Don’t Cut Weight, Manage it.

Hi there! Pretty attention grabbing title for a wrestling post. That said, I mean what I said. In wrestling we often think so much about “needing to lose weight” or “I have to lose weight” rarely do we ever think that losing weight is positive. Some guys will drop weight to have an advantage in size, some will be forced to lose weight just to make the roster, and the special few do it because they want to! But what if I told you that cutting weight didn’t have to suck? What if you didn’t need to starve yourself, wear trash bags under layers, or dehydrate yourself to make weight? What if you could just manage your weight instead? Well you’ve come to the right place, because I am going to tell you how to do just that. *DISCLAIMER* I am not a dietician, I am not qualified to give DIETARY advice, what this post is, is a culmination of lessons I have learned throughout my career as a wrestler, in high school and while at Penn State, to learn how to control my weight PROPERLY. I will not be telling you what to eat, what macros to use, or anything diet related. This is simply about good habits, and timing to help you lose weight in the best way you can.

How We did it at PSU:

When I first got to PSU as a freshman, I thought I had a decent grasp on weight loss for wrestling. My senior year of high school I had dropped from 140ish to 120lbs. By the time the season came I had gotten my weight down to 126ish so dropping to 120 wasn’t too difficult. I thought I was pretty dang clever, however, when I got to PSU I learned there was still much more to know! The way Penn State, and likely most college teams really, work with our weight is that each individual wrestler is responsible for getting to their competition weight. In order to do so you must first certify, as you do in high school, and then ACTUALLY be able to make the weight. Plenty of guys in college will certify a weight that is damn near impossible for them to get to, or they’ll get to it once. My hardest year of weight cutting came as a sophomore, I was around 145ish and I was told that I would be going 125lbs. I failed certifications five times, due to hydration testing to ensure my safety. But, I did eventually certify. Now, you need to certify BEFORE the season starts. In D1 Wrestling, that is the first week of October.

So how does PSU do it you ask? Good question that I know you didn’t actually think! Well, without giving out too many of our patented secrets, our coaches use October as a month to descend our weight, and give us some experience being down to weight with 1 hour weigh ins. Side-note, a major adjustment in college is one hour weigh ins. In high school you have typically at least two hours, sometimes more depending on the format of the competition. In college it is almost always one hour. This gives you one hour to refuel before wrestling. This especially sucks when you’re a lighter weight like I was. Anyway, tangent over. We start our descent plan the very first week of practice. It will usually be the first Friday of the season, then the other days will be on Thursdays to allow us to use Friday as a bit of an active recovery day.

Here’s the order of our descent plan, using the dates from my Freshman season in 2015.

Season Start: October 12th, 2015

Plus 6lbs: October 16th, 2015

Plus 4lbs: October 22nd, 2015

Plus 2lbs: October 29th, 2015

Scratch Weight: November 5th, 2015

First Dual of the Season: November 13th, 2015 (Lock Haven)

As you can see, in just about 1 month exactly we would go from +6 of our competition weight, to scratch weight (or right on weight). So for me this meant I went from 131->129->127->125 in about a month. Now, 6 pounds over a month doesn’t really seem like a lot but to some guys that is. My Sophomore Year I would pretty much need to workout almost right until weigh ins to make weight. So I learned some hard lessons about being much more intelligent about my weight descent the next year. As a Junior I went from 155->133, a difference of 22lbs. But I did so intelligently, I didn’t lose significant strength cutting like a dummy, I was calculated, disciplined, and it all paid off. How did I do that? I sharpened my saw before I cut the tree down!

Sharpen your Saw First:

“If I were given six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend four hours sharpening my saw.” Before you can lose weight you must first figure out a few things. First, how much do you currently weigh now? Shouldn’t be too hard, find a scale, jump on and check your weight. Second, what weight class do you desire to go to? Once you know where you are now, and where you want to go, you can beginning the journey to get there. We will do so by sharpening the saw of weight loss, planning how we want to do it. Now, a big part of this post is going to talk about preparation, good habits, and discipline above all else. But, all of those come when there’s a good plan in place. To sharpen our saw we must develop our plan, what tools will we use, who will we count on for support, and how will we measure our weight loss. Luckily I am going to present you with one of the most commonly used applications for all three of those, My Fitness Pal.

My Fitness Pal is the saw that will cut down your tree or rather, your weight. It is an amazing app that allows you to track meals, exercise, sleep, etc. All things important to losing weight in any meaningful way. It is available on Apple and Android phones and you can use it to get an accurate idea of what you need to do to lose weight. One of the best features is just generally seeing where you stand that day in achieving your goal for the day. If you don’t already have this app I highly recommend downloading it.

Here’s a quick demo of MyFitnessPal. You can track what you’ve eaten, log exercise, and based on your goals it will tell you how many calories you need to eat or lose that day to help you figure it out. Again, I highly recommend it as this is probably the best free tool out there.

You can see my calorie needs change as I change my goal, originally it said I need 2,890 because my goal was maintain, when I changed my goal to dropping to 140 lbs losing 2lbs per week it dropped me 1,000 calories to 1,890 per day. Which is what I will talk about next.

Work smarter not harder, and weight will come off easy:

I can’t promise some one stop shop trick to lose 10 pounds in 2 days, even though I have done that before. It sucks and I don’t recommend doing that ever, for anyone. INSTEAD, do it a little bit at a time, consistently over time. Now, I know this isn’t possible for every wrestler. As I write this today is October 16th, the wrestling season starts November 29th in New Jersey (where most of my athletes are from) So that gives guys a little more than a month to drop some weight. Now, I understand that not every wrestler is just doing nothing but wrestling right now. Many play fall sports, so losing a lot of weight all at once wouldn’t really be conducive to performing well in those sports. However, losing a little bit at a time over the course of a month won’t really hinder your performance as much as it will help you come wrestling season.

So how do we lose weight intelligently over time? We do it a little bit at a time. As wrestlers we often track our weight by the scale, hoping on in the morning to see where we are at our lightest. This is usually the measuring stick for how much we need to lose, if I am 150 now and want to wrestle 145 in two weeks I know I need to lose 5lbs total. If I know I can lose 2lbs per practice I can think about how much I can eat if I consistently lose that weight. I remember doing this for most of my career, “Oh I’m a pound under I can eat about a pound and I’ll float it off over night.” It’s something most wrestlers will think. However, losing this weight slowly over time, I won’t be thinking of it by the scale, I will think of it by the CALORIES!

Generally losing weight in any regard really boils down to one thing, and one thing only, Caloric Deficit. Anyone who knows anything about losing weight knows that no matter your diet, the only thing that creates weight loss is simply eating less. There’s a million fad diets out there now, I’m not going into the weeds on those in this post. But put simply, if you want to lose weight, you need a caloric deficit (Diet & exercise). Simple as that. But there’s also some strategy to this. Eating less is an easy way to achieve a deficit fast. Before we can decide how much less to eat we need to know what type of range we want to do, and how much we’re looking to lose. To make it easier on you I made a simple chart that shows you how much less you’d need to eat to lose certain weight ranges, I’ll put that below and then explain each thing in detail below that. THIS IS PURELY DIET CALORIC DEFICIT

Okay a few details, first, these numbers are based off of some pretty basic math. General consensus for a while is that to lose 1 pound of body weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit of 500 calories per week, as the charge shows above. This comes from a study from the 1950s which showed you need to eat about 3500 less calories per week (500 less per day, 3500/7=500) in order to lose a pound. Now with some simple math we can also apply that to some other ranges. For this reason I have chosen .5 lb. per week, 1 lb. per week, 1.5 lbs. per week and 2 lbs. per week. I selected these ranges because generally they say you shouldn’t lose more than 2 lbs. per week through DIET ALONE. I know most wrestlers see losing 2lbs and smirk thinking how easy that is for us. “That’s one practice!” is what many would say. BUT! Everyone is different, hence the ranges I have chosen and will explain below.

Now, QUICK DISCLAIMER, as I previously mentioned this plan assumes DIET ALONE. This means if you wanted to lose weight without doing any exercise, which I very highly doubt you would want to do, this is how you do it. I will explain AFTER this about working out to lose these calories, but this part will be speaking SOLEY on maintaining a proper caloric deficit through DIETING. Disclaimer over.

First Range: .5 pound per week, 250 less calories per day.

From the Chart: over the course of a month you would lose 1.5lbs.

Pretty basic here, if you’re a lighter guy, say a 115lbs guy who wants to go 106lbs you might want to use this range. You have less to lose than most, and your body will react very differently to trying to lose a lot fast. This is also an ideal weight range if you have plenty of time. Not this year of course but next year if you want to slowly lose weight, say start in September, finish the maintenance cut by the season this weight range would allow you to do so with diet and not have to really notice too much. I ate a Cliff Bar today that was 260 calories, basically I don’t eat that and I hit this goal.

Second Range: 1 pound per week, 500 less calories per day.

From the Chart: over the course of the month you would lose 3 lbs.

Pretty common method among anyone who is trying to lose weight for any reason. Losing 1 pound per week is generally pretty easy with diet and exercise, but again this is dietary alone right now. By simply eating 500 less calories per day you can slowly lose 1lb per week. This is a good method for a middle weight guy with a decent cut, if you can do it over time. When I cut from 140 to 120 my senior year this is what I did. I combined it with practice and lifting of course but I ate 500 calories less per day. It wasn’t super noticeable and by the time the season came I hardly ever missed a meal. I ate lunch and dinner every day all season, so the pre-season planned descent was well worth it.

Third Range: 1.5 pounds per week, 750 less calories per day.

From the Chart: over the course of the month you would lose 4.5lbs.

Getting a little crazier now. Eating 750 less calories per day is not for the faint of heart. This will require some true discipline but this amount is perfect for someone with a big cut, or who needs to make up for lost time. Now remember, this is through DIET ALONE. So obviously you wouldn’t be just eating 750 less calories per day but we’re saying that’s the plan here. This range will work best for someone with a big cut, but must be a bigger guy. For example, a 120lbs kid pre-season trying to go 106 is gonna have a damn hard time compared to a 170lbs guy going 152lbs. The 120lbs kid would really struggle eating 750 calories less, their body likely wouldn’t react well. But the bigger guy will have a little more mass to drop, so the body won’t enjoy it, but it’ll deal with it. In college most of my middle weight teammates were coming from some crazy weights. Few 157s were actually any lighter than 175lbs. But I don’t know anyone who went from higher than 155 to 125lbs and felt good enough to wrestle hard after weigh ins.

Final Range: 2lbs per week, 1000 less calories per day.

From the Chart: over the course of the month you would lose 6lbs.

Now, this range is for the guys who need to lose weight quick, fast, and in a hurry. This will NOT be an easy diet. 1,000 calories represents basically half your day. Just losing this weight through DIET ALONE would be one of the most unintelligent things you could do, but we’re gonna play with this concept for now. By eating 1000 less calories per day, basically skipping most of your meals, you could lose 2lbs per week. But, as I said this is for guys who need to lose weight fast. This would be ideal of football players who might not really be playing, or who’s team isn’t gonna make the playoffs. You start wrestling the week after your Thanksgiving game, and usually the first competition for high school isn’t until almost a month into the season.

Now, with all those weight ranges done from a PURELY caloric deficit through diet standpoint, which makes it seem like this all just sucks. Let me tell you the good news!

YOU DON’T NEED TO STARVE YOURSELF TO LOSE WEIGHT!

The reason I feel like most people look at wrestling as such an odd sport definitely boils down to the weight loss aspect of the sport. I would always get the question “So do you starve yourself?” and sure at some points I didn’t eat much. But, I was never starving myself once I learned to manage my weight. As I previously stated my senior year thanks to my maintenance cut pre-season I didn’t miss a meal in season really. (I didn’t eat breakfast but I never had time for that in high school anyway!) So why do most wrestlers, parents, and coaches think that wrestlers need to starve themselves in order to lose weight? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THEY DID, THAT’S WHY!

Wrestlers back in the day used to think that the key to weight loss was sucking out our water weight, and starving ourselves. Anyone who has ever seen the movie Reversal can see how it impacted the main character of that movie. (highly recommend but it does a good job of portraying the horrible side of our sport.) The young boy looks at his dad for permission to eat the cake celebrating the tournament he just won. This weight cutting menace is all too prevalent in our sport, especially at ages where it SHOULDN’T HAPPEN! As a coach I am never advocating for my athletes best interests if I tell them to go a weight that is insane for their body, and make them starve themselves to make that weight. The best thing I ever did in my career was to decide to bump up when I had a horrible cut. It changed the way I wrestled, changed how I practiced, and made me better.

The days of simply working ourselves to death, wearing trash bags and sauna suits, starving ourselves and not drinking any water SHOULD be long gone. Alas, they’re not. Most coaches, and a lot of parents are still of the mindset that that’s how you lose weight. Well here’s a shocker, not the Penn State Coaches and staff. In fact, they will reprimand anyone caught using plastics to lose weight, the NCAA banned Saunas in season for weight loss purposes. We don’t cut weight, we managed our weight. You don’t starve yourself, you don’t not drink water, you become smarter about weight loss. Science has improved, dieticians are available at any grocery store, we know more about our bodies now than we did 25-30 years ago. Hell, we know more than we knew 10 years ago! Having said all this, let’s get into the real content here, how to suck weight without it sucking!

How to lose weight, the intelligent way!

When I was at Penn State I leaned on a lot of our resources that Penn State Athletics provides. We were fortunate to have so many great people around our program and athletic department. My senior year as I was preparing for my last season I met with our dietician to talk about losing some weight, I figured it would be a good lesson overall for the long term too, since after my career I knew I would coach or just generally train myself. Now, one thing she taught me that I will now share; is to think of our bodies like a camp fire. When you build a campfire it needs fuel to get going and survive. If you put all the wood on at once, it will struggle to light. If you don’t give it wood at all it will burn out. However, if you slowly give it wood over time, it will consume the wood, burn it steadily and it will never go out if you are smart about when you put it on the fire. This is a good lesson for anyone but especially for a wrestler. But let me explain how this pertains to losing weight intelligently and effectively.

Let’s use the basis of the 500 calories less per day from above, or the 1 pound per week loss. Now as I mentioned above through diet alone this can be pretty easy in and of itself with discipline but if you add in exercise it gets even easier. A lot of my athletes tell me their weights, and tell me what weight they think they will go. One thing I always tell them, especially freshman is that once you practice 4-5 days a week consistently you WILL lose weight. This is because wrestling burns a lot of calories. Using MyFitnessPal as a general estimate for Wrestling as an exercise, the app says I would lose 632 calories in 90 minutes of activity. Now, I know that I generally lost about 1.5-2lbs max per practice. This was mostly water weight through sweat obviously, BUT, if I need a 500 calorie deficit for the day to lose 1lbs. per week, I HIT IT IN ONE PRACTICE! Now, that’s just 1.5 hours. I’d say most high schools practice 2 hours at least, so that figures for 843 calories burned. So that’s almost TWO DAYS of caloric deficit right there. Now, add in maybe another 30 mins of some other workout, in college I would typically layer up and do 30 mins on an elliptical, per the app that’s another 300 calories alone, not including water weight. So that brings my deficit from exercise alone to 1,143 calories for that day. That means I basically did two days worth of dieting in a single day of exercise.

Now, given that example how do we get even smarter about our weight loss? We still DO THE DIET PART! As someone who lifts often, I often love when people who workout say “I work out a lot, I can eat whatever I want.” If your goal is that you have no goal, sure you can do that. But if we’re trying to lose weight we still need to be smart about our diet, even if we work out a lot. So let’s expand the example now and use the 1,000 calories less basis, or 2lbs per week. Assuming I still do the same amount of exercise I will hit my caloric deficit goal from exercise alone, as I will burn nearly 1,100 calories through exercise. BUT, if I eat like an idiot, I will undo all that hard work. But if I even go so far as to just eat 250-500 calories less, I can compound that deficit even further. Remember 500 calories less adds to 1lbs per week, so a deficit of 1,500 per day is 2.5 pounds per week. How simple is it to not consume that extra 250-500 pounds? Super easy actually, AVOID LIQUID CALORIES!!! Liquid calories are the sneakiest in all of the dietary realm, why? Because they’re often disguised. When you get food it is often labeled to show you how many calories are in it, some will say by the serving so it makes it easier. Here’s an example below, Cliff Bar Label.

Now, I’m not hear to argue the dietary side of this, again I don’t know that science. I know numbers, calories and weight. I can tell you that my lunch in high school weighed approximately .6lbs but I can’t tell you what about it made me perform well. Back to the point, Cliff Bar’s big box tells you that each bar weights 68 grams, and is 250 calories, so .15lbs of weight. Pretty clear and direct for what likely amounts to a snack for most people.

Now, lets go after everyone’s favorite Sports Drink, Gatorade. Gatorade is a very good drink don’t get me wrong, but NOT FOR WRESTLERS. Gatorade is great for most sports because they don’t need to concern themselves with weight. Now, I am not saying that Gatorade should be avoided entirely, it has it’s purpose and I will get to that later, but I am more so using it as a way to illustrate the dangers of liquid calories in our diet. Mainly because I know a lot of people get the 28 or 32oz Gatorade bottles, and can finish them like nothing. But just wait until I show you how bad Gatorade actually is from a sugar, and calorie standpoint. Here’s the label:

Now, Gatorade isn’t doing much here, it does say 220 calories per container. But there’s a reason I selected Gatorade as the culprit for Liquid Calories being bad. Because although it’s 220 calories, only 30 less than a Cliff Bar, it also has a whopping 55 grams of sugar. Gatorade is considered a sports drink, let’s compare it to another sports drink; Calories: 240 Total Sugars 60 grams. What’s that sports drink? That would be Sprite, a soda and has 20 more calories and 5 more grams of sugar in 20oz bottle. So, in a nutshell Gatorade is less of a sports drink and more of a sugar drink.

Now, I know someone will say “But Gatorade is good because it replenishes electrolytes!” And yeah, you’d be right, in a way. SUGAR replenishes electrolytes. When we sweat our body sweats out a lot of different things. Gatorade is designed to make you sweat less, and actually retain fluid. That’s why it’s great when you’re sick. But it’s not great for wrestlers. A 32oz Gatorade represents 2lbs of liquid (16 oz in a pound) and 220 calories, plus will basically PREVENT you from losing weight through natural float, it will also dehydrate your body, so if you are already losing weight and drink a Gatorade it will make it that much harder. There’s a super easy way to avoid the pitfalls of liquid calories though. DRINK MORE WATER!

As a wrestler we often think water is the enemy, water has no caloric value but WE KNOW IT HAS WEIGHT! So typically we will think that we need to cut water, and that’s wrong! When your body has water in it, it allows you to burn more food energy. Hunger and thirst have the same responses, often when we think we’re hungry we’re just dehydrated. Cutting water out actually makes eating less EVEN harder. That’s why a very good trick I learned to lose weight is to substitute water in for every drink. Rather than just eat my meals without any drink, I drink a glass of ice water BEFORE I eat and during my meal. On top of taking up some room in my stomach, the water also makes me less hungry, so less inclined to overeat, and it will keep me hydrated so that my body will work it’s magic with my metabolism. We are 70% water so it makes sense that so much of our body functions better with water in it. If you hate the fact that water has no flavor you can consider a couple options here too, get water flavoring or start drinking coconut water as well. I loved Coconut water after weigh ins because it helped me recover as typically you do HAVE to cut some water weight to get down to weight. It was just enough sugars to replenish them but not spike me, and also potassium to replace what I lost working out, so that I don’t cramp in competition.

In summary of this point about liquid calories; so not only does water HAVE NO CALORIES, it also HELPS YOU LOSE MORE WEIGHT, and IT DOESNT MAKE HARD WORK MEANINGLESS! If I am basing my day around a 1000 calorie deficit, 2 lbs per week, and I achieved 1,100 calories burned in exercise alone, but I drink a Gatorade, or a soda, I push myself back into having to EAT LESS. When I got to college I realized that it is always better to workout a little more than it is to EAT LESS. But if I do all that hard work and drink something that has nearly 300 calories, I undid all that progress. But if I am disciplined and I do 1,100 calories of exercise and still eat 500 calories less that means I give myself a buffer of 1,600 calories per day from DISCIPLINE. That means that assuming I need about 2,500 calories per day, I can eat well and drink plenty of water and be fine. It also gives me an advantage over time, because if I lose more weight than I need to I can often eat a meal when others can’t. I used to be able to eat a good meal Friday nights before a Saturday Quad in high school. The Friday night of my State Tourney senior year I ate a steak dinner and was still under weight the next day. Small habits done well over time add up to big advantages.

Use Small and Consistent habits over time for BIG advantages:

One of the last things I want to talk about in this post, as it is getting a bit long for my liking. The MOST important part of any diet, whether for wrestling or life in general, is consistency. The reason most diets fail for a normal person trying to lose some weight is they fail to be consistent with it, whether that is cheat days, or just generally falling off the diet entirely. I have known so many people who have tried various diets, lost weight and them promptly rebounded past their original weight after. So not only did they waste time and effort losing weight, they gained it back and then some. So let’s talk about how you can be consistent with your diet for wrestling season and beyond.

Step One; find a way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable. The reason I love MyFitnessPal is that it will remind you to track your day, whether you track each meal and snack as you go, or do it all at the end of the day, tracking your progress is immensely important. This app is a great way to hold yourself accountable, more so than checking your weight regularly. Both are important and as far as tracking your weight you need to be consistent about timing for that too, typically you will be the lightest in the morning, heaviest at night. So I recommend tracking your weight in the morning as this will be your starting point.

Step Two; have those closest to you hold you accountable as well. While wrestling isn’t consider a team sport, to be successful in this sport, any sport really, takes a village of people. Friends, family, teammates and coaches are all involved in the success of any athlete. But, it is great to find a teammate, or family member who will support your effort to use discipline as your tool and ally in making your season that much easier. Find a person you know will tell you like it is, and make sure that you stay consistent and on task because proper weight management makes wrestling that much easier.

Step Three; this will seem a bit counter intuitive, but GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Now, what I am saying here is not to have a CHEAT day and break your good habits. What I AM saying is that when you are consistent and work hard you DESERVE and EARN the chance to be normal. My senior year of high school, because I was very consistent with my diet and weight loss, I would often have some Oreos nearly every night as a reward for being consistent and working hard. In college I adopted Halo Top, a low calorie ice cream replacement (180 calories in the whole pint) and would use that as my reward. Part of success in any diet is having some reasons to stay on it. When I say to give yourself a break it’s akin to the needed rest days for someone lifting a lot. When you lift for strength if you go every day your body will not optimally recover and grow from each workout. The same goes for your diet. Being consistent over time will give you flexibility within this diet. You will earn the chances to not miss big meals, if you diet well pre-season you can eat Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. without being nervous. Diets don’t need to suck, YOU DON’T NEED TO STARVE! You just need to have consistent, good habits!

Discipline = Freedom, Food is not your Enemy, Bad Habits are.

Finally, the key to being successful as a wrestler, or any athlete for that matter, is by and large, being disciplined. In every sport the athletes who are hyper focused on attention to detail, and remain laser focused on their habits are the ones who have the most success. There are very few times when the truly elite will allow fluke instances. Great wrestlers can lose to an inferior opponent on occasion, but the true elite wrestlers hardly ever seem to get upset. My teammate Zain is one of the most disciplined people I have ever met. Through and through, in every aspect of his life he is disciplined; diet, sleep, training. Discipline allows him the freedom to live the life he sets out to. In his college wrestling career, he only ever lost as True Freshman. His losses came to Logan Stieber, a four time national champion and World Champion, and to Mitchell Port, arguably one of the best to never win an NCAA title. After that, he never lost another collegiate match, he won nearly ever match in shear dominate fashion and was awarded the Dan Hodge Trophy, the Heisman of Wrestling, twice for being the most dominate athlete in the sport. Zain won those matches by his habits and discipline around his life.

Zain aside, one thing I want to illustrate in this article if I can is that FOOD IS NOT THE ENEMY. We need food and water to survive. Three things in our life that our bodies can not go without, food, water, and sleep. All vitally important to our success. What I want to do with this post is give you insight and tools into how you can make dropping weight easier on yourself, your team, and your family. I don’t want you to become a calorie counting fiend who get’s caught up in planning each and every meal though. Food is not your enemy, DUMB FOODs and LIQUID CALORIES are. If you eat well, balanced diets of the essential food groups, and healthier foods, you can eat a lot more than you’d think. For reference here is a plate of fruit and it’s calories vs. an unhealthy Snickers. Fruit: about 250 calories, but that is obviously a lot of food. Snickers: 280 calories for next to nothing worth actual value. So amazingly, you CAN eat a lot if you are smart. A nice part about healthier foods is they tend to burn off faster too because your body can use them more to fuel your performance.

So to wrap this up, if you are smart, structured, and do things the right way you can dominate your opponent, your weight. You can also provide freedom to eat like a normal person while keeping your weight down without having to practice in sweats and plastics and truly make this sport suck. Wrestlers get a bad rap because everyone thinks you need to kill yourself for the sport, which is blatantly untrue. All it takes is to be smarter and work a little harder than other people are willing to. You CAN make this easy, a weight loss doesn’t have to be hard.

As an added resource, if you would like to enter your weight and see a chart of how your weight would descend given the caloric deficits I mentioned earlier, feel free to use this resource I built. It is a Google Sheets file that you can either download or just use directly on Google Sheets. However, if someone else is using it that will make it difficult. Please feel free to share it: Chart for Weight Management

P.S. Don’t Cut IF you don’t need to.

I want to end this with one idea that will challenge a lot of other people. Don’t cut weight if you don’t need to or want to. If it is best for your team for you to make a weight that is within range of your HEALTHY ability to lose weight, that’s your call. BUT, if you don’t need to lose weight to wrestle well and be successful, DON’T! Losing weight doesn’t need to be hard, but if it doesn’t need to happen at all than why bother? Why make life harder than it needs to be. In the wrestling classic Vision Quest, the main character Louden Swain was already the starter at 190lbs, and a returning state medalist there. He chose to drop down to 168lbs to challenge the State Champion there. His coach asked “Why make life harder on yourself?” and the entire movie you see Louden running places in a sauna suit, getting bad nose bleeds due to pushing his body too hard, and generally dropping matches just cause of his weight loss. So, IF YOU DON’T ABSOLUTELY NEED TO, DON’T DROP WEIGHT. Get stronger, wrestle a weight that is comfortable and continue to eat, grow, lift, and focus on technique. When the scale takes over your wrestling you lose yourself.

If you have read this far, thank you so much for reading this. I plan on making a video detailing a lot of this information as well, but until then please feel free to share this with anyone you think can benefit from it. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this, I hope this helps your athletes in some way! Even if it’s just one person who can use this to make life a little easier, and the sport that much more fun for them if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me directly at my cell, 856-341-6271 I am an open book and am here to help! Thank you, have a blessed day! -Coach Pat Higgins, Head Coach Centurion Wrestling Club.

Also if you would like to check out any of my other posts I highly recommend the below:

All about my Penn State Wrestling experience: My Penn State Wrestling Experience

Why I think Wrestling is and should be fun: Centurion Mindset: Wrestling is Fun!

Win or Learn, or as I call it: Centurion Mindset: Win or Get Better

Finally, the one that started everything: Why I Coach.

Published by Centurion Wrestling Club

Former D1 Wrestler at Penn State University. Member of Four national championship winning teams.

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