Wrestlers look to make weight class in healthy ways

Wrestling is a popular sport all around the world including in numerous high schools. Nationwide, wrestling has raised some concerns–according to Waldeningeatingdisorders.com, 33% of male wrestlers are affected by eating disorders. Wrestling is a demanding sport on the body where the wrestler has to make many complex moves, and needs to alter their physical body. According to “Eating Disorders Hope”, “wrestling often demands athletes have a lean body build and wrestlers will commonly engage in abnormal eating and exercise behaviors in an attempt to meet the rigorous body demands that are typically created by the sport.”

There are different ways where this person may get a leaner body build, but a common practice that some wrestlers do is to limit their food consumption. Also, ways that wrestlers may lose weight for wrestling could include forced vomiting, laxatives, and strict diets, these all show symptoms of an eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. According to railernews.org, many wrestlers did this when the introduction of weight classes was introduced in wrestling. Weight classes are when wrestlers are separated by weight so there won’t be any fair disadvantages when wrestlers compete with one another and there will be decreased injuries when wrestling with competitors the same size and build as themselves. When wrestlers get separated because of their weight this may encourage certain wrestlers and makes them more aware of their weight and they may go to extreme measures to lose weight to get into the weight class they want to be in. 

According to EatingDisordersHope.com, when wrestlers go to this extreme to lose weight it actually harms their performance. Not eating and not having a balanced diet will make the wrestler become lousier and so they lose energy a lot faster, this may even allow for the wrestler to get injuries while competing with low energy. 

Eating disorders can have long-term health effects; they can affect the nerves in your brain and being able to send signals to your brain to other parts of your body, reduce heart rate which deprives the brain of oxygen, a weakened brain response, shrink in the overall size of the brain, anxiety, depression, and etc. 

Students at AL have had their own experiences with wrestling and losing weight to fit in a certain class. While these students enjoy wrestling they do agree that there should be healthier alternatives to losing weight rather than causing harm to their bodies.

Former wrestler Connor Hytrek said, “I have wrestled for about 13 years. It was fun most of the time, but some of the time it wasn’t so fun. I was cutting weight or struggling with the moves I was learning. High school was pretty rough because it was consistently cutting weight.”

Wrestlers were aware of the negative effects wrestling has had on their physical and mental health and knew they had to change how they would lose weight and think of healthier alternatives. 

“I recommend eating healthier instead of eating junk food and waiting until the last minute to make weight,” Quinn Velder said. 

Coach Michael Childers makes it very clear that he and the other coaches promote healthy eating habits and healthy food, and says that kids do not cut weight as much anymore. 

“We recommend a better diet, we always encourage good things in their body instead of soda, candy, and high sugar. Healthy foods are easier to cut. I think kids are happy and healthy with their results.”