Athletes Need Good Nutrition

Jaxon Owens , Website Editor

With more science break throughs coming every day, the importance of nutrition is becoming more and more in focus.

School nurse Karen Smith points out the importance of the meal previous to any sporting event.

“The previous meal for any athlete is important but it is truly the meals three to four days before an activity that has the biggest impact, especially if the athlete is engaging in a workout that will go two hours or longer, i.e., a marathon runner. ‘Carb loading’ in the days prior to an event will allow a buildup of glycogen to be stored in the muscles. This is the fuel your muscles will need for that long term workout,” Smith said.

Boys wrestling coach Aaron Lee explains what happens if a wrestler is above weight.

“A weight plan is set by the WIAA based on a test of your body fat. If the wrestler is above his weight plan then he becomes locked in at that weight. An example is if I weighed 139 pounds but my weight plan says 132 / 138,” Lee said. “I am not in one of those two weight classes so now I am now longer allowed to go down to 132. I am locked in at 138 /145 unless I get re-assessed. You can only get re-assessed one time a year.”

Senior wrestler Jordyn Bartlson, who has been wrestling since she was in the fourth grade and has won three State titles in her career adds her take on the importance of a good meal before a match.

“It is important because it gives you energy and helps you perform at your highest peak. It is also good for you in general. During a tournament when you take the hydration test and you come in over weight you get locked in to that weight class so you would not wrestle that weekend. Basically you work really hard all week to stay on weight,” Bartlson said.

Lee talks about some wrestlers poor eating habits.

“I know of a few wrestlers that do not eat as well as they should. High school kids have a higher metabolism and they are able to burn off the garbage they eat so they think that it is fine. In some ways they are right. It may not appear to hurt them but they do not understand that it is not helping,” Lee said. “Wrestling is a tough enough sport that to be the best you can be, you have to excel at all parts. Diet is an important part in preparing for a match. Eating poorly right before a match is definitely a bad idea. I have had several wrestlers puke in the middle of a match because they ate garbage food moments before they wrestled.”

As a nurse, Smith sees health problems because of lack of eating.

“I see [someone getting sick because of not eating] all the time. Exercise-induced nausea is quite common. When a student exercises they increase the demand on their muscles and this diverts the blood flow away from the stomach and into the muscles and brain where it needs it the most,” Smith said. “This diversion can slow down digestion causing an upset stomach. Lack of hydration can also cause headache and nausea.”

Lee talks about the importance of a good diet.

“Diet is important throughout the entire year. During wrestling season it becomes even more important to make sure that whatever you eat is in some way adding nourishment to improve your body,” Lee said.

Bartlson started wrestling at a young age and thinks it helped her as a wrestler.

“My sister and I did not get that serious until we got into third or fourth grade. It definitely helped because it laid the foundation for the wrestler that I have become today,” Bartlson said. “It would be a disappointment if I do not win the state title. It is my senior year, I have won three state titles already so going out with a loss this year would definitely be a disappointment. I am going to really work hard to get that.”

Lee states his displeasure about people’s disregard for their own body.

“Your body is your house that you will live in for the rest of your life. Your diet is a direct result of what you put into it. I do not understand how people can be so proud of a new car or house that they just purchased,” Lee said. “I see these people take great care of their belongings and yet they do nothing to take care of the most important thing on earth, their bodies. You can always buy a shiny new car; you cannot go always just buy a new body.”

Bartlson sees her time in soccer as helping her with wrestling.

“I play soccer competitively and I am going to soccer to play that, I am not doing wrestling in college. Soccer has helped shape my body style and how I am. However, I think the mental aspect of my wrestling as transferred into how I play soccer,” Bartlson said.

Lee talks about the procedures for weight classes in wrestling.

“Wrestlers are on a weight plan. They are tested at the beginning of the year and the WIAA looks at the data collected to consider how much body fat a wrestler has. He is allowed to lose 1.5 percent of body fat per week. He cannot go below seven percent body fat. Wrestling is a challenging sport. It generally benefits you to wrestle at your optimal weight,” Lee said.

Bartlson speaks to the difficulty of having a dad as a coach.

“It is tough having my dad as a coach, he definitely pushes me. It is okay though he knows when I am coming in on hard days and he helps me become a better wrestler,” Bartlson said.