Cutting Weight MAG

By Saige Redd, Loma, CO

His heart races to the sound of the clock ticking in the background. Twenty more seconds and he has this match won. All he needs to do is hold on. His opponent meets his eyes with a look of defeat. Thump, thump … 15 … 14 … the clock ticks down the final seconds. The wrestler thinks of the final 40 minutes he ran to shed that extra half pound. A match easily won. Then he’s thrust into the air and, dumbfounded, he finds himself on the mat. The ­referee pounds his hand on the ground and he’s down for the count in a ­moment of weakness. The defeated wrestler watches his opponent raise his arm with the grin of a champion.

Wrestling requires blood, sweat, and tears, in addition to dedication and pure passion. As many wrestlers know, the preceeding story is more than a haunting tale: it’s a fear that fuels their drive to put more effort into becoming the best. Many wrestlers go to extremes to become champions, and they are recognized for their ability to drastically lose weight, known as “cutting.” Many of these pound-dropping skills aren’t just dangerous but also can be fatal, which is why wrestlers should not cut weight in the first place.

With 81 percent of wrestlers cutting weight, there are many unique methods to achieve the task. Some are ridiculous – myths of athletes shedding as many as 20 pounds in one night have been passed around the wrestling community. Wrestlers will go days drinking only a few sips of water and eating just a piece of fruit each day. Ultimately, the calories they burn during practice will be more than they’ve consumed in two days.

Not eating for that long takes a toll on the body. Wrestlers dream of food, yet many won’t eat for fear that they’ll exceed the limit of their weight class. Consequently, they account for three-quarters of male athletes with eating disorders. Eating disorders claim 300,000 lives a year. Weight cutting can lead to death.

In 1997, three college wrestlers made national headlines, dying within 33 days of each other. Coming from Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, these dedicated athletes died from the same cause: weight cutting. In all three cases, the students experienced dehydration resulting in hypothermia after they layered on clothes and did endless workouts in heated rooms. Unfortunately, they out-worked their bodies. The perspiration they produced cooled them to the point of hypothermia resulting in heart attacks and kidney failure, all common effects of extreme weight cutting.

Following these deaths, the NCAA took steps to make wrestling safer by banning cutting techniques such as training in a room hotter than 80 ­degrees, self-induced vomiting, and extensive food or fluid restrictions. Following the actions of the NCAA, even high schools have taken precautions. The NCAA requires wrestlers to take hydration tests, checks their body fat, and restricts the amount of weight they can lose. But it’s not enough; ­unscrupulous coaches will turn their heads, and some wrestlers will overlook the rules, risking their lives for their favorite sport.

Wrestlers push themselves to the limit to make weight. These athletes seek to make themselves the biggest competitor in the smallest weight class possible. This goal taunts wrestlers to cut more and more. ­Although rules have been enforced, if wrestlers are going to be protected, officials need to banish weight cutting altogether.

Risking so much for such short-lived glory is absurd. Cutting weight is unhealthy and can lead to serious complications. Athletes must be more aware of these dangers – and listen to their bodies.

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This article has 125 comments.

on Nov. 30 2010 at 11:26 am
yeah but thats your brother not every single person that wrestles. untill youve done it, dont talk about it

on Nov. 30 2010 at 11:23 am

i agree with you eagles wrestler, we understand it and accept it. its part of life


on Nov. 30 2010 at 11:16 am
i am currently a 171 pounder cutting 11 pounds to be 160 for next week and I'm doing it safely and smartly if you know what you're doing, weight cutting isn't dangerous or bad. people need to do a little more research before they decide to jump on wrestlers about being unhealthy and starving themselves.

on Nov. 24 2010 at 3:41 pm
aksportsgirl BRONZE, Wasilla, Alaska
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
Believe and you will

I am a girl wrestler and i need to cut some weight before my season starts in a few weeks and if cutting weight is dangerous how am i suppose to lose the weight that i need to in such a little time??

on Oct. 28 2010 at 6:37 pm
coravecwriter BRONZE, Dayton, Ohio
4 articles 1 photo 36 comments
Just saying, this isn't really a story and it doesn't have to be. It's an essay, and most essays don't have- and don't need- dialogue.

on Oct. 20 2010 at 5:55 pm
MUSICisLIFE1429, Munster, Indiana
0 articles 3 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
Practice doesnt make perfect. Perfect practice make perfect.

wow. i thought ballet was the only activity with a high eating disorder rate... man was i wrong.

on Oct. 19 2010 at 10:45 pm
Wolf_Warriorz SILVER, Belgrade, Montana
5 articles 0 photos 15 comments
I don't think a story has to have dialogue to be good. What if it was naturalistic, with no people? This is a narrative, which usually don't have dialogue, so... Yup!

LastChapter said...
on Oct. 19 2010 at 6:33 pm
LastChapter, Hempstead, New York
0 articles 0 photos 215 comments

Favorite Quote:
(couldn't think of anything better at the time) "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."-Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

when i think of people with eating disorders, i automatically think of unconfident young girls. this just goes to show that no one is immune to the public's way of making us want to change ourselves. 

on Oct. 18 2010 at 4:44 pm
that was good, but no dialogue. people dont like stories that put you to sleep, but that keep you waiting to find out what happenes next. keep that in mind.

on Oct. 18 2010 at 4:43 pm
the_picnic_girl BRONZE, Aurora, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
If everyone loved they way we're supposed to, we'd all be a lot better off.

Whoa, I was one of the only girl wrestlers at my school last year and heard of guys losing weight to be in an easier weight class, but I never would have thought of this. Very powerful.

on Oct. 13 2010 at 11:15 am
Good article that tells people about cutting weight and what it can do to your body.

on Oct. 13 2010 at 10:20 am
This is very sad, but very touching. Loved it!

on Oct. 13 2010 at 9:32 am
Reminds me of my dad. He used to wrestle and tell me these crazy stories about his cutting weight, and ways to trick the scale. Nice aricle, drew me in with the first few sentances.

Sealclubber said...
on Sep. 27 2010 at 1:50 am
Actually the NCAA has strict rules, such as dehydration checks on wrestlers. High schools do need to follow suit, I believe it's not far from happening.

sealclubber said...
on Sep. 27 2010 at 1:46 am

hello mma fighter. i wrestled for over 10 years, the main difference with wrestling and mma is making weight and "fighting" much more often. Wrestlers are making weight 1 to 2 times per week for weeks straight. Also, you don't always get the luxery of weighing in the day before in wrestling either. Most of the time you'll have duel meets during the week, having to makeweight the night before that match. Then you have to make weight again Saturday morning for a tournament, wrestling multiple times the same day as the weigh in.

mma fighters, boxers, fighting sports where you only face one opponent once in a while, makes for an entire different dynamic in weight cutting. you can afford to cut harder in mma than wrestling, because you won't be causing the long term harm.


on Sep. 26 2010 at 9:46 pm
Penmaiden BRONZE, Minnetonka, Minnesota
4 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn. ~Thomas Gray

Great article!  Very well written.  I have brothers who wrestle, so it was interesting to read, especially because you don't find much about the sport of wrestling.  (I guess it's the awkward singlets :P xD )

I would like to point out, though, that most (I'd say 'all', but I haven't done enough exploration on the topic) high schools will have a doctor check each wrestler before the season begins.  This is to make certain that the kid is physically fit, and also the doctor will tell the coach what the lowest healthy weight the wrestler can cut to.  So it can be unhealthy in extremes, just like cheer-leading could be for girls, or pretty much any sport for anyone.

But, really, great article!

Elisabeth GOLD said...
on Sep. 26 2010 at 10:07 am
Elisabeth GOLD, Nottingham, New Hampshire
10 articles 0 photos 23 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A true friend is hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget."

I also dont wrestle, but I thought that this was a good article and showed dangers of losing too much weight and overworking your body. Even in other sports people will do whateva they can to look the best and win

MMAfighter said...
on Sep. 6 2010 at 11:44 am
Cutting weight really isnt that bad IF YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT CORRECTLY. these ppl are doing these diets like this and losing muscle when can lose it all in much healthier ways. I am in PERFECT health and i cut anywhere from 22 to 26 lbs for every fight

on Aug. 13 2010 at 1:05 pm
ForeverFelix PLATINUM, Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
30 articles 2 photos 207 comments

Favorite Quote:
Daydreams can be worse than nightmares, but that never stops me.

Note to Eagles Wrestler: The health problems will stick with you if you cut weight too much too long and DIE. And don't say I'm a hypocrit or don't know what I'm talking about, either, my brother tried extreme weight cutting when he wrestled. Thanks.

on Aug. 13 2010 at 1:00 pm
ForeverFelix PLATINUM, Catasauqua, Pennsylvania
30 articles 2 photos 207 comments

Favorite Quote:
Daydreams can be worse than nightmares, but that never stops me.

Uh cutting weight IS bad if its taken to extremes...a half pound before weigh-ins? Sure, cause you can eat after that...but two pounds? Three? Not eating or drinking? It's all dangerous...super dangerous. I may not be in wrestling, but my brother was, and he hid it when he started not eating to drop a weight class, he even hid it from his coach and it caused serious problems when he could barely walk onto the mat, let alone wrestle.

Plus, a lot of wrestlers that cut weight are hypocrits...they look down on cheerleaders, gymnasts, and non-athletes that don't eat to lose weight and look skinny and be better at their sport. It's basically the same thing as cutting weight, though, isn't it?


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