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In every lightweight rower or coxswain's life there comes a time right before spring sprint season, after a winter of decadence and eating, where one finds themself 5 pounds over the minimum weight. For February, I have to get under 109--which is best done by careful and gradual diet and exercise, but sometimes... you gotta do what you gotta do.

48 hours until race - Stop eating heavy foods. Pickles and celery are your friends-- no calories. Drink water constantly to flush it all out of your system, just in case you pick up some inadvertent protein or vitamins.

24 hours until race - Stop eating. Keep on drinking water.

6 hours until race - Stop drinking water. Whatever you do, don't drink anything-- resist peer pressure. This is the most essential step of the weight crash process.

1 hour until race - Run for 10-30 minutes wearing sweats and/or plastic bags, depending on the heat and humidity. Always run supervised-- beware of heatstroke. Take a shower and make sure your hair is dry. I've lost as much as 4 pounds in 3 miles. Spit into a cup. I learned this from some wrestler friends; it helps to chew gum to generate saliva.

At launch - Breathe light. Socks are extra weight and are for the weak.

After Race - All you can eat lunch buffet $4.95 at Caliente Cab Co. near 8th St. and University Place. We have lived to row another day.

Disclaimer: Not responsible or liable for any injury or death, apart from my own, that will most likely result from reading this node.

For the more wrestling inclined, this type of ritual is compressed into a weekly rotation. Here is a typical (if brief) example of an amateur wrestler's week:

  • First of all, if you're on or under weight, do what you have to to stay there. No reason for you to work harder than you have to.
  • Night after last weigh-in/tournament -- Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!
  • First day of cutting weight -- Denial. You have all week, so you can practice normally.
  • A few more days -- Practice hard, maybe even use sweats and exercise machines, but eat relatively normally.
  • Night before weigh-in -- Uh-oh. Stop drinking water. Some people start their spitting routine now, and haircuts aren't uncommon.
  • 12 hours before WI -- Morning run (before school), probably shouldn't shower (don't want to absorb that moisture, now do we?). Try not to sleep through all your classes, ok?
  • 6 hours before WI -- This is about the same time "normal" people are eating lunch. I tend to use this time to amass food for after the WI, or use my pity factor to get some quick cash. If you've been spitting, you've probably run out of saliva. If you haven't been, start using gum or hard candy to induce salivation. If you're all out, you might want to run.
  • 3 hours before -- School's out, or you don't have class. Now we get down to work: depending on how far away you are, either start running or sleep.
  • 2 hours before -- Some sort of pre-WI practice, usually for those not needing to lose weight to pound on those that do. Coaches like to set up 3-on-1 round-robins to get the heavies to work harder.
  • 1 hour before --The waiting. If your coaches and teammates and yourself have done your/their jobs, you should be on or under weight. You just have to wait for it to be time to weigh in.
  • After WI -- Get water. Right away. You need to start getting your body ready for the physical and mental beating that wrestling wreaks upon you, so get hydrated and eat the best possible food you can. And look out for the next weigh in. When you're clear and copius, you're hydrated.

Of course, cutting weight cannot compete at all for being easily on weight. By my senior year in high school, I could lose 10lbs in practice no problem, just from hard work. In fact, my typical yo-yo weight went between 142lbs and 134lbs, day in and day out.

note: this information is from my experience in high school amateur wrestling in the state of Michigan. Your milage may vary, and don't get yourself killed, because I won't take responsibility for it.

Alright, I know how to cut weight! (more drastic measures for wrestlers):

first off, most wrestlers cut weight to a cetain degree and it is common to be one or two pounds overweight- you can lose that simply by not eating or drinking- but on the other hand, there are times when one is more overweight and more drastic measures must be used. Here is "my way" which allowed me to cut between six and eight pounds to make weight every week.

The basics:

  • Get a haircut: hair weighs something, getting rid of it can't hurt you, besides which it is easier to wrestle if you don't have to worry about getting your hair pulled or caught in your eyes.
  • What to wear: at practice, wear a sweatsuit or windsuit at all times, as it will keep you warm, which is required in order to sweat.
  • Run-run for half an hour every day before practice.
  • Practice- in practice, keep wearing your sweats and try not to drink water.

For food, try to count calories- pickles are good because they are tasty and low in calories. I generally ate a normal breakfast, and then a very small lunch and dinner. Diet is something that you really have to experiment with- the general principle is to use more calories than you eat, but not in an egregious manner- if you starve yourself completely, you will not be any good to wrestle.

The day before a weigh-in, stop drinking water. At this point you may or may not be able to make weight. If you still need to cut, you can resort to more drastic measures. These are the main ones that I have seen/done :

  • Ride an exercise bike: for however long it takes to sweat out enough water to make weight. (Set an upper limit of 1 hour 15 minutes)
  • Find a hot room (example: a bathroom with the shower turned on) and do jumping jacks (or skip rope)
  • don't shower-water gets absorbed into your skin if you do.
  • spit- people actually do this, again it is just getting water out of your system.
Now here comes my talk about weight cutting: don't do it!---You have to know that cutting weight is a detriment to your performance as a wrestler and can potentially hospitalize you or (rarely)kill you. From personal experience, I can tell you that during my weight cutting days at one point my body fat was around 3% and i was weak as a kitten and exhausted from making weight. Eventually, I went up 1 weight class and instantly my wrestling became ten times better.

(brought to you by the E2 procrastination project)

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