One of the great things about wrestling is you can be any size or shape to compete. This makes every wrestler very different and since they compete in 14 different weight classes, nutrition for each wrestler is very individualized. Some may need to take off weight while others may need to build muscle and get stronger to be competitive in their weight class. Nutritional goals for each wrestler will vary, but there are some rules that apply to all wrestlers.
What does it mean to eat clean – by eating foods as close to their natural state as possible, without artificial ingredients, chemicals, sugars and salt. It is important to read labels and know all the ingredients listed. The best way to eat clean is to focus your diet around lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Eating clean provides your body with the appropriate nutrients for building and repairing muscles, which is important when wrestling and working out every day for optimal performance and injury prevention.
Drink lots of Water
Water requirements are 1 ounce per kilogram of body weight. This does not include the replacement of fluid lost during exercise. To estimate how much is lost during exercise, weigh-in before and after your workout. A pound of weight loss is equal to 16 ounces of water. When you do not drink enough water you become dehydrated. If you body feels as though it is becoming dehydrated it will start to hold onto excess fluid and you can become bloated. When you drink enough water your body will work in equilibrium. Water lubricates joints and organs, maintains muscle tone, regulates body temperature, filters out impurities, keeps the brain working properly and transports nutrients to and from the cells. Some wrestlers cut out water too early prior to competition; fluid intake should not be reduced until 24 to 48 hours prior to weigh-ins.
Watch the sodium
Foods high in sodium will cause you to retain fluids. Your body tries to maintain a sodium/water concentration outside the cell walls. When you consume sodium your body holds onto the water to maintain the right ratio. Consuming 400 milligrams of sodium can cause your body to retain an extra 4 cups of fluid, which is equal to 2 pounds. Retaining fluid will make it more difficult to manage weight. As the body holds onto excess water you will need to drink water to flush the sodium out. One high sodium meal can take the body a number of days to get back on track.