Youth Wrestling




Wrestling Weight Control System - 38 Diet Tips & Facts for Wrestlers

Bill Swertfager - John Jay Wrestling

Over the last 30 years, medical science has replaced urban legend and just plain bad nutritional information for wrestlers with safer and healthier diet and weight-loss methods.

Kudos to Bill Swertfager, head coach of John Jay high school wrestling, who compiled the following 38 diet tips and facts for wrestlers.

Also included in this page is a list of meal examples, a daily nutritional routine and a list of daily food servings.

  • Determine what weight class you want to wrestle, be at weigh-ins hydrated.
  • Digestion begins in the mouth.  Chew your food! Mom was right, even though she probably didn’t know that chewing your food thoroughly stimulates enzyme secretion in the mouth & digestive tract for healthier digestion.
  • “Yo-Yo” dieting actually makes losing weight more difficult.
  • Fasting slows metabolism.  After fasting, returning to a normal diet triggers overeating and spiked metabolism (Yo-Yo effect).
  • It takes 3500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat.
  • You can only lose 2-3 lbs. of fat per week…anything else is just water.
  • Eat fiber in the morning to decrease your appetite all day.
  • Change your plate size from a 12” dinner to 9” salad.
  • Six small meals a day is the healthiest way to lose and keep weight off.
  • Concentrate on wrestling rather than cutting weight. This is a wrestling team, not a weight cutting team.
  • Fasting will consume muscle protein and harm muscle growth.
  • Losing weight rapidly will result in a loss of muscle tissue.
  • Fat burning zone is somewhat of a myth. In the absence of carbs for fuel, the body burns a combination of fat and muscle for energy.
  • Do not accept food from others unless you ask for it.
  • The object is to lose FAT-not water.
  • The darker the urine the more dehydrated you are.
  • If you are thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
  • Lack of thirst can mask severe dehydration.  Stay hydrated!
  • Big evening meal builds deposits of fat because of inactivity.
  • When you eat, only eat…Focus!
  • Slow sustained weight reduction will stay off longer, is healthier than fasting and dehydrating and is easier to achieve.
  • Cut back on all processed sugar and processed flour, such as junk foods like candy, white bread, etc.
  • All commercially available oils in the U.S. produce trans-fat when heated (even olive oil).
  • Totally eliminating fat from the diet is unhealthy and counter-productive. A minimum of 10% of diet calories should come from fat.
  • Cut back on fried foods- baking & broiling eliminates fat.
  • Cut back on fats such as butter, margarine, salad dressing, cheese, bacon and omega 6’s (soybean and vegetable oil).
  • Good fats include olive oil (unheated), avocados, peanuts, pistachios, Omega 3’s (fish) and a moderate consumption of eggs.
  • Eat more fish and chicken in place of red meat (hamburger, steak, etc.)
  • Start Now-Be At Your Lean, Mean Fighting Machine Weight For Our First Match.
  • Eating slowly will help speed sense of fullness.
  • Your goal is to be lean and well hydrated.
  • Before you eat plan your meal.
  • Don’t be a victim to your food desires.
  • You need to eat (keep metabolism going) to lose weight. Replenish your fuel. Eat every 4 hours.
  • Dieting & intense workouts lower the immune system. Supplement your diet with a good one a day multivitamin.
  • You want to lose weight?…simply take in fewer calories then you expend.
  • You want to lose 2lbs. of fat /week, you need to have about 100 calories less/day, burn 1,000 calories more/day or a combination of both.
  • Generally, stay away from packaged products.

Meal Examples

GOOD BREAKFAST                                                 BAD BREAKFAST

Eggs, whole-wheat toast,                                        white toast with butter, donuts, whole grain cereals, fruit, skim or 2% milk                   pancakes with syrup

GOOD LUNCH & DINNER                                         BAD LUNCH & DINNER

Salads, fruit, tuna, baked chicken,                            fried chicken, fried fish, tacos,

fish, cottage cheese, pastas, vegetables,                   French fries and burgers

baked potato, baked tortilla chips, lean steak                                                       

GOOD SNACKS                                                     BAD SNACKS

Fruit, juice, plain popcorn, baked tortilla chips             Ice cream, sugared soda, potato

Daily Nutritional Routine

MORNING                               Weigh yourself and record.

                                             Drink 2 glasses of hot water

                                             (lemon and/or honey)

BREAKFAST                            Juice and/or fruit

                                             Cereal w/skim milk or eggs

                                             Toast, tea/coffee (2 cups hot liquid)

BEFORE NOON                         Glass of water, fruit/juice

NOON-LUNCH                         Sandwich (chicken, turkey, fish)

                                            On whole wheat bread

                                            Or pasta with tomato sauce

                                            Or pizza

                                            Or baked potato (not fried or chips)

                                            Vegetables, fruit, tea/coffee

MID-AFTERNOON                    Glass of water, fruit/juice

EVENING- DINNER                  Lightest meal of day

                                            Cottage cheese (low-fat)

                                            Or salad/chef

                                            Or piece of chicken (baked, broiled)

                                            Fruit and/or vegetables


BEFORE SLEEP                       Glass of water


1 – Dairy group – eggs, skim milk, cheese (low fat)

1 – Protein/meat group – fish, chicken, turkey, peanut butter

3 – Fruit/vegetable group – citrus, tomato, potato, apples, beans, peas

2 – Cereal/grain group – oatmeal, whole wheat, rye, granola, cracker


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