Chances are that if you wrestle, you may be trying to shed some pounds before the season begins. This means you’re probably cutting back a little on your food intake. But you don’t want to reduce your calories too much, as that could leave you with weak muscles, low energy, and a slow metabolism. Finding the optimal amount to eat can be difficult, and I don’t recommend the tedious chore of counting calories, but there is an easy way to figure out if you’re eating enough.
take your temperature
Starting tomorrow, measure your body temperature first thing each morning, before you even get out of bed. Any cheap thermometer from the store will work, but keep in mind that your core temperature is one degree higher than what you’ll measure from an underarm thermometer. If your temperature is less than 97° F for three or more days in a row, your metabolism has gone down.
This method is a good indicator because the higher your temperature, the more calories you are burning, and therefore, the higher your metabolism. If you went from wrestling infrequently during the off-season to wrestling every day in-season, you can’t get by eating the same amount you did before. Wrestling burns a LOT of calories. This means you need to eat more, even if you’re trying to lose weight!
Another pitfall to avoid is overtraining. True wrestlers are great in the sense that they love to work out and don’t need to be prodded to go to the gym. But the problem for some guys is staying out of the gym when they really should be recovering. It’s one thing to be a gym rat if you’re not wrestling often, but once the season gets going, you’re going to be spending a ton of energy practicing. Doing two-a-days (or even three-a-days!) builds toughness and excellent conditioning, but it shouldn’t be done every day. If a wrestler were to go running every morning, practice after school, and then lift in the evening, he’d run the risk of overtraining, burnout, or even injury.
So how do you know if you’re working out too much? For starters, determine your resting heart rate. Then, while you’re waiting for the thermometer to beep in the morning, count your heartbeats in a fifteen second time period and multiply by four. If your heart rate the morning after a grueling training day hasn’t returned to roughly its resting rate, you haven’t recovered yet, and the day you have ahead of you shouldn’t be quite as intense. Keep in mind that this is not an excuse to be lazy or miss practice; this is to protect the guys who’s coaches can’t seem to keep them out of the gym or off of the mat.