave your stomach empty before bedtime, which precedes the 8+ hour fast your body goes through when you sleep.
Tip #3: Water Charge
Water is an essential nutrient for every fighter. If it gets even a little dehydrated, performance suffers. As much as wrestlers sweat in practice, they must constantly force out water to avoid dehydration. Moving water out of the body is also an essential part of losing weight, since you lose mostly water. If you drink too little water and the body is on the verge of dehydration, it will try to retain what water it does have instead of losing it. Conversely, if you constantly increase the amount of water you take in over a short period of time, urination will also increase to pass the water. This is the principle used in a method called water loading. Water loading is simply loading drinking water 3-4 days before weigh-in and then cutting it off just before weigh-in. Water loading is an effective natural diuretic method, however it should be done in moderation. The amount of water you accumulate depends on the size of the athlete; however, trying to drink 3-4 gallons of water in a day is NOT a smart practice and can lead to injury. Most athletes get the best effect by stocking up to 1-2 gallons a day.
Is that how it works. If you weigh in on Friday at 4:00 pm, start your water load on Tuesday. On Tuesday, start increasing the amount of water you are drinking to get at least ¾ to 1 gallon throughout the day. On Wednesday, try to drink more than a gallon of water. On Thursday, try to drink more than a gallon of water until your last meal of the day. After your last meal on Thursday and until your weigh-in on Friday, limit your water intake to sips only when needed. By dramatically increasing the amount of water you drink, it acts as a natural diuretic and the body will begin to urinate much more frequently. After Thursday night’s water restriction, the body will continue to urinate as it has all week, dropping several pounds of water weight until the weigh-in. After weighing yourself, drink at least 16+ oz. to replace what was lost in this process. As you drink as much water throughout the week, you will notice that you will also lose more water weight during practices. This method is safe and easy to do and also ensures that you will not come close to dehydration.