Trouble with Making the Cut

December 13, 2012
Liquid meal replacements, laxative teas, ice baths, and overtraining are all examples of last ditch efforts used by athletes to make weight. These reckless behaviors are practiced by boxers, wrestlers, Olympic weightlifters, and numerous other athletes because they deem competing at the lightest weight class to be beneficial to their chances of victory. The sad part of it all is that they intentionally and readily destroy their own bodies for a few seconds of glory.

Pediatricians universally agree that athletes and the average Joe should not lose more than two pounds per week. However, there have been cases of college wrestlers losing up to 20 pounds in a single day! Like mentioned before, excessive dehydration, laxatives, and overtraining are all used along with other inconceivable methods to create such a vast deficit. The common side effects include stunted growth in adolescents, eating disorders, fatigue, and loss of concentration, and in extreme cases…death. The effects can also be psychological. Here’s a quotation given by Nick D. (mixed martial artist), during his post weigh-in interview: “I’m low on water, I’m low on calories, I’m low on food, I’m low on energy, and more so than anything I’m low on patience…and I might throw a (explicit) fit for no (explicit) reason.” It seems obvious that the negatives outweigh the benefits.

A long as there are still weight divisions, athletes will continue to use self- sacrificing methods to cut weight. Despite this, there is no statistical proof that competing in a lower weight class improves one’s chances of winning. In reality, starving your body does not lead to performance enhancement. Without the essential calories and nutrients from preventing one from “hitting the wall,” it’s hard to imagine how they perform to their expectations. Athletes should just get rid of the whole “making weight” mentality, and just compete at their natural weight.

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