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High School Wrestling: Diet and Supplements
The nutritional plan that a wrestler follows can be a factor in his performance. Different foods provide different nutrients to our body. Although food is the most important part of your nutritional plan, supplements can also be an added benefit. Some wrestlers want to lose weight. Some wrestlers don’t need to lose weight. Regardless of whether or not a wrestler needs to lose weight, all wrestlers want to be strong and have enough energy.
Protein (4 calories per gram)
The body uses protein to perform many functions. I believe most of you know that one of the main functions of protein is building and repairing body tissues (eg muscle). Proteins are made of amino acids. Essential amino acids are amino acids that the body cannot make and must be supplied by the human diet. A complete protein provides all the essential amino acids. Most complete proteins come from animal sources. We are talking about meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, and eggs. Why is protein important for a wrestler? Wrestling is healthy and can be catabolic (ie muscle breakdown).
How much protein do you need? Some studies have suggested that athletes need more protein than sedentary people do. Your diet should get about 25% of your calories from protein.
Good Sources of Protein:
- lean beef
- boneless, skinless chicken
- lean pork
- fish without bread
- cottage cheese
Interesting fact about Cottage Cheese:
Cottage cheese contains a large amount of a milk protein called casein. In fact, cottage cheese is almost 100% unprocessed casein. Casein digests slowly in the body. Casein provides a slow absorption of amino acids after eating. Therefore, if you eat some cottage cheese before bed you can get a slow trickle of amino acids (ie protein) into your body every night that can be anti-catabolic (ie prevent the reduction of muscle tissue) while repairing the muscle tissue. during sleep.
About the eggs:
Eggs have a Biological Value (BV) of 100. Our bodies use the protein in eggs very well. Even whites have a BV of 88. I do not recommend eating only egg whites even if they are low in fat and calories. I think nature made eggs to be eaten with yolk and white as a sack. One large whole egg contains about six grams of protein. Eggs are nutritious. If you are concerned about calories, you can poach the eggs or fry them in a non-stick pan. Liquid egg white products are available if you prefer. Remember that it’s probably not a good idea to eat raw eggs like Rocky Balboa.
Beans are interesting because they can be a good source of protein and carbohydrates. Beans also provide fiber that can help keep you full if you’re trying to eat. Beans and rice are a popular combination for providing a diet that includes all or nearly all essential amino acids. Some experts consider a combination of beans and rice to be the perfect protein.
A guy named Tim Ferriss proposed something he called a “low-carb” diet for weight loss. Beans and vegetables are an important part of this meal plan. For example, a meal might include ground beef, pinto beans, and mixed vegetables. Other foods may include eggs, black beans, and mixed vegetables. The diet does not include carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, and fruits so it is not a very good diet for a wrestler. I just think it’s interesting as a weight loss option and because of its reliance on beans and legumes.
Carbohydrates (4 calories per gram)
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source. In other words, carbohydrates give you energy. Fighting and competing obviously requires a lot of energy. So, make sure you have plenty of carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and other sugars. Glucose is your brain’s preferred fuel source. Most of this glucose is stored in your muscles in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is then used as an energy source. Your diet should get about 60% of your calories from carbohydrates. There are complex carbohydrates like breads and cereals and simple carbohydrates like fruit. Teach yourself.
Good sources of carbohydrates:
- sweet potatoes
When I was wrestling in high school, I ate a lot of carbohydrates. For example, I actually eat a lot of rice cakes. I think I could eat five rice cakes for the same amount of calories in a can of soda. I know you might think they sound like Styrofoam but I’m used to them. I also eat a lot of potatoes without butter, salt, or other ingredients. I ate several bowls of plain oatmeal. I have become accustomed to eating simple food. Of course, I still have the occasional Pop-Tart or candy bar.
About Fruits and Vegetables:
Why eat a candy bar when you can eat two large apples for the same amount of calories? That was my idea back in high school when I was dieting for wrestling. Fruits and vegetables are often fat free, low in calories, high in water content, high in fiber, and rich in nutrients like antioxidants. I ate many meals of green beans then. I have an apple or two almost every day. I can eat a lot of food for a small amount of calories.
Fat (9 calories per gram)
Fats provide twice the number of calories per gram as proteins and carbohydrates. So, you don’t want to eat too much fat. However, you should not eliminate fat completely from your diet. Your diet should get about 15% of your calories from fats. Fats do many important things in our bodies. Fats build healthy cell membranes. Fats help make hormones like testosterone. Your brain is approximately sixty percent fat. Certain fats can help keep your skin smooth and healthy. Moreover, fat cushions your body.
You have probably heard of various fats such as saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, hydrogenated, and trans fats. Dr. Eric Serrano believes that saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats are important. However, he recommends avoiding hydrogenated fats altogether. You may want to research fats and essential fatty acids. You may also want to do an online search for Dr. Eric Serrano, Udo Erasmus, Dr. Bill Sears, and Dr. Joseph Mercola about healthy fats.
Some good sources of Fat to consider:
- extra virgin olive oil
- flax oil
- oil oil
- cod liver oil
- peanut butter
- virgin coconut oil
Don’t be afraid to eat whole eggs, lean red meat, salmon, tuna, and even some butter occasionally. Coconut oil is a saturated fat. However, if you do a little research about virgin coconut oil you will find that it has many potential health benefits. Additionally, remember to limit or avoid hydrogenated fats and trans fats.
I was advised at a wrestling camp to try to eat a diet of about 80% healthy food and 20% unhealthy food during a fight. I guess they think that no one can be healthy 100% of the time. That might be the right idea.
In the book Blood in the Bird, author L. Jon Wertheim writes about Pat Miletich, former wrestler and former UFC champion. Pat and most of his fighters follow Miletich’s so-called “fighter diet” when a match is approaching. This diet consists mainly of oatmeal, eggs, and lean, boneless chicken.
Fast Food Tips:
- Have water or milk instead of pop
- Grilled chicken in sandwiches and soft shell tacos
- Make grilled chicken breast, grilled beef, and roast beef on small sandwiches
- Make a garden salad with a little dressing
- Make a baked potato without butter, sour cream, or cheese
- Make a small hamburger without cheese, bacon, or mayonnaise
- Avoid fried foods, bread, and battered foods
Keep in mind:
- One serving equals 3,500 calories
- If you cut 500 calories a day from your diet you will lose approximately one pound per week
- A simple way to determine the number of calories you need to eat in a day to lose weight is to take 10 times your current body weight (for example 150 X 10 = 1,500 calories)
- A simple way to determine the number of calories you need to eat per day to maintain weight is to take your current body weight times 15 (for example 130 X 15 = 1,950 calories)
- A calorie counter and food measurement can be helpful; read the food label
- Try to avoid empty calories as found in soda pop and candy
- Keep your pre-competition meal light and carbohydrate-based
I do not recommend cutting weight or starving. You need food to fuel your body. Also, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If you choose to lose weight, do it slowly and carefully. You don’t want to lose muscle mass and strength. In addition, you need energy for hard actions.
If you are vegetarian or vegan:
Strength coach Mike Mahler is a vegetarian (ie he doesn’t eat any animal products) and yet he’s big and strong. Some foods to include in your diet include fruits, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, beans, lentils, vegetables, coconut milk, healthy fats like olive oil, and rice protein powder.
As far as your pre-competition diet goes, stick to it. That is not the time to try new foods. Keep it light and carbohydrate source and have energy. Food that is heavier with more fat will be slower to digest. On the other hand, your pre-competition meal should be something you enjoy. I think I read somewhere that boxer Sugar Ray Leonard liked to have a cheeseburger before a big fight. I wouldn’t recommend that, but it seems to work well for him. Olympic champion speed skater Bonnie Blair’s racing diet is always a peanut butter and jelly snack. I had a friend in high school who had one of the biggest basketball games after a meal of several bowls of chili. Personally, I always like to have pancakes before a match. For some people who will probably sit too heavy in their stomach. I like to have jelly sandwiches and Pop-Tarts at wrestling matches if I need something between matches. Find what works for you.
Supplements to Consider:
- Multivitamin – to cover anything you may be missing in your diet
- Meal Replacement Products (MRPs) – shakes like Myoplex and Met-Rx provide protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals if you don’t have time to eat.
- Whey protein – whey protein is absorbed quickly by the body and is ideal for a post workout shake
- Glutamine – can help you maintain muscle if you eat it; improve immune function
- Creatine monohydrate – provides energy to your muscles; make sure you stay hydrated if you use this supplement
- Complex chain amino acids (BCAAs) – can help with recovery and repair
- Inosine – can give you great endurance by supporting the regeneration of ATP
- HMB – can help slow the breakdown of muscle tissue (ie anti-catabolic)
- Beta-alanine – can help increase your performance through its ability to break down lactic acid
- Caffeine – can increase energy and alertness
It probably doesn’t need to be added at all. Eat a healthy diet with lots of nutrients and stay hydrated. That will do more for you than any supplement you can do. In addition, supplements can be expensive. Moreover, some supplements work for one wrestler and not for another. Therefore, if you choose to use supplements be careful and be careful. Do some research about the potential benefits and risks of any supplement before using it.
I am not a nutritionist or dietitian. I am not an expert on nutritional supplements. Read articles and books related to nutrition and supplements. I have provided a rough guide to help you get started. Remember that your body needs fuel to function properly. Food is that fuel. So, be sure to make smart nutritional choices on your road to wrestling success.
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