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Can Wrestlers Rapidly Cut Weight Safely?

The dangers of rapid weight loss, and its prevalence in the wrestling community have been studied and taught for decades. While the strict enforcement of weight class requirements is at the core of this issue, the federation which oversees them—the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)—is the same one that regulates them. Just as strictly as weight must be met to compete, the way that wrestlers achieve their target weight is attentively monitored.

Rapid weight loss through any means is unhealthy. Some of the most popular ways in which wrestlers drop pounds for competition—rapid dehydration, for example—can even be life threatening. If spending hours in a hot sauna and refusing to drink water is the best option for you to hit weight, then you’re efforts are too far gone. The reality may be unpopular, but it is unavoidable: the only way to safely make weight on a consistent basis is to prepare and execute a meticulous plan. That said, here are some of the safest ways to lose weight and make weight ahead of your meets.

Healthy ways for wrestlers to cut weight before weigh-in

  1. Eating a Balanced Diet
    Rather than extreme dieting practices in crunch time before a weigh-in, it is crucial for wrestlers to establish healthy, balanced eating habits ahead of and throughout their season. Closely monitoring caloric intake and maintaining a balance of nutrients in your daily diet will make managing weight easier and far healthier.
    Having this balance in your diet will allow you the opportunity to cut out certain fats or carbs—rather than turning to total starvation—during the days leading up to weigh-in. It will be a challenge to maintain such a diet, but as an athlete, your body is your greatest tool. Filling it with the best fuel available is a commitment you should make regardless.
  2. Exercise Regularly
    Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Wrestlers should balance a steady routine of weight training and cardiovascular exercise in order to stay within NFHS parameters, and maintain the ability to gain or lose a couple pounds in the week ahead of weigh-in.
    The more in-tune workout regimens are, the greater the chance wrestlers stand at appropriately manipulating their weight ahead of meets.
  3. Drink Plenty of Fluids
    Particularly water. Maintaining excellent hydration throughout the day will allow for wrestlers to navigate their weight gain and loss journey as safely as possible. With rapid dehydration being one of the more popular, and most dangerous ways to quickly drop weight, it is important to note that persistent hydration is key to all bodily functions. If you plan to diminish your hydration in order to make weight, you have already exposed yourself to unsafe expectations and have fallen too far behind your regular dietary and exercise regimen.

The reality of the situation is that wrestlers who are seeking cheat codes to rapidly lose weight are without the opportunity to do so safely. Maintaining appropriate weight, within the NFHS guidelines, is a full-time job for high school wrestlers. If you are unable to commit to that sentiment on your own, try searching for a coach near you who can help you to establish and follow a plan designed for a healthy season.


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