Wrestlers often feel the pressure to move into different weight classes. Driven by the desire to quickly lose or gain weight, many take extreme dietary measures. The wrestling world is rife with stories of athletes who either starve themselves to compete in a lighter weight class or gorge themselves to an unhealthy degree in order to move up. This is dangerous behavior that can affect both physical and mental health.
The food you eat is your fuel for all athletic activities. You must take in all of the calories and nutrients your body needs to perform. This is why it is crucial that you eat a balanced diet designed first and foremost to maximize your performance.
Below are tips to help you start to structure your diet.
Skip the junk food. Processed snacks, fast foods, and high-sugar soft drinks all offer empty calories with little to no nutritional value. Focus on natural, unprocessed, nutrient rich foods.
Drink Lots of Water. You are working off more than calories in training. You’re also losing fluids through perspiration. Stay hydrated by drinking water. Drinking water will also help you control your appetite and body temperature during workouts.
Get protein from a variety of sources. Protein is essential for muscle recovery after workouts. Everyone knows that protein is found in meat, poultry, and fish. However, fewer people are aware that it can also be found in dairy and soy products. Other healthy protein sources include egg whites and legumes such as black and pinto beans. Mix up your protein sources for more variety in your diet.
Indulge in moderation. If there is an unhealthy food that you love, you don’t have to give it up completely. However, you must only indulge in moderation. If you love cookies, one Oreo a day won’t have a big effect on your diet. Just don’t go overboard or binge.
These are just a few tips to help you get started. If you need help developing your wrestling diet, consult a team trainer, doctor, or nutritionist.
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