Youth Wrestling




Wrestling Competition Nutritional System

The right foods – The right way

By: Bill Swertfager - JOHN JAY WRESTLING

- Keep a journal of what you ate and how you felt. Mix it up and figure out what works

best for you at the start of the season, stay with it and believe in it for the post season

- Individualize your fuel system. Eat foods you like, are accustomed to and are good for you.


- Plan ahead for away meets and tournaments. Pack to win!

- Carbohydrates empty the stomach more quickly than proteins and fat.

- Energy from sports drinks becomes available within minutes of consumption.

- Nothing fatty for 10 hours before a match or you will feel sluggish.

- Do not cut liquids any sooner than 18 hours before the weigh in. Do it for only 1 workout, 2 at the max.

- To restore muscle energy after competition, eat and drink within 30 min. following your competition.

- Focus on “ Clean” natural food - limit gravies, fried foods, rich sauces and white breads.

- Drink 1 cup of liquid every 30 minutes during competition.

- Your pre-competition meals need to provide your fuel, energy and hydration to achieve your optimum performance.

- Have quick energy meals, 30 minutes before competition- bagel, bananas, bread, Gatorade, potato, raisins.

- Avoid cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, fried foods and soda. They will hurt your performance.

- Drink 1 ˝ cups of Gatorade 15 minutes before competition.


Dual Meets-4:30 Start

- Night before- ˝ Carbs, ˝ Protein with water. Good normal healthy meal.

- Morning- 2/3 Carbs, 1/3 Protein -Bagel with jelly and milk or Egg on an English Muffin and milk.

- Mid Morning- (10:00)- Piece of  fruit and water.

- Lunch- Turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato or Chicken Caesar Salad and a roll, water.

- Post Scale- ˝ Bagel and Gatorade.

- Pre Match- (20 minutes before)- fruit or applesauce and water/Gatorade.

- Post Match- Normal dinner with chocolate milk.


 (See carbohydrate loading regime chart below)

- Night Before- 2/3 Carbs, 1/3 Protein. Pasta with marinara and Chicken Caesar Salad

and water.


- Post Scale- (9:00)-Heavy Carbs-Bagel, Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, Hash Browns, Orange or Apple Juice. (Stop eating before your full…you want to wrestle hungry).

- Pre-Matches- (20-30 minutes)- Fruit and Gatorade (Not a Lot). Stay hydrated and carb up.  “Graze” during the duration of the tournament…carbs.

In Between Matches

- Post Matches- Eat/Drink immediately following your match/sprint. Carb-Bagel/Fruit.


- Post Tournament- ˝ Carbs and ˝ Protein. Chicken Parm. over Linguine & chocolate milk.


Carbohydrate Loading is a training and diet regime that may store two to three times more glycogen, than normal, in the muscles.

It should only be used by a well-trained wrestler, two or three times per year.

Pick the event that you need to wrestle at your absolute best to meet your goals and load up.

*Your last 6 meals should be heavy on carbohydrates.






Long, Hard

Normal Diet-Deplete Glycogen


Intense, Short

Carbohydrate Diet-Brutal Glycogen Stores


Very Light

Carbohydrate Diet- Overload Glycogen Stores



“Graze” on carbs


Spaghetti, Macaroni, Noodles-  Top the pasta with tomato sauce to add more carbohydrates. If you choose an oil, meat, butter or cheese sauce, you may end up “fat loading” rather than carbo-loading.

Rice - Steamed or boiled rice is preferable to Chinese fried rice, which is saturated with oil and fat calories. When possible, choose brown rice; it has more wholesome nutrition than white rice.

Potato, Sweet Potato, Yams - Limit the fatty French fries but enjoy potatoes that are baked, boiled or mashed. Add moistness to a baked potato by mashing it with milk or topping it with plain yogurt in place of sour cream, butter or gravy.

Stuffing - A tasty, carbohydrate-rich change to pasta and potato. Plus, the bags of pre-seasoned stuffing are very quick and easy to prepare: just add hot water (along with raisins and apples, if desired).

Bread, Rolls, bagels, Tortillas - Try to choose dark, hefty products made from whole wheat flour, oatmeal and other whole grains, in order to get more fiber and nutritional value than offered by the refined, white breads. Limit add-ons like butter, cream cheese, etc.


Pretzels, Popcorn (unbuttered), Crackers - These low-fat snacks are preferable to greasy potato and corn chips. Stoned wheat crackers, Rye Crisp and other wholesome, low-fat brands are preferable to Ritz, Wheat Thins, Triscuits and other crackers that contain a lot of oil and leave you with greasy fingertips.

When making popcorn, use an air-popper or else pop the kernels in very little oil. Commercially bagged popcorn or the brands designed for microwave ovens generally contain at least half the calories from fat. Even the “ lite” brands can be deceptively high in fat, relatively low in carbohydrates!

Hot Cereal - Unrefined cereals, such as Oatmeal, Wheatena and Maltex, offer wholesome goodness. Cream of Wheat, although refined, offers lots of iron. Add raisins, banana, dried fruit and brown sugar or maple syrup for extra carbohydrates.

Cold Cereal - Rather than puffed or flaked-type brands, choose the dense cereals such as Grape-nuts, muesli, Wheat Chex, Raisin Bran or Bran Flakes. The fiber-rich brands can help protect against constipation. Serve cereal with bananas, raisins and other fruits.

Muffins, Corn Bread, Banana Bread - For extra carbohydrates and less fat, spread with jam or honey rather than butter or margarine.

Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast - Top with additional carbohydrates such as maple syrup, blueberry sauce, honey, applesauce or jam, but use butter sparingly.

Fruit - Dense fruits such as bananas, pineapples, raisins, dates, apricots and other dried fruits offer more carbohydrates than watery fruits (such as grapes, plums and peaches). Don’t try to carbo-load on too much fruit- you may end up with diarrhea!

Juice - Apple, pineapple, cranberry, cran-raspberry, grape, apricot nectar and other fruit nectars offer more carbohydrates than orange, grapefruit and tomato juices. Fruit smoothies (made by mixing fruit and juice in the blender) are excellent, carbohydrate-rich drinks.

Desserts - Although many desserts such as cheesecake, ice cream and rich cookies are made with lots of cream, butter and shortening (and thereby offer primarily fat-calories), you can carbo-load on lower fat (and more nutritious) alternatives such as apple crisp, blueberry cobbler, brown-rice pudding, date squares, fig newtons and oatmeal raisin cookies.

Ice Milk, Sherbert, Sorbet, Juice Bars - These are lower fat alternatives to ice cream. If you must have ice cream, remember that the less expensive brands have more carbohydrates than the more expensive (i.e. fattier) gourmet varieties.


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