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russelscout

Weight Cutting Education

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I will say up front that I have never been in a D1 program. However, I have been around NAIA, D3, and D2 programs for several years, with many years in high school coaching. My question to the board is how far removed are we antiquated weight cutting of the old days to the 90's? I listened to Flo discuss the sauna rule, which I do agree with, but I also believe we still have an issue with how kids are losing weight, and how many coaches just look the other way, or embrace it because that is how they cut back in their day. Kids are not dying now, but it is far from optimal. I still see so many kids come into a season 20, 30 or even 40 lbs over their desired weight and talk about their weight loss like it was no big deal. For a body builder trying to cut and maintain muscle, a cut like that would take 5-6 months or more. I know kids cheat the hydration testing. I have seen wrestlers spend countless hours on treadmills a month out of competition trying to get water out of the system. I have seen the guys who start out a season lean and strong and become soft and weak by the end of the season, but that is just in high school and small colleges. Is this still a problem? Also, with weight loss such a large part of our sport, how do we not have more information available to the general public on weight loss such as macronutrient break downs and proper weight loss training for wrestlers?



 

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31 minutes ago, teach said:

weight loss is different for everyone, that is part of the issue.  My experience is that college is better than HS because it is just to hard to compete if you do not have energy.

I have seen this too. Hs is consistently bad, and many college kids are more disciplined. However, I have seen more extreme cutting tactics in college. One thing I've never seen- an athlete who counts his calories and tracks his macronutrients

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Saunas are still being used on the collegiate level.  Wrestling facilities are now becoming more isolated from the regular fitness areas which have saunas for regular students or faculty and administrators.  A coach cannot be in two places at one time.

But as a whole, weight cutting has improved drastically and even here in PA, it isn't uncommon for state level wrestlers to only cut 10 pounds and it is usually only at the end (with the slow descent starting in January).  The attitudes have changed and with the high level of competitions that these kids go to nationally through the offseason, they aren't as concerned with losing matches during the season and would rather not cut from November to January even if it means a crazier kid that is willing to cut all season for meaningless wins beats you.

There is also improved nutrition information compared to the 70's, 80's and 90's and many of the top college wrestlers stopped considering themselves wrestlers and now look at themselves as athletes.  An athlete is the complete package when it comes to nutrition, strength, sleep, lifestyle and maintaining a lower body fat % all year, not just during the season.  This equals less extreme weight loss.  Serious Tour de France competitors even drop weight to their "optimum performance weight".  Wrestling is no different and when it comes to the serious ones, they aren't drinking beer in the offseason 3 times a week and blowing up 30-40 pounds.

Weight loss is easier in college as well, you have more time.  It's hard as a high schooler when he has to sit in a classroom 7+ hours a day.

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I think in Colorado you can't do a slow descent after the new year because most of your weigh-ins have to be at your competitive weight or below.  Further, you can't lose more than 1.5 percent per week.

Most extreme weight cutting is probably an attempt to find a starting spot, which is on the coaches for good, bad  or indifferent.  Cheating on certifications is rampant, also on the coaches.

Most of the cutters will always cut 5-10 pounds for each weigh-in because that is their goal.  They already have low body fat, so they want to make weight and get bigger in the hour or two leading to competition.  Not necessarily good or bad strategy.

 

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Just now, Zebra said:

Two words. 

 

Matside Weigh-in. 

OneFC, an MMA org, has a great program. Practically it made everyone move up a weight class, but because everyone did it, the playing field is even and you get better fights (or in our case, it would lead to better matches)

The goal is the improvement to the health of the wrestler, but there would also be less gassing and better technique.

Things like saunas would be fine then. Nobody would use it to cut weight, but rather for their recovery help.

Here is more detail on the OneFC weight policy: https://www.mmamania.com/2017/5/25/15693052/one-championship-abolished-weight-cutting-in-mma 

If this is too expensive for every dual, require it at conferences and NCAAs. After 1 season, wrestlers would learn that it doesn't matter if they break the rules for duals, because when it comes to NCAAs, there is no way to cheat.

This could also lead to aboloshing the 125 weight class. 125 is arguable the best weight, but practically all of the 125ers would be at 133, all of the 133ers would be at 141, etc so it wouldn't cause an issue until 197. To solve this, adding a 215/220 weight and leaving the hvwt cap means we would still have 10 weights, the wrestlers would be safer, they could focus on technique and conditioning instead of weight cutting, they would gas less and me more entertaining.

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There are a lot of fallacies that still pervade the wrestling community. Prime example, during the Tuesday Flo show, Pyles was claiming the NCAA descent rule was ridiculous because wrestlers will often lose 3x+ times that much in a single practice.

That is completely wrong. Unless you have to weigh in right after practice, you would need to drink nearly all of this back. At a conservative estimate, an athlete is burning around 2500 calories per practice. I know the 3,500 calories per pound is debunked, but it is a generous estimate for how much you need to work out to lose a pound. At best, athletes are losing 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound per practice. They also need to increase caloric intake so that they can maintain intensity during those practices, additionally reducing their weight loss.

The NCAA descent rule is practical. I'm sure the coaches hate this rule because it reduces their flexibility, but with the benefit to the athlete not yo-yoing their weight around all year. As the rules and technology get better, the advantage will be to those athletes that maintain a low body fat and bring the most muscle to bear without losing energy (for training or competition).

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1 hour ago, Pinnum said:

It is absurd for high school kids to cut.  Especially those still growing.  

Work on getting better and stronger. 

Couldn't agree more.  One of the best philosophies I've ever heard was to spend all your time and energy at practice on becoming a better wrestler, rather than spending your time and energy on cutting weight.  It makes complete sense, but it's almost too simple for some people to understand, especially if they've always bought into the old-school weight cutting.

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2 hours ago, Housebuye said:

OneFC, an MMA org, has a great program. Practically it made everyone move up a weight class, but because everyone did it, the playing field is even and you get better fights (or in our case, it would lead to better matches)

The goal is the improvement to the health of the wrestler, but there would also be less gassing and better technique.

Things like saunas would be fine then. Nobody would use it to cut weight, but rather for their recovery help.

Here is more detail on the OneFC weight policy: https://www.mmamania.com/2017/5/25/15693052/one-championship-abolished-weight-cutting-in-mma 

If this is too expensive for every dual, require it at conferences and NCAAs. After 1 season, wrestlers would learn that it doesn't matter if they break the rules for duals, because when it comes to NCAAs, there is no way to cheat.

This could also lead to aboloshing the 125 weight class. 125 is arguable the best weight, but practically all of the 125ers would be at 133, all of the 133ers would be at 141, etc so it wouldn't cause an issue until 197. To solve this, adding a 215/220 weight and leaving the hvwt cap means we would still have 10 weights, the wrestlers would be safer, they could focus on technique and conditioning instead of weight cutting, they would gas less and me more entertaining.

This is a good step for an MMA organization to make, but I agree that it would be too costly for most high school and college programs.  Matside weigh-ins would be much simpler.

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Weight cutting has been the dumbest thing ever.  Basically you have two guys that endured “making weight” wrestling each other. I always thought that if each athlete competed up a weight class each would be healthier and the wrestling would be better. 

The whole thing is just stupid. 

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15 hours ago, Ching said:

There are a lot of fallacies that still pervade the wrestling community. Prime example, during the Tuesday Flo show, Pyles was claiming the NCAA descent rule was ridiculous because wrestlers will often lose 3x+ times that much in a single practice.

That is completely wrong. Unless you have to weigh in right after practice, you would need to drink nearly all of this back. At a conservative estimate, an athlete is burning around 2500 calories per practice. I know the 3,500 calories per pound is debunked, but it is a generous estimate for how much you need to work out to lose a pound. At best, athletes are losing 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound per practice. They also need to increase caloric intake so that they can maintain intensity during those practices, additionally reducing their weight loss.

The NCAA descent rule is practical. I'm sure the coaches hate this rule because it reduces their flexibility, but with the benefit to the athlete not yo-yoing their weight around all year. As the rules and technology get better, the advantage will be to those athletes that maintain a low body fat and bring the most muscle to bear without losing energy (for training or competition).

I think I agree with this post but i may be misunderstanding.  In college it was very typical for me to lose 3-4 lbs during practice.  Are you saying that only 1/2 to 3/4 of that was actual lbs. and the rest water weight?  (which I agree)  

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5 hours ago, gowrestle said:

Weight cutting has been the dumbest thing ever.  Basically you have two guys that endured “making weight” wrestling each other. I always thought that if each athlete competed up a weight class each would be healthier and the wrestling would be better. 

The whole thing is just stupid. 

I am interested in putting a finer point on the  definition of 'weight cutting'.  My experience with college wrestling is that most middleweight wrestlers will drop around ten pounds of actual mass in preseason.  That weight stays off during the season and takes about a month to lose.  Further, they will drop 3-5 pounds for weigh-ins during the season.  So, a guy would compete 13-18 pounds below his off season walk around.  Is that weight cutting?

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It's hard to just say everyone should wrestle at their normal weight.  Some guys just walk around thin and pretty lean all the time, even eating what they want.  Some guys seem to put on some fat even when they are active.  I think we all know this.  So some guys have to lose weight/cut.

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1 hour ago, Plasmodium said:

I am interested in putting a finer point on the  definition of 'weight cutting'.  My experience with college wrestling is that most middleweight wrestlers will drop around ten pounds of actual mass in preseason.  That weight stays off during the season and takes about a month to lose.  Further, they will drop 3-5 pounds for weigh-ins during the season.  So, a guy would compete 13-18 pounds below his off season walk around.  Is that weight cutting?

So from what I know this, which is pretty basic, it has a lot to do with nutrition.  I believe the reason someone would see large loss in the preseason is not because you are losing fat or lean muscle mass initially. When carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen(energy stores) it retains water. An athlete who starts the season well fed and not in an intense workout program 6-7 days a week he/she will have full glycogen stores and because of that he will be retaining a good amount of water at all times. When practice starts, and you start intense training that glycogen gets used for energy and you will lose that water pretty quickly. Most athletes are not properly re-feeding to restore those glycogen stores so they maintain that initial loss pretty easily, but that loss is because of the water not fat. Without replacing your glycogen stores you are not going to have as much energy as you could. IMO even 10 lbs in a month for an already very lean individual is probably not optimal, but I consistently see much worse than that.  After the season, when the constant training ends and those glycogen stores are replenished then the water weight comes right back.

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1 hour ago, russelscout said:

So from what I know this, which is pretty basic, it has a lot to do with nutrition.  I believe the reason someone would see large loss in the preseason is not because you are losing fat or lean muscle mass initially. When carbohydrates are stored in the body as glycogen(energy stores) it retains water. An athlete who starts the season well fed and not in an intense workout program 6-7 days a week he/she will have full glycogen stores and because of that he will be retaining a good amount of water at all times. When practice starts, and you start intense training that glycogen gets used for energy and you will lose that water pretty quickly. Most athletes are not properly re-feeding to restore those glycogen stores so they maintain that initial loss pretty easily, but that loss is because of the water not fat. Without replacing your glycogen stores you are not going to have as much energy as you could. IMO even 10 lbs in a month for an already very lean individual is probably not optimal, but I consistently see much worse than that.  After the season, when the constant training ends and those glycogen stores are replenished then the water weight comes right back.

You can store about 2,000 kCal of glycogen, which is about 500g which is about 1.1lb.  Each gram of glycogen is bound with 3-4g of water, so if you totally deplete your glycogen stores (called "bonking" in the endurance athletics field), you'll drop 3-4 of water.  That's why ketogenic (no- or lo-carb) diets result in instant weight loss.  Of course, you have no ability to generate energy at any high level at that point.  You don't need a lot of glycogen to get through a wrestling match or tournament, but you do need a decent amount to get through daily training.  I pity the fool that trains for wrestling in a state of ketosis.  You lose most of your water weight by sweating, not by going into ketosis.  I've recorded my sweat rate at 1oz/minute on a hard, hot bike ride, and 1lb/mile on a hard, hot run.

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1 minute ago, klehner said:

You can store about 2,000 kCal of glycogen, which is about 500g which is about 1.1lb.  Each gram of glycogen is bound with 3-4g of water, so if you totally deplete your glycogen stores (called "bonking" in the endurance athletics field), you'll drop 3-4 of water.  That's why ketogenic (no- or lo-carb) diets result in instant weight loss.  Of course, you have no ability to generate energy at any high level at that point.  You don't need a lot of glycogen to get through a wrestling match or tournament, but you do need a decent amount to get through daily training.  I pity the fool that trains for wrestling in a state of ketosis.  You lose most of your water weight by sweating, not by going into ketosis.  I've recorded my sweat rate at 1oz/minute on a hard, hot bike ride, and 1lb/mile on a hard, hot run.

Interesting, I have been in ketosis for a couple months before. I initially dropped 7-10 lbs in the first week then I seemed to respond to the diet in terms of weightloss in the same way I would by calories in and out.

Well is dehydration any better than depleted glycogen stores?  

Also you seem to know a lot about it, and I admittedly do not, but isn't there such a thing as ketone adaption where you begin to efficiently run on fat? There are now endurance athletes who do this, but I do know ketone adaption takes a long time to reach.

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Weight loss: nutrition + exercise to change bodyweight composition (how much is fat versus muscle). Healthy when done right. Should be encouraged for wrestlers who are “out of shape” by wrestling standards and have double digit bodyfat %. 

Cutting: severe dehydration to reduce water weight. No impact on bodyweight composition. Dangerous and downright harmful to performance. Will always happen to some degree but done persistently, especially greater than 7% or so reduction in bodyweight weekly or semimonthly, can lead to serious and even permanent health issues. Obviously, should be discouraged. 

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