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How to Cut Weight For Wrestling!
Let’s look at the typical year for a wrestler. During the off-season, the wrestler is at the gym lifting weights. The workouts are intense. The wrestler eats normally, supporting their muscles and adding strength to their body. The wrestler might occasionally compete in a tournament or go to a wrestling camp. The wrestler is learning more moves and skills, along with improved strength. Everything is alright. Things are looking great for next season!
Then comes the season. The wrestler decides to cut 15-20 lbs. to move down to a lower weight class, where they will be big, strong and ready for any competition. The wrestler eats very little, runs a lot (even in plastic suits), spits, uses saunas, etc. to get fat. The wrestler makes weight. The wrestler is having a good season, gaining weight every week and bingeing after every game.
BUT THE WRESTLER COMES SHORT OF THEIR POTENTIAL!
The wrestler doesn’t understand. He trains hard, very hard! He has dropped two weight classes and is gaining weight every week. He practices after his workout and works as hard or harder than anyone else in the mat room. He doesn’t strength train during the season because he trains so much and he doesn’t have the time or energy to train. Plus, all that hard work in the weight room during the off-season really made him strong!
Or did he?
If you are cutting weight for wrestling and want to be the BEST that your potential will allow, make sure you:
1. Maintain your strength training
During the off-season you want to work on gaining as much strength as possible. I recommend working out 3 times a week in the weight room, working the muscles that are used for wrestling. Be consistent and document your progress. Always strive to add a little more weight or reps. During wrestling season, YOU MUST STRENGTH TRAIN! You won’t maintain the strength you gained during the offseason if you neglect training during the season. If you’re cutting weight, it’s even more important to continue your strength training. If you’re cutting weight, practicing and battling in doubles matches and tournaments, your body is using its muscles for food. You can prevent some of this by doing full-body strength training every four to five days.
2. Eat more frequently
Don’t starve your body to gain weight! If you starve your body, you’re slowing down your metabolism. Metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. A calorie is a unit of energy. By starving yourself, you’ll cause a rebound effect and have even more trouble gaining weight next season. The answer lies in trying to lose fat, not muscle and water. You do this by eating more frequently. Four smaller meals a day will allow you to lose body fat while sparing muscle, give you the energy to fight hard, and be strong for the entire match.
3. Give your body the right amount of calories
To find out how many calories your body needs to maintain muscle as you reduce weight, take your current body weight and multiply it by 13. This is the minimum number of calories you need to consume each day.
4. Eat a 40-30-30 ratio
Now that you know how many calories you need to lose weight and maintain the muscle and strength you’ve built up, you need to eat the right ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. 40% of your calories should come from lean protein (egg whites, turkey, lean beef, whey protein powder, skinless chicken). 30% of your daily calories should come from complex carbohydrates (multigrain breads, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal) and 30% of your calories should come from unsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts). You usually don’t have to figure out fats other than a little oil on a salad, because the meats you consume will have a small percentage of fat that will be enough for the day.
5. Don’t run excessively if your goal is to gain weight
Nothing is more grueling than a tough high school or college wrestling practice. You shouldn’t have to make it a habit to jog for miles and miles every week to lose weight. First of all, it won’t give you the stamina for wrestling like good old live wrestling basically will. If you try to lose weight by jogging, you will start eating the muscles in your body. Aerobic activity is NOT an effective way to lose fat. A controlled meal plan is the answer.
6. Do not dehydrate
In order to fight at its best and make the body function efficiently, it is necessary that all systems of the body are functioning optimally. Each of your bodily systems requires water. If you need to lose a couple of pounds to gain weight after following the tips above, you’ll limit your water intake. However, limiting your water intake is not the same thing as not drinking water at all. You still need to give yourself 3-4 ounces of water every 3 hours on days you are trying to gain weight. Remember, this is to maintain your strength. You have to plan well to get it right. Don’t weigh in until two days before and it becomes drastic in your weight loss system.
7. Stay away from sugar
Wrestlers who reduce weight by eating very little and jogging excessively tend to have sugar cravings. Sugar has no place in your wrestling meal plan. The only time my clients consume sugar is right after an intense strength training session. If you are within 3 or 4 lbs. of your weight class, you may want to consume about 60 grams of high glycemic index carbohydrates (sugar) in the form of grape juice or apple juice within 20 minutes of your strength training session. This replenishes the body’s glycogen stores and helps with recovery. In general, stay away from sugars. They have no long-term positive effects on your energy. They are much more likely to be converted and stored as fat.
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