Wrestlers weighing in: Wrestlers reflect on reputation of wrestling, nutrition habits


Jared Dickson loves eating candy, or anything unhealthy he can get his hands on when he isn’t wrapped up in wrestling season. During the grueling stretch that lasts just over three months of non-stop practice and matches, he knows he has to make sure he’s consuming the right things.

“A lot of people from other schools cut a lot. If you don’t cut the weight, you will be the smaller guy.”

This means that slacking off and eating McDonald’s on a daily basis will cause him to be matched up against the bigger guys that weigh similarly, but will be the tougher match.

Fortunately, once a wrestler weighs in, they can eat a hardy meal that day, and snack throughout to keep their energy up. It can be the difference of being super energized, or super tired, according to Dickson. Just like getting sluggish from eating too much, cutting back takes a toll as well.

“Sometimes I get tired so I sleep a lot and drink a lot of water,” Dickson said.

Coach Aaron Jensen feels strongly about his wrestlers’ nutrition.

“I am not an advocate of kids losing weight,” Jensen said.

He says wrestling can go a long way in supporting nutrition, but kids should wrestle their natural weight and focus on practicing and getting better, rather than worrying about what class they are in. Most athletes on the wrestling team compete at their unaltered  weight, focusing more on the sport.

“I’ve seen kids that are potential champions lose because they don’t have [enough] energy,” Jensen said.

He said the idea of losing crazy amounts of weight is a black eye to the sport. If he sees that one of his athletes could potentially move up a weight class, then he will encourage them to gain some weight in order to compete at a higher level.

“I never cut weight when I wrestled, and my kid won’t be doing it when he starts wrestling.”