As high school wrestling season quickly approaches, that familiar sense of apprehension about making weight looms in the air. Having been a Pennsylvania wrestler myself, I understand the dread all too well.
However, with a few simple adjustments and by avoiding common pitfalls, you can avoid the agony of staring at a plate of ice chips while everyone else enjoys Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Perhaps the most prevalent mistake is procrastinating. Waiting until just 1-2 weeks before your first competition to start cutting weight is a recipe for trouble. As the first tournament approaches, team practices will intensify, and if you’re simultaneously drastically reducing your calorie intake and water, your body will resist the change. The typical response is to further reduce calories and water, turning the night before the first tournament weigh-in into a grueling ordeal that can set the tone for the entire season.
We strongly recommend starting your weight management plan at least a month before the first competition to avoid this unnecessary stress.
Hydration Is Key
Staying properly hydrated is crucial. Surprisingly, many high school wrestlers struggle to pass the hydration test during weight certifications. We advise you to condition your body to consume at least one gallon of water per day, supporting your training and recovery.
Ideally, the only time you should cut back on water is the day before weigh-ins.
“Healthy eating” isn’t enough; it’s about eating the right way. Understanding the precise amount you should be eating and fine-tuning your macronutrient intake can be the difference between a season of hardship and one that runs smoothly with flexibility.
Time and time again, our wrestlers have discovered that by getting their nutritional approach right, they can consume nearly twice the amount of food while shedding weight more effectively and easily.