Winter is the season many abuse to hide under sweatpants and jackets, obscuring their pizza-and-Chipotle-fueled bellies, all under the guise of “winter bod.” While I understand the hibernation instinct, I was never afforded that luxury. As a varsity wrestler in high school, my task was to stay at or under my weight class from December through February. While many assume that all wrestlers starve themselves to make weight, the reality is that many of us manipulated weight loss through careful diet and exercise.

Don’t waste the winter months gaining weight you need to lose come April. Diet like a wrestler now to show off a beach bod in March.

 

Diet

The core tenet of the wrestler diet is simple: stick to three square meals per day, no seconds and no dessert. If you’re like me, you probably eat this way most of the time. Small breakfast, big lunch followed by an even bigger serving of coffee, dinner with a side of Netflix. The trick is to cut out the snacks that inevitably sneak in the excess calories. Here’s what an average day might look like:

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs, a little cheese, water or juice (no more than 1 small glass of juice).
  • Lunch: Protein of your choice (about the size of your fist), no more than 1.5 cups of rice or pasta, plenty of veggies. Stick to water, coffee or tea. No soda.
  • Dinner: Chicken, fish or tofu, either roasted or pan-fried in a little oil or butter. Rice and beans on the side, plenty of other veggies. Again, no soda.

For best results, I recommend that you avoid prepared foods. Prepared foods tend to be high in sodium and fat, causing you to carry extra water weight as well as take in unforeseen calories. Yes, this means limiting meals out, too. Your wallet will thank me later.

Exercise

All of this diet advice would be moot if you didn’t harness its value to the fullest extent, namely, by pairing it with exercise. To be quite honest, this is the easy part. I find it much easier to commit to the gym than, say, committing to not eating a whole pizza, but I digress.

The wrestler workout plan is simple, but taxing nonetheless:

Monday/Wednesday/Friday: Cardio of your choice, 30-45 minutes

  • If you choose to use the stationary bike, you must keep your RPM 80 or higher

Tuesday/Thursday: Lift

This workout should be quick, no more than 1 hour start to finish. Keep rest periods short.

Choose weights that you can perform for 12 reps, although you’ll not do more than 10 reps.

  • Squat: 4 x 10
  • Leg Press: 4 x 10
  • Bench Press: 4 x 10
  • Dumbbell shoulder press: 4 x 10
  • 3 ab exercises of your choice, 30 reps each

Saturday: Do some yoga, go for a walk, whatever you do don’t sit on your ass

Sunday: Sit on your ass today, you earned it

Difficulty Levels

Normal: The plan prescribed above. You’ll probably eat out once or twice a week, and you’ll most likely have a few drinks on Saturday.

Hard: The plan prescribed above, except you never eat out, and definitely don’t drink every weekend.

The plan prescribed above, you never eat out, and you’re sober for New Year’s.

Regardless of how intense you choose to make this diet, commitment is key. Don’t overeat, exercise plenty, keep cheating to a minimum, and you’ll be in prime form in no time.

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