Proper nutrition is essential for any athlete, but becomes a more relevant topic when discussing sports with weight classes for competition. Athletes who participate in sports with specific weight classes can often become victim to focusing on their weight rather than their sport. Wrestling is notorious for athletes who have been injured and in some instances have died because of unsafe practices when cutting weight by rapidly dehydrating themselves. Wrestling can be a safe and rewarding sport, if weight control is achieved through proper diet and exercise.
Question: Is it safe for my child/athlete to cut weight?
Ans: “Cutting” weight through rapid water loss is something that is actively discouraged in youth wrestling. The sport of wrestling should focus on the overall well-being and health of our youth athletes, and needs to include a discussion of weight maintenance issues. Wrestling requires a great deal of physical conditioning and youth athletes’ primary focus should be on being in good shape. The process of rapid weight loss through dehydration should be avoided in all athletes. More mature and experienced athletes can safely lose weight at a rate of approximately 1 to 2 pounds per week by appropriately balancing the number of calories consumed with the number of calories burned through exercise. Part of being in good shape is maintaining a healthy body weight based upon height, age, and body fat percentage.
Question: How should a wrestler eat before weigh in? Should they?
Ans:Wrestlers need to eat! Athletes should avoid fasting before a performance—your body needs fuel to perform. What and how much depends on how soon before competition weigh-ins occur. A wrestler should eat the day before, night before, and morning of competition. A pre-competition meal should ideally occur at least 3 to 4 hours before competition.
Question: What should my wrestler be eating?
Ans:During the season, it is important to consume ANSWER enough calories and not worry about restricting caloric intake. Athletes should eat a balanced diet to maintain their health and fitness throughout the season. Complex carbohydrates are an important nutrient for replenishing energy lost during exercise, but plenty of protein is also required to aid muscle recovery. The key to staying strong and gaining strength without gaining weight is to control your caloric intake early on during the season. Once the workout intensity picks up and a good body weight is established, weight lifting should still be encouraged. However, weight lifting during the season should be designed as a circuit style lift geared towards muscle conditioning and endurance rather than pure strength and power.
As a sports medicine clinic, we spend a lot of time treating athletes’ bodies. And while many people have a pretty clear mental picture of what that means, we know firsthand that what makes an athlete an athlete has little to do with fitting a certain silhouette. Or, to put it another way, this year’s Body Issue from ESPN The Magazine is probably the most representative yet.
It’s no coincidence that the magazine is called the Body Issue; thin, fit people have been giving the rest of us body issues for years. So it was nice to see one athlete in particular gracing this year’s issue: Prince Fielder. At 275 pounds, the Texas Rangers first baseman can hardly be called svelte, and in many ways that’s okay. As a sports medicine clinic, we’ve definitely seen bigger athletes who were still healthy. If you don’t think your body could be called athletic, remember these key things:
- BMI is virtually meaningless. If you are an athlete with a high BMI, it may be due to muscle (which weighs more than fat, as we all know). Having a BMI over 25 does not necessarily make your overweight.
- You can be overweight and still be an athlete. Although maintaining a healthy weight is ideal for your health, being a fit person with a few extra pounds is better than being thin and out of shape.
- Sports injuries often come from doing too much, too soon. So if you want to shed some weight, make sure you take the time to increase your conditioning gradually. We rarely see someone get injured because of a little extra weight, so take it slow.
We have treated athletes with virtually every body type. The most important thing is being healthy enough to play the sports you love.
Over the past several years, the popularity of adventure races – like Tough Mudder, Urbanatholon, Spartan, etc. – has soared. Once restricted to a few diehard fans and organizations, these extreme races test all manner of athletic ability with man-made and natural obstacles designed to challenge the body and mind. But as these races have grown in popularity, so has the complexity of the obstacles they feature. This is both an exciting and worrisome prospect for any athlete planning on competing in one of these races. After all, the risk for injury is high and these races have come under fire for safety issues, including the accidental deaths of racers.
Every athlete wants a challenge, but it’s important not to expose yourself to unnecessary injury. When it comes to the obstacles in adventure races, as with other athletic endeavors, the proper training can help you stave off many common types of injuries (although they won’t save you from the wall of fire). If you are planning to run an adventure race and want to stay healthy, here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare.
- Work your whole body. Adventure races require more than the ability to run long distances. Most obstacles challenge you with some combination of strength, balance, and agility tests. You will need to be conditioned well enough to run distance, but also strong enough to lift and control your body weight (and possibility the weight of your teammates). For that reason, your exercise routine should include cardio and strength training.
- Get used to awkward movements. Although these types of movements frequently cause sports injuries – like sprains and ligament tears – training for the odd movements of an adventure race requires that you prepare to make such movements. The best way to do this is with slow, controlled movements during training. For instance, practicing lunges on a somewhat narrow edge can help you train for the balancing beams that so many races set up. If you do your lunges in a slow, controlled manner, you’ll have the strength needed to cross the balance beams at higher speeds, even if you have to stop suddenly.
- Vary your training speed. This includes running intervals (alternately fast for a few minutes, then slower for a longer period of time) and practicing more explosive movements that require you to accelerate quickly and then stop. Simply running long distances will not adequately prepare your muscles for the rigors of an adventure race.
Even with all the right training techniques, it’s still easy to get injured on one of these obstacle courses. Always remember to be mindful of what you’re doing and look out for dangers on the course. After all, there’s a reason these races require a legal release form before they let you participate.
Whenever you’re working out, you have a chance of being injured, but you can mitigate these odds through being safe and knowing proper form. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than when lifting weights. People love lifting weights, but many people (more than would care to admit) don’t know how to lift properly. So perhaps the new question ought to become, “Do you even lift properly, bro?” It’s a serious question worth asking.
What do you do before lifting?
When you’re lifting weights, what you do before you even start will determine your level of success and ability to stay injury-free. Men’s Health Magazine raises a number of good points about the proper pre-lifting routine, but one of their best reminders is about hydration. Human muscles are 75% water, which means they need h2o in order to function. The time to hydrate is before your workout, not during or after. You’ll also want to warm up gently. Never lift cold.
What to do during lifting?
- Check that you have two towels. You’ll want one to wipe off weights as you go and one for when you’re finished. Don’t wipe your body off with the same towel used on machines and weights.
- Use the proper amount of weight. What’s the proper amount? Not so much that you need momentum to lift and no so little that you can burn through a set of fifty reps like you’re lifting a kitten.
- Move slowly. Most people try to race through their lifting reps like it’s some kind of…race. Well, it’s not a race. In fact, the beauty of weight lifting is that it requires slow, controlled movement to fully engage your muscles without risking injury and to maximize results.
Keep these basic tips in mind and stay safe and healthy. Remember; always check with your doctor before trying a new strenuous activity. If you’ve never lifted before, or are getting back in the game, keep in mind that your body will need time to acclimate to this type of workout. Go easy on yourself and have fun.
While making time for exercise may seem like a challenge, we all know the importance of squeezing in even just a few minutes whenever we can. When we do finally make time for that jog, gym session, or simply taking the dog out we may not feel like spending any more time than necessary on our task. No matter if you take a quick walk around the block, or are a professional marathon runner, it’s absolutely crucial to manage your exercise time properly. Thus, it is also important to make time for stretching even if you only have a few minutes.
Static Stretches are Out
If you’re like many people, working stretches into a workout routine may feel like a waste of time. Or perhaps, the idea of dedicating time to stretching may conjure up bad memories of contorting your body before some archaic PE class activities. If you can recall what passed as stretching in your gym class, then you may remember the long, cold stretches where you were asked to hold a clumsy pose for as long as possible, until you couldn’t stand it any longer. Well, the good news is that this type of stretching is out. This is what is known as static stretching, which the American Sports College of Medicine has deemed outdated. The reason static stretching has been ousted is because studies have shown that not only is it ineffective, but it can even be dangerous. Static stretches don’t do any of the things they claim to. For example, static stretches don’t warm up your muscles before a workout. This is just one of the reasons that the static method actually impairs athletic performance, particularly before explosive exercises. Similarly, a poorly stretched body could end in a serious injury, requiring the attention of an athletic injury specialist. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Dynamic stretching.
Dynamic Stretches are In
Getting away from the old school world of static stretching before exercising is easy. Simply engage your body a bit more with dynamic stretching. Before any stretching, however, get the blood moving with a quick jog, or brisk walk. It’s fundamental that your body is warm before you do anything remotely strenuous. So, what is dynamic stretching? Well, in a nutshell, dynamic movements look a lot like yoga, which has been proven to be awesome for our bodies time and time again. Just think about the slow, controlled motions in much of yoga and that’s essentially what dynamic stretching is. It’s important to note that, just like yoga, dynamic movements always require proper form. So, before you do anything, be sure to consult reliable sources for what’s best for your physical fitness level. You may also want to consult your physician and ask them which dynamic stretches are best for you. While it may seem like a waste of precious workout time, getting your body properly warmed up and ready to exercise is vital to staying healthy.