Winter is coming, and as the days grow colder it's important to adapt your wrestling routine for the chilly weather. Below are some tips for practicing and competing in the cold.
- Spend more time warming up. When the weather turns cold, it's important to extend your warm-up before practicing or competing in order to raise your core body temperature. Remember, during a proper warm-up you should break a sweat, and that's harder to do in the cold. Extend your warm-up time or increase your intensity when warming up in order to get your temperature up. Some activities that are great for cold weather include sprints, jumping rope and light drilling.
- Dress in layers. What you wear over your wrestling uniform is especially important when it gets cold outside. By dressing in layers when you go to a cold gym, you can help regulate your body temperature and stay warm. Plus, if you start to get too hot you can always remove some layers to cool down. The best wrestling clothing for layering include sweatpants, hooded sweatshirts, thermals, windbreakers, compression gear and nylon or Lycra tights.
- Eat right. In colder weather, your metabolism increases to better regulate your core body temperature. That's why it's so important to make sure you're eating right when wrestling or practicing in the cold. The best foods you can eat for cold-weather wrestling are high in complex carbohydrates and fats, such as potatoes, eggs, cheese, beans, meats, cereals and wheat bread or pasta.
- Stay hydrated. It's a common misconception that it's harder to get dehydrated in cold weather. In fact, you're actually at greater risk for dehydration when it's cold outside because your body has to work harder to keep your temperature up. Even if you don't feel thirsty, it's critical to drink enough water during wrestling practices and matches in order to stay hydrated. Ideally, you should drink at least 48–64 ounces of water each day.
- Find a warm location. You may not have much of a choice about where you wrestle or practice, but if you end up in a gym that isn't well insulated there are a few options available to you. For example, many tournament locations offer heated mat rooms that are ideal for waiting in between matches. And while it may not be ideal, you can also wait in your car or team van if you get too cold.
Wrestling in the winter can mean cold gyms and chilly practice areas, but there are some simple things you can do to combat the cold. Stay warm this season by following these tips for winter wrestling.