Good Foods for Wrestlers to Eat During Tournaments & Offseason

I could simply give you a list of good foods for wrestlers to eat. That way, print and tape it in your mirror where it reminds you every single day.

But that list won’t help you without explaining why wrestlers should eat certain foods and avoid others.

What is good food for a wrestler to eat depends on several factors. The intensity of your training, your weight class, and the season. These factors also depend on whether you’re seeking to maintain, gain, or lose weight, or you simply want to maximize your performance.

So it’s not just about a list of good foods for your wrestling body. It’s also about bringing your mind to understand and accept the regiment.

Does that sound like a lot of information to digest on Wrestlers diet and workout? Don’t worry. This article breaks down that info, along with health tips and diet recommendations. But first, let’s begin with classes of food to help you understand their functions in your body.

The Six Classes of Food & Their Importance to a Wrestler’s Diet

There are six classes into which all our food types fall. Water, Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Vitamins and Minerals.

1. Water

Water makes up about 60% of the adult human body. This shows you we all need water to stay healthy and alive.

For a wrestler, water is your most important nutrient. It has zero calories but is necessary for peak performance. This is because lack of water can make you dizzy during competition and can also lead to serious heart and kidney issues in the long run.

Sadly, many wrestlers dehydrate themselves in order to make weight. That is a poor practice you should seek to avoid. You can make weight and still not perform better.

Ensure to drink enough plain water during training, before weigh-in, before and during matches. Avoid other zero calorie drinks like black coffee or tea. While these also have zero calories, they can cause dehydration.

 2. Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are your main energy source, as they contain more calories that fuel your body during training sessions and competitions. They should make up for more about 55-65% of your total daily caloric intake.

Examples of carbohydrates include grains, rice, potatoes, bread, noodles, vegetables, and fruits.

3. Proteins

Protein is necessary to build, maintain, and repair your body tissues and muscles. About 12-15% of your daily calorie intake should come from this class of food.

Excellent sources of proteins include meat, fish, poultry, beans, eggs, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt. These also contain vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc, and Iron which are important for your bone and muscle health.

4. Fats

Much of your fat will already come from foods in other classes or they will be added to processed foods. If you need extra fat, you can get more from butter, margarine, or dairy products. 20-30% of your daily calories should come from fats.

Good Foods for Wrestlers to Eat During Tournaments & Offseason-fruits are a good source of vitamins

5. Vitamins and Minerals

Just like fats, most of your vitamins and minerals will come from other food classes you eat. Some wrestlers consider vitamin and mineral supplements.

While you can get supplements, make sure not to exceed the recommended daily allowance for each nutrient. The best practice is to avoid vitamin and mineral supplements, as they are not absolutely necessary.


Now that we’ve looked at the different food classes and their importance to a wrestler’s diet, let’s look at some nutrition ideas for healthy everyday living.

Nutrition Ideas for Wrestlers Who Want to Eat Healthy Every Day

Before we jump into these recommendations, it’s important you consider these other important tips:

Tips for a Healthy Wrestling Life.

Good foods for wrestlers is not just about what you eat. It is about knowing what is right and what is bad.

This helps you to achieve your goals in a safer way by avoiding dangerous practices.

1. Don’t Make Weight by Fasting or Dehydrating Your Body

When you fast, your blood sugar levels reduce. This causes your body to use fats, or even proteins, as an energy source.

What this means is that you might make weight for your desired weight class, but lose muscle strength and endurance during competitions.

Many wrestlers dehydrate before weigh-in, then try to rehydrate after making weight. This is not always enough as water is absorbed at a slower rate, which is not enough to replace lost fluids before the competition.

Being healthy and able to wrestle well is better than making weight. It is better to compete at a higher weight class than harm your body to compete in a lower weight division.

2. Avoid Rapid Weight Cut

It is important to begin your weight cutting exercise early enough so you can cut down gradually and not harm your body. Avoid cutting weight few days or hours to weigh-in. When it becomes a habit, such drastic weight cutting can cause kidney issues or even death.

Once again, it is important to remember that making weight does not mean you’ll perform better or win.

Roger Landry, a former wrestling coach at Brodhead High School in Wisconsin, said this about wrestlers and weight cutting:

‘There are several factors to consider when deciding your “best wrestling weight,” but the most important is: how much weight can you safely lose and still perform well? The goal of safe weight loss is to lose excess fat weight. Not all fat on your body can be considered “excess” fat.’

Note how he uses “excess” fat. That is because your body needs some amount of fat to function properly. You get to shed off only what remains after the needed fat.

The ideal weight cutting rate, according to Coach Roger Landry, is 2-3 pounds/week. This is achievable as you consume fewer calories than you use.

3. Stay away from laxatives and water pills

In helping you lose water and weight, these pills can also make you lose essential electrolytes, which you can’t replace when rehydrating just with plain water. In addition, water pills can cause dizziness, headaches, and muscle cramps.

4. Focus more on wrestling than on your weight

When you get worked up about not making it into your weight class, the mental strain can affect your preparation and performance. Even when you finally make weight, you might not rehydrate or eat well enough to handle your bouts.

Think more of the mat than you do the scale!

Nutrition Ideas for Wrestlers to Eat Healthy

A balanced diet for wrestlers should comprise menus that have the three most important classes of food: carbohydrates, proteins, and fat, in their right proportions.

To explain this better, let’s get the help of a food pyramid.

Image source

At the bottom of the pyramid, we find mostly carbohydrates that supply the most calories and energy for intense activities like wrestling. A daily serving of 6-11 is ideal.

The second level from the bottom contains two food groups: vegetables and fruits. These are significant sources of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fiber. 2-4 servings of fruits and 3-5 of vegetables will supply you with enough vitamins and minerals for a day.

We now move to the third level, also composed of two main groups: meat products and dairy products. Beans and nuts group also fall here. These supply you with proteins, vitamins, minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc. Consume 2-3 servings from each group.

It is important to note that dairy products are also a source of fat. To avoid excess fat, go for low fat dairy products or lean meat products like skinned chicken.

At the top of the pyramid, we find fats, oils, and sweets, food groups you should avoid or eat sparingly. Usually, you’ll get these foods from other classes. Because most of these can be added to processed food, check food labels.


Having seen what your daily food servings should look like, let’s get some practical recommendations.

Good Foods for Wrestlers to Eat During Tournaments & Offseason-carbohydrates

Suggested Good Food Ideas for Wrestlers

Once again, remember to make your menu rich in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins, and low in fat. The suggested menus below make for 2000 calories per day. Adjust the quantities according to your desired calorie intake.

Breakfast Ideas for Wrestlers

1 Banana (about 100 calories)

1 ½ cup of 2% Milk (about 120 calories)

A teaspoon of Peanut Butter (about 95 calories)

1 slice of toast (about 70 calories)

1 teaspoon of Jam (about 15 calories)

Total Calories 400

Lunch Ideas for Wrestlers

Hamburger on Bun

Bun (about 120 calories)

2 oz Grnd. Beef (about 120 calories)

1 tablespoon Catsup (about 20 calories)

French fries (about 220 calories)

1 cup of 2% Milk (about 120 calories)

2 Oatmeal Raisin Cookies of 2 1/2″ diameter about 120 calories)

Total Calories 760

Dinner Ideas for Wrestlers

3 oz Roast Pork (around 220 calories)

Baked Potato (about 100 calories)

1 stalk Broccoli (about 20 calories)

2 teaspoons Margarine (about 70 calories)

1 slice Bread (about 70 calories)

A cup of sliced peaches (about 130 calories)

1 cup 2% Milk (about 120 calories)

Total calories 730

Ideas for Snacks for Wrestlers

1 cup Lo-cal Pudding (about 130 calories)


For more menu recommendations, check here.

Good Foods for Wrestlers to Eat During Tournaments & Offseason-vegetables

Best foods for wrestlers cutting weight


Best foods for wrestlers losing weight will depend on the individual wrestler. Age, training intensity, and desired weight class. Consult a professional nutritionist to assess your goals.

To achieve the best results, seek to burn more calories than you consume. That means, combine your nutrition efforts with regular training sessions while avoiding drastic weight cutting measures like fasting or dehydration.

1. Water

There are advantages to drinking more water when you want to cut weight. Water fills you up and suppresses your appetite. That way, you eat less. In addition, keeping your body hydrated is good for the best performance, which also burns more calories, helping you cut more weight.

2. Foods Low on Fats

Whether you’re cutting weight or maintaining current weight, eat fats in moderation.

Low fat food sources include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. However, make sure you count your calories, as some low-fat sources are high in calories. Excess calories are usually converted to fat and stored by the body.

3. Fiber-rich foods

Dietary fiber, also called roughage, is food portions from plant sources that cannot be completely broken down by our digestive system.

Examples include broccoli, beans, berries, peas, avocados, apples, dried fruits, whole grains.

4. Lean Proteins

Proteins supply fewer calories than carbohydrates. Lean protein sources give you the required protein intake without adding extra fat that can mitigate your weight loss efforts.

Eat proteins in moderation for best results in your weight loss exercise.

Lean protein sources include skimmed milk, chicken breast, roasted turkey, roast beef, eggs, fish, ham. Avoid this if fried because they will have added fats.

Wrestling Diet to Lose 10 Pounds in a Week

Many coaches and physiotherapists will tell you that losing 10 pounds in a week is risky. Drastic weight loss can help you make weight but may reduce your performance or lead to serious medical conditions. Ideally, lose 2-3 pounds per week. So what are the best foods for wrestlers cutting weight?

Wrestlers who lost large amounts of weight in short notice don’t always encourage that risk.

Deepak Punia lost 5kg (11 pounds) a day before his bout. It ended in crisis and a poor performance.

But if losing 10 pounds in a week is a feat you want to risk your performance and life for, read on.

Your 10 pound per week weight loss regimen will combine diet and training to help you lose about 5000 calories more than you consume. The number also depends on your age,  size, and intensity of workout.

  • Use a calculator to decide how many calories to consume per day.
  • Use a calorie-tracking app to keep tap on what you’re burning per day.

Once you’ve decided on your numbers, you may consider the following.

  • You may begin with a fast, going completely without food for a day or two. Going beyond 48 hours without food can be detrimental to your health.
  • Drink mostly plain water.
  • Say goodbye to simple carbs like bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, sweets. They’re refined and easily absorbed into the body.
  • Eat complex carbs like whole grain, brown rice, vegetables, and fruits. They provide fiber and are absorbed much slower than simple carbs.
  • Don’t cut out the protein, but stay away from high-fat content protein sources like chicken skin.
  • Work out often, in plastic or thick hooded suits, and sit in saunas to sweat off every unneeded water that can be lost from your system.

Before wrapping up, I will suggest you look for an answer to this question: Do All Foods Fit into Every Diet? and also have an excellent knowledge of an Activity tracker

Wrapping Up

Good foods for wrestlers to eat should include menus that are rich in carbs, moderate in proteins, and low in fats. This goes without saying that good nutrition for wrestlers gets best results when combined with other healthy lifestyle choices.

Frequently Asked Questions About Good Foods For Wrestlers

What can wrestlers eat and not gain weight?

The secret to a wrestler not gaining weight is to burn more than you consume. Whatever is your menu, as long as you don’t consume more than you burn, you will maintain your weight.

When you eat more than you burn, your body converts that excess into fat. Although your body needs some fats to function properly, excess fats lead to weight gain.

Consume enough carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in proportions that meet your daily caloric intake. Monitor your diet, read food labels, and ask how food is prepared when eating out. This will help you avoid taking in excess that is converted to fat and stored.

What do wrestlers eat for breakfast?

Drink at least 8 ounces of water. Then you can eat a banana together with a cup of 2% milk, a teaspoon of peanut butter, a slice of toasted bread, and a teaspoon of jam. Depending on the size of your banana, that combination should give you about 400 calories.

For a higher calorie breakfast menu, you can drink 6 ounces of orange juice, a cup of 2% milk, one banana, 1 teaspoon of butter, and an English muffin. This will give you around 530calories.

It’s always good to consult with a nutritionist for tailored professional advice.

How do I get more energy for wrestling?

The energy for wrestling results from proper daily nutrition and training exercises. When you nail down the right menus for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and avoid dangerous weight cutting exercises, you’ll be more in shape for wrestling.

Are eggs good for wrestlers?

Wrestlers should eat eggs in moderation, as eggs are high in proteins and fats and zero on carbs. You should also consider your daily caloric intake and talk to a nutritionist for tailored professional advice.

The number of calories in an egg depends on how it is cooked. 100 grams of boiled egg contain 155 calories, while the same quantity of scrambled egg contains 148 calories.

Eggs are in the group on the food pyramid that you should get 2-3 servings per day as opposed to 6-11 servings of whole grains.

If you want to eat more eggs, consult with a nutritionist.

What do wrestlers eat before a match?

Eat your regular meal.

But the timing is just as essential. Eat about four hours to your match to give your body time to digest the food. During your match, you want all your body’s energy to be concentrated on wrestling and not on digestion.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to take solid food, you can consider special sports supplements an hour before your match.

For water, drink two and a half cups two hours before the match. Then 15 minutes to the match, drink another one and half cups of water.

What can wrestlers eat before weigh-in?

Drink water and eat your regular meal.

That’s easier said than heeded. Many wrestlers don’t eat before weigh-in to make weight. But sanctioning bodies and coaches now want wrestlers to focus more on the sport than on their weight and weight class.

How do wrestlers gain weight so fast?

One reason some wrestlers gain weight fast is simple. Many wrestlers concentrate on cutting weight just before weigh-in. This can be for weeks or days. After making weight, wrestlers can fall back into binge eating until the next weigh-in comes around.





Leave a Comment