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(Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Rachel Gallardo is a Dietetic Intern at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Rachel will be graduating with her Master’s in Nutrition in August and will sit for the Registered Dietitian exam following graduation. She has a background in sports and performance nutrition from working with Appalachian State’s Performance Nutrition program and completing her Master’s research project, NUTRITION AND BODY COMPOSITION CHANGES ACROSS A COMPETITIVE SEASON IN COLLEGIATE WRESTLERS.
Weight management out-of-season may seem difficult, but with the right combination of physical activity and eating habits, it’s easier than you think! Many wrestlers experience significant weight gain post-season due to changes in eating habits and frequency of training. Here are some tips for better managing your weight in the off-season:
HYDRATE: Drink plenty of water! Our bodies are around 60% water, which aids in body temperature regulation, digestion, and oxygen delivery to different parts of the body. Drinking water also helps with feeling full! Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces and adjust for activity levels and the temperature for the day.
EAT THE RAINBOW: Non-starchy vegetables have fewer calories than starchier vegetables and more processed foods. For example, 100 calories of carrots are about 25 baby carrots, while 100 calories of potato chips are around 9 potato chips. Non-starchy vegetables provide a higher quantity of food with higher quality nutrients compared to more processed or fast foods. Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include: tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, onions, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and spinach.
INCORPORATE LEAN PROTEIN: Consuming lean protein helps to preserve lean body mass, aka muscle mass. Lean protein sources include skinless white meat poultry, ground turkey (97-99% fat-free), lean cuts of beef (eye of round, top round, sirloin, flank steaks), pork loin, white fish, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, and non-fat Greek yogurt.
PRACTICE: Keeping up with strength and conditioning in the off-season aids in gaining strength and keeping weight managed. Cardio training – exercise that increases your heart rate – is most effective for burning fat and keeping weight down. Weight training aids in increasing lean body mass (muscle mass), strength, and bone mineral density which helps in injury prevention. Live wrestling is another great way to get your heart rate up and keep your technique in the off-season!
If your school has a Registered Dietitian (RD/LDN) who is a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics (CSSD), please consult with them to find an eating plan that works best for you.