Wrestlers compete by weight class, and some have gone to great extremes to lose weight and move down in weight classes, keeping their strength and gaining an advantage against the competitors in these lower classes. Starving themselves hasn’t been out of the question, on top of working out excessively.
“When I was in college,” recalled English teacher and wrestling coach Josh Wheeler, “I dropped 23 to 24 pounds per week. Weight loss in wrestling was pretty ugly.”
A weight management program has been instated to keep the wrestlers healthy and stop them from dropping too much weight. Determined by a doctor, each wrestler has a minimum weight class and is given a maximum amount of weight they can lose. If they go below that weight, they can’t wrestle in the lower class. Wrestlers can lose a maximum of 1.5% of their weight per week, and must have a minimum body fat percentage of 6% before they have to stop losing weight.
Fortunately for wrestlers today, the outlook on dropping weight has changed dramatically from the past. Before, there was a large amount of pressure put on them to lose weight, so they were hurting their bodies instead of helping themselves.
“My dad was hospitalized four times for going too far, but we’re more educated about it now,” said junior Cody Brazil. Now the wrestlers are sticking to benefiting their health instead of losing as much weight as possible in a short amount of time.
Taking into account their weight, amount of body fat, and hydration, athletes can create a plan for losing weight in a healthy way. They can diet without depriving themselves of essential nutrients, stay hydrated, and lift weights to gain strength. If for any reason they start feeling weak or sick, they can stop and allow their bodies to recuperate.
“It’s getting in the best physical shape possible,” added senior Sal Osorio.
Brazil and Osorio agreed that now the wrestlers don’t hurt themselves in trying to lose weight, and that the important thing is to be fit and healthy.