Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Weight Classes & Daily Diet of Olympic Wrestlers

The Summer Olympics, which occur once every four years, include spectacular performances by athletes worldwide. Sports include baseball, athletics, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, the triathlon, basketball and Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling. Preparation for Olympic wrestling includes hard training and diet to control weight and get the right nutrients for staying healthy.
Weight Classes
The lowest weight class in men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling is 55 kilograms, or 110 pounds, according to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles. The weight represents the maximum allowable weight of the wrestler. Other divisions are 60, 66, 74, 84 and 96 kilograms, with a top weight class of 120 kilograms, or 264 pounds. Women compete only in freestyle wrestling. Their lowest weight class is 48 kilograms, or 106 pounds. Other classes are 55 and 63 kilograms, with a top weight class of 72 kilograms, or 158 pounds. Wrestlers must weigh in before the competition to verify their weight class.
Energy Balance
Diets of Olympic wrestlers provide the right number of calories to help them achieve and maintain the weight that will help them be most competitive. Individuals who weigh more and are more active need more calories to maintain their weight. According to Iowa State University Extension, a male who is 6 feet tall and 30 years old, exercises twice per day and weighs 120 kilograms, or 264 pounds, needs 3,792 calories per day to maintain his weight. A female who is 5-foot-5, 30 years old and very active and weighs 48 kilograms, or 106 pounds, needs 2,358 calories per day.
Daily Diet
A varied daily diet provides essential nutrients and allows wrestlers to perform better, according to USA Wrestling Connecticut. To increase nutrient intake, Olympic wrestlers can select fruit juice instead of sugar-sweetened soft drinks. Choosing fat-free dairy products and lean proteins, such as egg whites and poultry, instead of full-fat dairy products and fatty meats reduces saturated fat intake while keeping up protein consumption. Beans and soy are vegetarian, nutrient-dense sources of protein. Fruit and potatoes provide carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins.
Before a match, wrestlers should eat high-carbohydrate foods and limit fiber, protein and fat, according to Iowa State University Extension. Olympic wrestlers may face challenges following their regular diets while they are living in the Olympic Village with other Olympic athletes before and during the Olympics. New foods on the days leading up to competition or on the day of competition can increase the risk of having stomach discomfort. Some athletes prefer to take their own food from home if they fear that they will not have access to their regular fare.

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