Losing pounds, gaining pride: the positives of cutting weight in wrestling (Editorial)


Jarrett Wilson

LIGHT LIFESTYLES: A normal meal for a wrestler cutting weight may look bare to a normal person. However, these athletes are getting all the proper nutrition they need while being in peak physical shape. A normal meal usually consists of fruit, and some type of protein with water to wash it down.

Smack dab in the middle of the season with Christmas cookies and pie, some students in our school district may find these treats less than appetizing. With the wrestling season underway, a constant of the sport is in full swing: cutting weight.

Cutting weight is a practice commonly used in wrestling and other grappling sports like MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and many others, where athletes work to get down to a weight below the normal one they would compete at. The common conception from society is that the cut these wrestlers go through is unhealthy and is reached by unsafe practices. However I believe through precautions by the PIAA and proper guidance by coaches, wrestlers can elevate their performance on the mat, become more mentally tough, and benefit their team through the cutting weight process.

Through my own experience over my seasons of cutting weight, I have learned many lessons that simply make life easier. I know that no matter what life holds tomorrow, I will be a stronger person because I have chosen the sport I love over another plate at the dinner table or choosing to run off some weight instead of relaxing in my free time. The discipline that a cut teaches you helps you in life by learning to avoid distractions and temptations, leading to a controlled life.

Don’t get me wrong, there are absolutely times where I’m down and depleted, just wanting simple freedoms that everyone else has, to eat and drink whatever they want, but the rush of fulfillment when you reach your goals and help your team is worth all the turmoil you go through in the days prior.

In the past, wrestlers have driven themselves to the brink to make weight, however, now organizations like the PIAA have worked through the years to protect their wrestlers through new rules to “cut” down on unsafe practices like banning sauna suits or trash bag suits which make you lose weight rapidly causing dehydration and possibly overheating.

They have also worked to regiment how much and how fast wrestlers can lose the desired amount of weight by conducting hydration tests at the beginning of a season where athletes need to get down to the weight and show they can be hydrated at the same time. The precautions for how fast a wrestler can lose the weight are also controlled by dissension plans where wrestlers can only lose so much weight every week to prevent rapid dissension.

Organizations also give weight allowances for wrestlers wrestling back-to-back nights to give them room to hydrate and revamp their bodies, along with a holiday two-pound weight allowance, where wrestlers who have to weigh 152 pounds for example then get to weigh 154 pounds for the rest of the season to allow growth for the young adults competing, helping to cut down on the possible serious long-term risks of cutting weight incorrectly.

That last part is why I feel society gives cutting weight a bad rap: cutting weight incorrectly makes for a sad and sickening story. For example, “I starved myself and lost 5 pounds in a 2-hour practice” sounds way more concerning than “I ate just what I needed to and worked hard during practice.” People remember and spread stories that are interesting. Now there are still kids across the nation doing it the wrong way and creating unhealthy eating habits mixed with unsafe practices like stated above. But that is simply because they have the wrong guidance.

Thankfully in my case, my coaches have taught me and my teammates how to properly lose weight without putting ourselves at risk. This guidance has taught me many things about myself and many lessons that I can use in the real world to become a better version of myself.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2021-2022 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.

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