Weight classes are a part of wrestling. Although they are intended to make competition safer and more fair, they have the side effect of motivating many wrestlers to starve themselves in the days before a match. For wrestlers in this situation, the hours between weigh-in and competition mean mealtime has come at last. What those wrestlers choose to eat will make a difference to their performance on the mat.
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A Vanderbilt University study found that more than 75 percent of wrestlers who cut weight included dehydration among their weight-loss techniques. If you eat foods high in water, you can improve your hydration level while you fill your belly and load in calories. Fruits and vegetables are very high in water by volume -- though some people are sensitive to eating too much fruit on an empty stomach.
Carbohydrates are the body's emergency food supply. They break down quickly, flooding your body with needed calories faster than most other foods. Some good carbohydrate choices include pastas, breads, and noodle soups.
Carbohydrates provide fast energy, but the energy can leave you just as fast. By combining your carbohydrate load with some proteins, you can prevent an energy drop as the carb calories leave your system. Too much protein can sit heavy in your gut, as can fatty or greasy proteins like bacon or fast food burgers. Cold cuts or a simple chicken breast are examples of proteins that can provide a wrestler with lasting energy without the accompanying grease.
It's not just what you eat, it's also how you eat it. If you eat your post-weigh-in meal in great gulps, you risk an upset stomach that may reject your meal during competition. Instead, you should eat whatever you choose in small bites, chewing each thoroughly. If you feel full, stop eating for a while before starting to eat again. The same is true for rehydrating. You should sip your drinks, and wait between swallows -- even if it's hard because of how long you denied yourself before weighing in.
- Long Island Wrestling: Optimal Recovery for Wrestlers: After Weigh In and During Tournaments; Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., et al
- "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy;" Walter Willett; et. al; 2005