Nutrition Information – READ THIS!!
Wrestlers who cut weight often deny themselves the very nutrients they need to perform well. Many wrestlers either don’t care about proper nutrition or they simply do not know any better. Wrestlers often think of food and water only in terms of gaining weight. They forget that food provides nutrients to fuel their bodies. However, the scientific facts are simple: poor nutrition will hamper performance. The body cannot function at its best when it lacks vital nutrients. Consider these points:
- Concentrating on wrestling rather than on cutting weight will make you a better wrestler.
- To grow naturally and increase strength, wrestlers need the same nutrients as other teenagers, but need more calories to meet the demands of daily training.
- Fasting causes the body to use muscle proteins for energy even if fat is available. This limits muscle growth and strength development.
- A proper diet will help wrestlers lose fat weight without sacrificing muscle tissue or becoming dehydrated.
- Dehydration is a major cause of losses in strength and endurance.
- Losing weight rapidly results in a loss of both muscle tissue and water.
- Losing weight gradually (2-3 lbs/week) is the best way to lose fat and keep muscle.
- Proper training includes practicing proper nutrition every day.
- Practicing good nutrition and proper weight control methods is vital to achieving peak physical performance.
Wrestlers who cut weight often deny themselves the very nutrients they need to perform well. The body cannot function at its best when it lacks vital nutrients.
PRINCIPLES OF GOOD NUTRITION
Cutting and Maintaining Weight
Once you’ve determined your weight class, you should next develop a plan for making and maintaining the weight. Plan your diet to lose not more than 2-3 pound each week. For example, if you determine you want to lose 10 pounds, allow at least 5 weeks (2 lbs./week) to accomplish your goal. If you plan ahead, the gradual reduction in weight can be easily accomplished. Also, to achieve your goal, you must understand the principles of good nutrition.
Wrestlers can achieve a balanced diet by following the dietary guidelines provided in the food pyramid. The training table guidelines listed below indicate the minimum number of servings from each food group for each day. The menus in Appendix A show examples of these recommendations.
The pyramid is divided into 4 levels according to the needs of your body. The base of the pyramid contains foods including grains such as oats, rice and wheat, and the breads, cereals, noodles and pasta made from them. Try to choose 6-11 servings of these products each day to ensure a solid foundation for your diet. Foods from this group are high in complex carbohydrates, which are the main energy source for training and other body functions.
The next level of nutrition in the food pyramid includes foods from the vegetable and fruit groups. These foods include all fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables and juice. These groups are loaded with vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fiber. It is recommended that your diet consists of 3-5 servings of vegetables and 2-4 servings of fruit each day to ensure an ample supply of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.
The next level of nutrition in the food pyramid consists of 2 food groups: the dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese; and the meat products, including meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts. These groups are rich in proteins, calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamins, and are essential for healthy bones and muscles. Choose low fat dairy products and lean (low fat) meat products to get the full advantage of these foods without excess fat calories. Your diet should include 2-3 low fat servings from the dairy group each day, as well as 2-3 servings from the meat group each day. Appendis A give some examples.
The top of the food pyramid includes nutrients that should be used sparingly in your diet, including fats, oils, and sweets. Many of these nutrients are already present in foods previously discussed and are often added in processed foods. Be careful in your selection of foods and check food label for added sugars and fats that can add calories to your diet without significantly increasing their nutritional value.
TRAINING TABLE GUIDELINES
A “calorie” is a unit used to describe the energy content of foods. Your body requires energy, and the food you eat supplies that energy. When you take in more food calories than you use, those extra calories are stored as fat, and you gain weight. Weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than you use. This causes your body to utilize its stored fat for energy, and you lose weight as a result. Losing weight gradually helps assure that mostly fat will be lost. Losing weight too quickly will cause you to lose muscle and water in addition to fat, sapping your strength and endurance in the process. Gradual weight loss is best accomplished by combining your training with a slight reduction in food intake. Remember, your body requires a certain amount of enery and nutrients just to keep you alive and healthy.
For this reason, your caloric intake should not fall below 1,700-2,000 calories per day.
In planning your diet, it will be helpful to estimate how many calories you need each day. Caloric needs differ from wrestler to wrestler depending upon body size and activity level. You can estimate the minimum number of calories you need each day by using the graph in Figure 1. Appendix A contains examples of 2,000 calorie menus to help you plan your diet. Appendix B can help you plan to eat wisely at fast-food restaurants.
Gradual weight loss is best accomplished by combining your training with a slight reduction in food intake. Remember, your body requires a certain amount of energy and nutrients just to keep you alive and healthy.
Your body depends upon a constant supply of nutrients to keep it functioning. There are six essential groups of nutrients your body needs every day: water, carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients work together to build and fuel your body.
The most important nutrient for any athlete is water. Your body is 60-70% water. Water is absolutely essential for optimal health and peak performance. You may be surprised to know that dehydration is a major cause of decreased performance. Some wrestlers are more sensitive to dehydration than others. A fluid loss of 2-3% of your weight can quickly occur during intense training. Even modest levels of dehydration should be avoided because dehydration harms performance.
It is important to drink plenty of fluid during practice and between matches. Not only will you feel better, but you may also find you have more endurance. During physical activity, thirst is not an adequate signal of need for fluid. Follow the fluid guidelines listed below:
- Weigh-in before and after training to monitor fluid loss. Drink two cups of fluid for every pound of body weight lost.
- Drink 2 1/2 cups of fluid 2 hours before training or competition.
- Drink 1 1/2 cups of fluid 15 minutes before competition.
- Drink 1 cup of fluid every 15-20 minutes during training and competition.
- Avoid beverages containing alcohol and caffeine, as they promote dehydration.
Carbohydrates are the main food source for your body and should make up 55-65% of the total calories you consume. Excellent sources of carbohydrates include breads, pasta, cereals, fruits and vegetables.
Everyone needs a little fat is their diets, and wrestlers and no exception. Fat should make up about 20-30% of the calories you consume. Most of the fat we consume is naturally found in foods (meats, nuts, and dairy products) or added during the preparation of food (e.g. fried foods). Sources of additional fat include margarine, peanut butter, and salad dressings.
Protein is used for growth and repair of all the cells in your body. Good sources of protein are meat, fish, and poultry. Many plant foods, like beans and nuts, are good protein sources, too. However, nuts are also high in fat and so should be eaten only in small quantities. Your diet should provide 12-15% of its calories as protein. The typical American diet provides more than enough protein, so you don’t need to worry too much about your protein intake.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS
If you eat a balanced diet from the four basic food groups, you will consume all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Including ample portions of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet will help ensure an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin and mineral supplements are usually unnecessary, but if you like to have the added “insurance” of taking a supplement, choose a vitamin and mineral supplement that does not exceed 100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for each nutrient.
If you eat a balanced diet from the four basic food groups, you will consume all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Including ample portions of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet will help ensure an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
EATING BEFORE TRAINING
When you eat can often be as important as what you eat before competition and between matches in a tournament. When you eat a regular meal, it takes about three hours for the food to be completely digested and absorbed. As a result, meals are best eaten three to four hours before competition. For athletes too nervous to consume solid foods before competition, special sports nutrition supplements may be an option. Carbohydrate supplements and liquid-nutrition supplements can be taken up to one hour before training or competition, but you should experiment with such products to make certain that you do not experience discomfort. A properly-formulated sports drink can be consumed before, during, and following training or competition to help minimize dehydration and provide a source of energy to working muscles.
Research has shown that practicing proper methods of weight control is essential to maximizing your athletic performance. Peak physical performance can only occur when the body is supplied with an adequate amount of essential nutrients. Using improper methods of weight control will decrease your level of performance. The Wrestler’s Diet provides the necessary information to help you achieve the highest level of performance possible. The psychological advantages of maintaining good nutritional practices are great: you’ll wrestle better if you feel good physically and mentally. You will also wrestle better knowing that you have done everything possible to be at your best
Peak physical performance can only occur when the body is supplied with an adequate amount of essential nutrients. Using improper methods of weight control will decrease your level of performance