How to Lose Five Pounds for a Wrestling Tournament


It's that time. You've spent the past few weeks drilling on the mat, bulking up in the weight room and running up and down the bleachers to increase stamina. You know who you and your teammates are matched up against. Now you must prepare for the wrestling tournament by dropping five pounds so you are within the weight limits for your class. There are several things you can do to make weight for the tournament.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Lean, healthy foods
  • Scale
  • Workout clothes
  • Start dropping weight in earnest 48 hours before the match. This gives you ample time to monitor your body and to lose weight slowly enough that you still have energy for the match. If you need to lose more than five pounds in this period, you are not losing weight healthily. Also, don't fast to lose weight. You'll lose vital energy and fluids --- and this can seriously hinder, rather than help, your performance on the mat.

  • Cut your food and liquid intake slightly 48 hours before the match. Reduce your carbohydrate consumption, especially at night. Eat fewer starches and simple sugars --- this includes any foods with a lot of high fructose corn syrup, breads, potatoes, rice, sugary fruits, pudding and other desserts. Choose foods that have a high calorie-to-mass ratio, like energy bars and nuts. Eat until you are satisfied but not full.

  • Drink a gallon of water a day. In addition to keeping your body fluids at a healthy level, this fills your stomach with water, making you less apt to snack on foods that might add weight.

  • Work out as you normally do. This helps you sweat off some water weight healthily, as opposed to spending time in a sauna or hot shower. Working out normally also helps avoid shocking your body, which reallocates physical energy and resources and gives you less energy and strength to work with when you wrestle.

  • Track your weight closely. Some wrestlers get on the scale as many as six times or more a day. Allow for what's called "weight drifting," which refers to the loss of a pound or so of weight as you sleep at night. This works to your advantage as you cut weight in the days leading up to a tournament.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best way to lose weight leading up to a wrestling tournament is in the two weeks preceding it. Losing more than two or three pounds a week is unhealthy. If you have to lose five pounds in two days, keep dehydration to a minimum. Losing water weight isn't necessarily unhealthy, but it's not the most effective way to make weight if you want to do your best on the mat.
  • High school and college wrestlers have died from trying to cut too much weight before a match. Spending long hours in the sauna or showers wrapped in trash bags or rubber suits can lead to severe dehydration or heat stroke, which can be fatal. Also, the NCAA has outlawed such extreme methods as diuretics and plastic suits. Avoid physical and legal consequences by losing weight the healthy way.

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  • Photo Credit Boys High School Wrestling 1 image by alice rawson from
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