Wrestlers starve themselves to make gains

When the word “diet” is heard the images of salads and beach bodies often come to mind. Athletes and members of sports teams are known to typically eat healthy in order to maintain their shape, but there are a few cases where athletes go on extreme diets. Wrestlers are especially known to do this, some will even starve themselves.

Wrestlers’ opponents are generally chosen based on weight class so many strive to be in the lowest weight class. In most cases the lighter the opponent the easier it is to pin them and ultimately win the match.  Due to this circumstance the majority of wrestlers will be watching what they intake, weather it be foods or liquids, when weigh-ins are approaching.  Some will take their diets to the utmost degree and will consume food for days in order to make weight. If the wrestler fails to make weight they will not be qualified for the tournament.

A prime example of the harmful effect that wrestling can have on nutrient intake is freshman Nikolas Gerard. Gerard currently residing in Texas and is on the Highlander varsity wrestling  team. He is the only only freshman and due to seniority he has the last choice of weight class. The only remaining class for Gerard was 105, and at 120 with three percent body fat, that was quite a stretch. He does not eat up to three days before the weigh-in and dehydrates his body for 24 hours. He has nothing to lose except for muscles and  water.

This is a severe case, but countless wrestlers starve themselves to make weight. Due to the large number that deprive themselves of food it is a social norm for the wrestlers to do so.

There are healthier ways to lose the weight. Cutting fast foods, sugary desserts, and carbs for dinner can help to significantly reduce their weight, just in a safer manner. Also substituting water in place of soda will also help. Drinking calories is often overlooked and may make it very difficult to lose weight. Fruits and vegetables are the best foods to eat to lose weight.

When Roberto Clemente, head coach of the wrestling team at Dougherty was asked about the diets many wrestlers undertake he said it was “Inappropriate.”  Clemente also stated that “eating healthy is the way to go. All of my wrestlers are encouraged to eat healthy to be in their weight class.”

Personal well-being is one of the most important things and should not be compromised for a sport. Staying fit is crucial, but no extreme is good. Knowing your body’s limit is paramount to your health and safety so you do not overexert yourself.