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Cutting Weight MAG
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.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
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You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have left.
I Don't need easy, I just need possible.
10% luck 20% skill 15% concentrated power of will 5% pleasure 15% game and 100% reason to remember the name!
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"It's wrestling were the weak become strong and the strong become champions."
Why in the world would your Coach have you cut for Volleyball??
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Ever notice how you never see me and superman at the same time?
excuse me but i thought this article was very well written. everyone is entitled to their own opinions, you dont need to be harsh about it though
Ok, the stats are off like people have written - 300,000 deaths a year are not caused by weight cutting - lets make that clear.
Cutting weight is really the control you have over the people that you wrestle. Body fat % has a lot to do with it, since a person that weighs the same as you (say 130) could be five inches shorter and much stronger with less body fat. By lowering your body fat and getting to your lowest possible percentage (7% in high school, 5% in college) you stand the best possible chance to win your match based on numbers.
A kid that weighs 170 lbs could drop 20 lbs and be healthier, if the cutting was done through working out and nutrition. The 7% body fat is the healthy minimum, so a 170 lb kid with 20% body fat would be much healthier at say 150.
This is basically an argument against the people that are saying the cutting weight is always unhealthy and leads to death. Death is a possibility, but you have to remember that these were in college athletes.
Personally I cut from 130 to 119 last season, losing 11 lbs in 2 days. I did it the wrong way, and had to go 125 for the rest of the season. To an outside person 5 lbs might not seem like a lot, but that 5 lbs is usually pure muscle - which can over power you (not to say that wrestling is all muscle, the best wrestlers have very good technique).
The point is that cutting weight is part of wrestling just as shooting 100 free throws after basketball practice is. The 7% body fat is the healthy minimum for high schoolers (generally, as recognized by schools nationwide).
This year I am cutting from 9.2% body fat to 5-7%. I'm going from 130 lbs to 120 (since the weight classes change this year) and I am doing it through cardio workouts and nutrition. That means 5 days a week working out (plus 4 days a week of pre season wrestling) and eating 6 small meals a day of low calorie highly nutritious foods (nuts, fruit, veggies, etc.)
Water weight is what is "cut" from a wrestlers body when they lose drastic amounts of weight with 48 hours. This is not the way to do it - unless you need that 1-2 pounds cut the night before. Generally your body loses 1 pound a night from burning calories, so the night before a weigh in I will only need to weigh about 122-123 and I will be fine to weigh in at 120. You do not maintain the 120 weight, during the week I will peak at about 125.
Its all about being careful and having discipline, even though I lost 10 lbs in 24 hours last season, I was still able to wrestle and did not pass out in practice.