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Running Head: Nutrition, Hygiene, and Weight Loss in Wrestling

Nutrition, Hygiene, and Weight Loss in Wrestling


Andrew R Del Genio
Senior Project
December 1, 2014

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Introduction
Wrestling has been a great sport in human history, dating back to ancient times. Wrestling
has been a sport to spark much debate especially in recent years as our technology increases and
scientist make new discoveries. As a former wrestler this topic is taken very seriously and it is
important for others to learn about this great sport, that is why this topic was chosen. Wrestling
has been a great influence in my life mentally and physically. This senior project is about me
going and finding the answers to questions often brought up in wrestling. These questions are the
importance of nutrition and hygiene in wrestling and the positive and negative effects of weight
loss on a wrestler. Nutrition being most important to a wrestler, weight management is not far
behind. As an Olympic sport its important for people to learn about the positives and negatives
of wrestling. Keeping track of nutrition, performing proper hygiene methods, and correctly
managing weight is whats needed for a wrestler to perform at their highest quality.

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Nutrition is the most important factor in wrestling. In 2001, Doug Schwab, a very
accomplished wrestler lost in the NCAA college wrestling finals and many, including his brother
think it was due to lack of proper nutrition. Doug had only eaten two bananas that day, and that
was five hours before his match and while training vigorously; that was not enough to fuel him
and let him wrestle at peak performance (Krumrie, 2014). You might ask, Why wasnt that
enough? The answer is quite easy, the body needs carbohydrates and other essentials to perform
at highest quality, and if you lack proper nutrition you will become very tired, essentially weak,
and not be able to perform at your highest quality. Doug did not properly take care of his
nutrition and did not perform at his highest quality, and although it seems quite nonsensical this
problem is very, very normal with wrestlers. Wrestlers, especially at the high school level, keep
themselves at a level of malnutrition at wrestling tournaments way too often. Scientists have
done a lot of research to attack this problem, and coaches have done a pretty good job in more
recent years to implement a guideline for their wrestlers to keep a good, healthy, and effective
diet. Mark Schwab, Dougs brother, is an assistant coach at Northern Iowa and says that they
have given their wrestlers a general nutrition plan, but says I have found that you have to stress
your points again and again. So why dont wrestlers take nutrition as seriously as they should?
There are quite a few answers to that question, one is lack of knowledge, and another is wrestlers
starving themselves to make weight. This correlates with the next topic, Weight management
and the positive as well as the negative effects of weight loss.
Weight management has been one of the biggest topics in wrestling for a lot of years now
and as new discoveries are made about the affects it has on the body. Wrestlers have a period
known as weight cutting where they engage in extreme physical activity and give their body very

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little food or drink. This part about wrestling is probably one of the most controversial and its
understandable because some athletes have died from this. Wrestlers have died from kidney
failure, heart attack, and heat stroke (Viscardi, n.d.). That is not what the sport is about and
NCAA makes that clear as they implemented these rules very swiftly after news of wrestlers
passing away from extreme weight cutting. Some of those rules are that wrestlers are not to take
laxatives, self-induced fluid restriction, self-induced vomiting, staying inside hot rooms, hot
boxes and steam rooms for dehydration. Accordingly the uses of saunas, which are any room
above 79 degrees, and rubber suits, are now banned. There has also been an increase in the
weight allowance, and weigh-ins will now be two hours before competition instead of 24 hours
before. These are just some simple steps that NCAA has made and there shall be more to come to
ensure the health and safety of wrestlers. Its important to know advantages and disadvantages of
weight loss on a wrestler. Its a known fact that wrestling is an intense physical training and the
wrestler will lose a lot of body fat and essentially weight. Now if you are properly fueling
yourself with this weight loss it can be very healthy, but if you fail to stay hydrated and keep
good nutrition then this weight loss can be extremely unhealthy. Weight loss can keep your body
at a healthy, peak physical condition and ultimately make the wrestler feel good. Its also
important to keep this weight loss healthy because if not you can develop diseases, get very sick,
and a very commonly there is a stunting of growth (Krumrie, n.d.).
Nowadays, and maybe always hygiene has been something very under looked by
wrestlers but after you read some of the names of diseases Im about to name your body will
cringe in disgust. Staph infection, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA),
impetigo, ringworm, and I must say those names just sound awful. These are all very serious
conditions and can be easily caught if wrestlers do not take hygiene seriously. So how does the

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wrestler go about preventing these nasty skin infections? Here are some ways to ensure that a
wrestler can stay healthy. First it starts with the coaches, they need to emphasize the importance
of hygiene to their wrestlers and teach them proper hygiene routines to follow. Daily skin checks
are recommended; always know whats going on and off the mat. Its important wrestlers do their
part and bring multiple sets of clothes to every practice, use the anti-bacterial foams in practice
intermissions and never, ever wear clothes that have been previously worn and not yet been
washed (Krumrie, Clean and Mean). Parents are a key role in the proper hygiene process.
Parents need to emphasize the importance of showering at home and keeping dirty clothes clean,
also need to keep their eye open if something looks to develop so it can be treated effectively as
soon as possible!
Nutrition, hygiene, and weight loss in wrestling are all very complex, but I want my
reader to have knowledge as if they were the ones that read each article and can carry the
knowledge to others about the sport. Training hard is only half the battle. Just as you must take
a systematic approach towards your training, you must be equally as thoughtful about what you
eat and drink (iSport, Nutrition for Wrestlers). Wrestlers nowadays are caring more than ever
about their own diet and they should as it has constantly been proven that a strong, healthy diet
correlates with success on, but also off the mat. Proteins might just be the second most important
for wrestlers, they aid in the recovery and growth of muscle tissue. The Most important nutrient
for wrestlers has to be their carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are what keeps you running, and what
keeps to energized and ready to compete. Weight management runs hand-in-hand with nutrition.
Weight loss most be explained in more depth because it is the most misunderstood and therefore
controversial topic in wrestling and good knowledge of this topic is key. Weight loss of more
than two pounds per week must involve either dehydration or starvation and it is exactly this type

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of weight loss that is most damaging to the body, and thats why nutrition is so important. Rapid
weight loss is dangerous and sometimes unavoidable unless the wrestler keeps on the diet they
implemented for wrestling season. If the wrestler doesnt have a diet plan then they are already
not wrestling to full potential. The problems most people recognize about wrestlers are their
extremely vigorous training, and their dangerous diet following that physical activity. Thats the
problem; wrestlers try and find that edge on their opponents and the weight cutting is where
wrestlers over many years have thought that was where you could find that edge. The NCAA has
worked very hard to try and eliminate this behavior, and find solutions to the negative effects of
the weight loss. What most wrestlers dont know is that a wrestler cutting weight through a
season has been found to be weaker in their arms and legs thus not being able to actually perform
at their highest level.
Not all weight loss in wrestling is bad. Wrestlers who find themselves on a healthy diet
correlating with their intense training are losing a lot of unneeded fats and start developing
muscle tissue at a very high rate. Its known that working out brings a person happiness, and
along with the healthy weight loss you find pride in yourself and keep a positive attitude not just
on but off the mat too. Weight loss is up to the individual wrestler, theres healthy and unhealthy
weight loss and each as its own effects, and its up to the wrestler to do what they need to, to gain
the benefits of the good weightless. Hygiene is a very important topic because its still very alive
today. At Middletown we have had to quarantine the mats do suspicion of MRSA. This is
serious because hygiene is to an extent in control of the individual, but in reality controlled by
the whole wrestling community. Its up to everyone, the wrestlers need to keep themselves at
proper hygiene levels and its up to those running the tournaments to keep the environment safe
for its wrestlers to wrestle. It starts with the coaches emphasizing importance and ends with

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parents making sure their wrestlers equipment is wiped down, their clothes are freshly cleaned
and that their child is wiping down at home and showering right away (Krumrie, Clean and
mean). Wrestlers have to report any suspicion of skin disease as soon as they notice, its ok and
can happen, wrestler must not panic and have to reach an adult as soon as possible for the safety
of them and the safety of their whole team, a wrestler cannot be scared to tell someone!
Wrestling is a great sport and its a part of every human beings culture, its an original
Olympic sport and it deserves to be understood and recognized by people. Using 3 of the most
influential topics in wrestling this paper reads how keep track of nutrition, performing proper
hygiene methods, and correctly managing weight to perform at the highest possible level.

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References
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Krumrie, M. (n.d.). USA Wrestling. Fueling Success Proper Tournament Day Nutrition.
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wrestling/features/2014/february/18/fueling-success-proper-tournament-day-nutrition
Krumrie, M. (n.d.). Clean and Mean: Maintaining Good Hygiene On and Off the Mat. USA
Wrestling.

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Wrestling/Features/2013/December/10/Clean-and-Mean?p=1

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Viscardi, M. (n.d.). By: Mike Viscardi. Weight Issues In Wrestling--Final Version. Retrieved
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http://www.vanderbilt.edu/AnS/psychology/health_psychology/Weight-Wrestling.htm