Cutting weight for wrestling is notorious these days. It is like the crazy cousin no one wants to talk about in the family. There have been numerous attempts by the governing bodies of wrestling to stifle cutting weight. There is good reason for this. When an uninformed person takes it to the extreme, bad things always happen. Wearing a plastic suit in a sauna while working out is always extremely dangerous and you could die, as some have in the past. However there are cutting weight methods that are effective, needed, and most importantly safe.
Cutting weight and losing weight are not interchangeable terms
When you are cutting weight it is for a very short amount of time, and you are taking liquids out of your body. It is not real weight. The four pounds you lose during practice is water weight. It is simply the amount of water you sweated out of your body during that time. Of course you are burning calories but not enough to merit a true four pound weight loss in two hours. You would have to burn around 14,000 calories when in actuality you are probably burning about 1,000 to 2,000. Those calories will add up over the weeks and turn to true weight loss eventually.
Cutting weight and weight loss complement each other. The better your eating habits are, the less weight you will have to cut. On the other hand you don’t want to be fully hydrated at your wrestling weight. Cutting a few pounds of water before a match is good strategy because you have time to put that water back in you after weigh-ins. Also if you are fully hydrated and cut a few pounds, you will still have plenty of water in your body to wrestle your six or seven minute match. And as soon as you can, hydrate completely.
Cutting Weight Methods/Tips:
-Go from a full tank of water in your body to half a tank as the WRESTLER’S DIET points out (During my senior season, when I was fully hydrated I weighed about 148 pounds. The final seven pounds would be the weight I cut to make 141. I did it for a very short time before weigh-ins, typically no more than 12 hours.)
-Never try to cut more than 5% of your body weight (If you weigh 150, that’s 7.5 lbs) and after weigh-ins hydrate yourself.
-With good eating habits you will never have to cut more than 5% of your body weight.
-Always stay hydrated for as long as you can
-Never wear a plastic suit/rubber suit/solar suit, sweats (except during the warm-up) or use a sauna (I recommend shorts, a compression shirt [Under Armour-type material] and a tee-shirt which you constantly change once it is sweaty. I normally went through about four or five each practice.
-If the weigh-in is the next morning go to bed a pound over and your body should “float” the weight while you sleep. I typically worked out until I was on weight that night then drank a pound of water before bed to help me sleep.
-I would not recommend cutting weight or even losing weight for wrestling until your senior year of high school. And even then it’s really not needed. If you just worried about wrestling during high school and not what weight you had to go you would be much better off when it was time for college wrestling and beyond.
The truth is that cutting weight has always been and will always be a part of wrestling.
It is an aspect of the sport that you have to learn to master especially at the highest levels. The principles of cutting weight I laid out above are a great starting point.