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Wrestlers often rely on dehydration to shed pounds and "make weight."
Wrestling is a competitive sport that requires athletes to comply with strict body weight parameters. It should come as no surprise, then, that wrestlers are often experts when it comes to losing weight -- and doing so quickly. In fact, wrestlers rely on a number of tricks and techniques when it comes to rapid weight loss, such as dehydration, extreme caloric restriction and radical exercise techniques. While these methods can be effective when it comes to losing weight, the dangers are often substantial and should not be ignored.
Self-imposed dehydration is one of the most common ways by which wrestlers lose weight, reports Adam Frey of the "Cornell Daily Sun." While restricting fluid intake is one of the easiest ways to "cut water," using laxatives and enemas can also lead to substantial drops in hydration levels. Unfortunately, prolonged dehydration can have a number of dangerous consequences -- and can even lead to death in the most serious cases. Although dehydration might be effective in the short-term, long-term weight loss maintenance following fluid restriction is nearly impossible. As soon as a dehydrated individual consumes fluid, the wrestler's weight will increase back to previous levels.
Extreme Caloric Restriction
Wrestlers might also engage in extreme caloric restriction to promote rapid weight loss, according to "Pediatric Exercise Science." To lose 1 pound of body weight, a wrestler must eliminate 3,500 calories from this diet, often by limiting intake of food. While restricting caloric intake produces rapid weight loss, it is often at the expense of cardiac and pulmonary function. In addition, engaging in extreme caloric restriction is often a precursor to "yo-yo dieting," which can result in higher weights and make future weight loss more challenging, says the American College of Sports Medicine.
Radical Exercise Techniques
Exercise has been proven to burn calories and promote weight loss. Unfortunately, to achieve weight-loss goals, wrestlers may participate in radical exercise techniques. According to Frey, athletes may wear rubber suits during physical activity or exercise while in a sauna in order to increase rates of sweating and fluid loss. These extreme exercise methods are a unique form of self-induced dehydration, and have been found to be extremely dangerous for wrestlers of all ages.
Making Smart Weight-Loss Choices
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourage individuals who strive toward weight loss to achieve a negative caloric balance by making smart diet and exercise choices. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five or more days per week to burn calories and promote weight loss. Participating in a resistance training program that focuses on large muscle exercises two to three times a week can also produce increases in metabolism and achieve greater calorie burn at rest. Finally, be sure to follow a healthy, balanced diet to ensure safe, effective and long-lasting weight loss.