When wrestlers talk about staying healthy for the holidays, they typically mean avoiding the kind of weight gain that will make their Suplay wrestling singlet fit way too snugly around the middle when full practices resume. We discussed some strategies for dealing with tempting holiday treats and sticking to your workout routine in last week’s post.

But there’s another, more important component to staying healthy for the holidays and beyond: nutrition. Proper nutrition is the key to fueling workouts, making weight, and performing at your best during competition. Let’s take a look at some basic nutritional principles you should be following while in season.

  • Eat carbohydrates, protein, and fat in the right ratios. These macro-nutrients are critical for providing energy, building lean muscle mass and facilitating absorption of other nutrients. Wrestlers should get 50% of their calories from carbs, 25-30 percent from protein, and 20-25 percent from fat.
  • Get your macro-nutrients from “good” sources. Not all carbs, proteins, and fats are created equal. Be sure to get these macro-nutrients from good sources, such as whole grains, chicken, lean beef, fish, and nuts.
  • Do not skip meals in order to cut calories. Skipping meals deprives your body of energy, which leaves you feeling sluggish, irritable, and more susceptible to binges. Instead of skipping meals, eat smaller portions of food at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your metabolism firing.
  • Eliminate sugary sodas, snacks, and processed foods from your diet. One of the worst things you can do is fill your body with empty calories derived from sugar or chemicals. Reach for water, skim milk, fruit, or vegetables instead. It’s okay to splurge on a treat once in a while as long as you have the willpower not to go overboard.

Staying healthy comes down to more than just wearing protective wrestling equipment to avoid injury. It means prepping your body from the inside by getting adequate nutrition from good food sources every single day. Start following the above guidelines now to ensure you reach peak performance at your next match or tournament.