Wrestlers may not often think about pre-competition meals because of early morning weigh-ins. After making weight they often eat anything that is available and worry about the consequences later! 1
The time frame between weigh-in and competition can be one of the most crucial for wrestlers. The need is to rehydrate and get muscles the fuel they need to perform at peak levels as quickly as possible. Fluids play a vital role in achieving both of these imperatives, a good carb-electrolyte drink allows your body to best absorb the liquids necessary to rehydrate and fuel muscles.2 In order for the fluids you ingest to work most effectively it is important to avoid foods high in salt as they cause water to leave the muscles where it is needed it to aid performance.3 Your body’s need for fluid and nutrients can be best met if you eat foods high in water content, you can improve your hydration level while you fill your stomach and load in calories with fruits and vegetables.4 Second only to water in importance for post weigh-in nutrition are the carbohydrates readily available in fruits, vegetables and grains. Carbohydrates provide fast energy, but the energy can leave you just as fast, therefore it is important to add a lean protein source. By combining your carbohydrate load with some proteins, you can prevent an energy drop as the carbohydrate calories leave your system. Too much protein can sit heavy in your stomach, as can fatty or greasy proteins like bacon or fast food burgers. Cold cuts or a simple chicken breast are examples of proteins that can provide a wrestler with lasting energy without the accompanying grease5. As important is not just what you eat, it's also how you eat it. If you eat your post-weigh-in meal in big gulps, you risk upsetting your stomach which may end in you rejecting your meal during competition! Instead, you should eat whatever you choose in small bites, chewing each thoroughly. If you start to feel full, stop eating for a while before starting to eat again. The same is true for rehydrating. You should sip your drinks, and wait between swallows. At all costs, avoid the Alfred Rodriguez method of rehydrating! It is probably best to stop food and fluid consumption about 30 min before the match so the stomach has a chance to empty.5 As usual, always consult your coach before implementing these tips. Good luck!