To be able to compete, women wrestlers must stay within a specific weight range, known as a weight class. As it is hard to maintain a constant weight, especially for women, it might sometimes mean that they need to lose weight before a match. Most of the time, female wrestlers only lose water, which has no long-term effect on their actual weight. They regain it just hours after the competition by eating.
Female wrestlers cut their weight before a competition by eating according to a customized meal plan that is adjusted based on their weight goals while keeping in mind their monthly cycle. They also ensure they are emptying their bowels and restricting water intake before the match.
Cutting weight before a competition is a common activity that is carried out by all wrestlers regularly. In this article, we’ll discuss how female wrestlers lose weight and some tips to get fit before a competition.
Why Is a Female Wrestler’s Weight Important for the Match?
Female fighters are incentivized to lose weight because it allows them to compete in a lower-weight class. Strength is an important factor in competitions and is directly correlated with weight. Wrestlers weigh in before their match after a few days of weight cutting to make it to the weight class they were aiming for.
Weight cutting is essential in many physical sports since it is correlated with strength.
Basically, the more weight you have, the stronger you are.
This is why many contact sports, such as wrestling and boxing, have weight classes. These weight classes aim to make the fight focus on techniques rather than strength.
Just imagine fighting someone who is 50 lbs heavier than you; the difference in strength is too much that the matches will be unfair.
Thus, weight classes are essential.
Recommended Read: To get more information on the importance of weight classes, feel free to read my other post here: How do Wrestling classes work, and why do they matter?
Cutting weight for females is different from males.
As a male, I often heard my women colleagues talk about how difficult it is to cut weight because of their monthly cycle or, as they often say, their hormones.
So, I decided to ask them for tips on how they cut their weight to help those seeking ways to cut weight properly.
Like everything, we can get an impressive result if we choose the proper methods. As a woman, you need to try even harder because of your menstrual cycles and higher estrogen levels (that cause weight gain faster).
While weight is just a tiny part of the many aspects that help a women wrestler fight well, it can be a significant factor in your victory.
How Do Female Wrestlers Cut Weight?
To lose weight, most female wrestlers use methods such as proper diet, exercise, calorie restriction, fasting, and various dehydration methods (which are not always healthy). Women wrestlers often believe that engaging in such behavior will improve their performance, but it usually has the opposite effect.
Remember that wrestling is not just cutting your weight to get into your weight class. It is also essential to go to matches in perfect condition.
Cutting weight incorrectly could affect not only your athletic performance but also your health.
In fact, State High School Associations have set a limit to weight cutting as some go for dangerous ways of reducing their weight.
Most High School State Associations stated that female wrestlers aren’t allowed to lose 12% of their body fat since more than that is excessively stressful for their bodies.
While getting to your optimal weight class matters in wrestling, there are times when we should only aim for weight classes that are safe.
It would be best if you remembered not to do anything that may permanently affect your body. Please work with your body rather than against it.
With these, let’s discuss some safe ways women can lose weight.
In this section, I will tell you how women wrestlers lose weight. They are equally important because they will help you reach your optimal weight right before the match.
1. Time Weight Loss With Your Menstrual Cycle
To understand how to cut weight as a female athlete properly, we must first understand the menstrual cycle.
The ‘average’ menstrual cycle is 28 days long. Of course, that isn’t always the case, but it’s a good starting point and what is considered normal.
If we know that cravings occur later in the cycle, the coach and athlete can plan nutrition based on how the cycle affects the athlete at different times, what foods play a role, the hormonal impact, and any differences in training.
During that time of the month, women tend to experience bloating by gaining a few pounds.
To be honest, I’m pretty unfamiliar with this since I am a male. However, when I asked my female colleagues, they said this is very important in cutting weight.
Since their hormones can act differently depending on their monthly period, setting the right diet and training regimen depending on their hormones is crucial for healthy weight cutting.
2. Keep Your Intestines Empty
Try to empty that colon as much as possible.
Some of my female colleagues swear by having coffee since it helps move their bowels.
It is also an excellent way to lose weight by fasting the day before the weigh-in.
This method requires no effort and has no negative impact on your performance.
This way, your body has the time to digest and excrete the food you had the previous day.
Remember that the food we eat will be included in our weigh-in. Thus, keeping our intestines empty is a great way to cut some weight.
The food consumed in the previous 24 hours is still contained within this set of tubes. This has no benefit and is just a waste.
An athlete can lose another 1-2 pounds without doing anything else by cleaning out their bowels.
It is not recommended to fast for more than one day as it can affect your athletic performance in the match.
3. Eat the Right Foods
If you want to fight, you should eat healthily and stay close to your competition’s weight class. There is no justification.
Eating healthily is a requirement, not an option. If you want to be a serious athlete, your career begins with what you feed your body.
Eating a lot of Cheetos or a big mac won’t help you lose weight for your weigh-ins.
Eliminate all fast food, junk food, and sugary drinks, including energy drinks and fruit juices.
Some of my friends said that a granola bar and a piece of fruit work wonders because of their fiber content which helps them feel full for longer.
Throughout the day, try to eat smaller meals. It is preferable to snack throughout the day rather than eat a large lunch. Do not, under any circumstances, eliminate water.
While reducing a lot of water weight by not drinking water is a fast way to shed some pounds, we should always use safe ways to lose weight.
At all times, I recommend staying within five to ten pounds of your competition’s weight. If you’re unsure what to eat, educate yourself by reading, consult your coach, and make an appointment with a nutritionist.
Women wrestlers may have some extra weight they can afford to lose, but the number of pounds for each athlete varies depending on their size.
4. Sweat Out
If you wonder why some wrestlers go to a sauna to reduce weight, sweating is a great way to reduce water weight.
This is also why some of them have a training regimen aimed to help them sweat a lot.
Try going for a long run or go trekking right before the competition.
Sweating in a sauna is also a good way for wrestlers to lose water weight.
It’s much faster to sweat a lot than to do things that dehydrate you all day.
A high-intensity interval training session of five minutes is also a great idea to lose that water weight.
An athlete should ideally do a sauna session close to weigh-in because it’s critical to replace electrolytes and fluids after sweating.
5. Restrict Water Intake
The simplest and most effective way to start losing weight is to reduce or eliminate fluid intake. Your body loses fluid constantly through breathing, sweating, and urination.
You will lose weight for every minute and hour that you do not replace the fluid.
However, I do not recommend that you completely restrict your water intake. Reducing the amount you drink is okay but not drinking for the duration of your weight-cutting is dangerous.
A balance is always necessary. Water is essential for our health.
However, I must admit that this process requires no additional energy from the fighter, and you can lose up to 5-6 pounds in 24 hours without drinking.
Athletes can go 24 hours without drinking anything before the weigh-in.
But I must repeat that I do not recommend this method of weight cutting. You must consult your doctor and fitness coach before taking extreme measures.
What’s Next? Have you ever wondered how some female wrestlers manage their periods? I had colleagues who had the same problem and got ways to cope. So I asked them for advice and came up with this post: How do female wrestlers deal with their period?