Starving for Success

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Starving for Success

Kelsey Horton, Staff Writer

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As many people know, the sport of wrestling takes a lot of self-control, endurance, and mental toughness. In wrestling, there are 14 specific weight classes that the wrestlers compete at during tournaments and duals. These weight classes vary from 106 lbs to 285 lbs or heavyweight. It is common knowledge that many wrestlers exercise excessively, and go long periods of time eating very little or not eating anything at all to get to the right weight for their match. 

According to Children’s Hospital Colorado, “An estimated 25-67% of wrestlers use techniques such as over-exercise, calorie restriction, fasting and different dehydration methods to lose weight.” Wrestlers may believe that they are helping themselves and their team, but in reality, they are putting themselves in danger. Improper diet and weight loss can result in slower reaction times, depression and moodiness, sickness, and delayed physical growth. In addition to these ailments, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “When losing weight, athletes should not lose more than 1.5% of their body weight each week. If they lose that amount, they will mostly lose fat. However, athletes that lose any more weight will also begin to lose muscle mass.” This can cause wrestlers to become weaker and less successful on the mat.

In order to lose weight quickly before a match, wrestlers may spit out all the water weight that they can. There are countless negative effects of dehydration, which can include headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, and increased heart rate. Most wrestlers have to take a hydration test at the beginning of the season at the weight they plan to wrestle at. 

Another way that wrestlers lose weight quickly is overexercising. When wrestlers overexercise, they can become sleepy, more stressed, and even sick. This can affect not only their matches, but it can also affect their school life. As many students know, some wrestlers appear to be drained during the school day and they occasionally sleep during classes. Although they know that it is unsafe and unhealthy, they continue to do it and the effects could last for life. 

Although wrestlers lose weight in these ways, there are safer ways to lose weight. Wrestlers should have a balanced diet and make sure they are getting all of the nutrients they need, especially while they are growing. Wrestlers should start to lose weight before the season starts so they can lose a little at a time in a healthy manner, rather than trying to shake several pounds in one night.