University of Indianapolis wrestlers are no strangers when it comes to cutting and maintaining weight.
The NCAA has made rules and regulations on safe practices in regards to what wrestlers can do to cut weight. Article 10 under rule eight of the rule book states how much weight wrestlers can lose during a season.
According to the NCAA Wrestling Rule Book, a wrestler is to lose weight to reach their desired weight class by not losing more than 1.5% of their body weight per week.
Head Wrestling Coach Jason Warthan said that at the beginning of every year, as the team makes the switch from preseason to in season, every NCAA wrestling team has to go through a weight certification.
“In that certification you do a hydration test, weigh in, your hydrated weight… and then you go through a line and they do a skin caliper, a way to check to see how much body fat you have,” Warthan said. “It all goes into a calculator that says that you can lose 1.5% of your body weight a week until you get down to a certain body fat percentage.”
For senior wrestler Ana Abduljelil, weight management is something that is always on his mind. The rule that if a wrestler is over their weight class they can not compete, according to Abduljelil.
“I check my weight pretty consistently. I’ll check my weight every morning before lunch and before dinner,” Abduljelil said. “I also know exactly how much I am eating, not from calories, but from how much it weighs.”
For Abduljelil, this practice is normal and something that he constantly needs to think about in order to make weight he said. Abduljelil said his strategy to cutting weight is to get in extra workouts and stay hydrated until a day or two prior to the meet.
“People try and cut really hard on the calories, but I try and keep a decent amount of my calories in and try to get in extra workouts and stay hydrated until two days or the day before and then i’ll start cutting really hard on the water weight,” Abduljelil said.
Water weight is referred to as any extra water that the body is holding on to and a person’s weight can fluctuate by 2-to-4 pounds in a single day due to water levels, according to medicalnewstoday.com
However, Abdulelil said that him and his teammates cut a lot of weight at practice.
He and his teammates help each other out by adding additional practices. He said that if he is 8-to-9 pounds over within three days of the meet, he is still able to lose weight easily if he has those additional 2-to-3 workouts a day.
“We’ll come in and get an extra couple of runs in the morning and then a teammate will come in and we’ll have a practice sometime before noon,” Abduljelil said.
In addition to being on the mats, the wrestlers also must have time set aside for being in the weight room in order to strengthen themselves.
Strength and conditioning graduate assistant Nathan Birk caters lifts to athletes depending on if they are cutting weight or how they are feeling that day so that they can still finish the lift and go to practice after.
“It’s tough because they come in dead tired…you can tell they’ve lost some weight, they’re skinny and their strength levels aren’t the same,” Birk said. “I’ll taper them down a bit and back off a little bit. Whatever they need to get through the lift so they can function at practice.”
Abduljelil said he believes that cutting and maintaining weight is a mental game more so than a physical game.
“When you’re fatigued, it’s one thing to be tired, but when your muscles are actually fatigued because you don’t have the energy to do something and you still have to go out there and perform while you’re in that condition,” Abduljelil said. “That’s where the mental part kicks in.”