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Making Weight For Wrestling – Part II
This month I would like to start with a little story. It goes back to my days as a competitive powerlifter. I competed for 12 years in powerlifting, and I remember many competitions where I had to cut weight. Towards the end of my powerlifting career, I weighed about 196 pounds. I could have competed in the 198-pound class, but I chose to drop down to the 181-pound class for a shot at a 500-pound bench press. There weren’t too many guys in those days who made 500 pounds. in the 181-pound weight class, so it sounded like a good idea.
During the first year I was going to attempt this, I had my best training lift of 475 pounds. for 3 repetitions in the gym. That would equate to about 530 pounds. for me. It was the best workout ever, and my competition was the following week. I was super strong and super ready to “get the job done”. I only had to drop 196 pounds. up to 181 lbs. and I had a week to do it. At worst, I knew I would eventually get my bench press from 500 pounds to 181 pounds. of body weight
I wanted to stay strong, so I waited until Wednesday of that week to start cutting weight, for the Saturday morning weigh-in at 9am and the powerlifting competition at 12 noon.
I just ate 3 small meals each day, and it was basically sandwiches and protein shakes. Friday night I weighed 189 pounds. I had to lose another 8 pounds. and he knew he’d just get the weight out of the water the moment the weigh-in rolled. Heck, I’d have a couple of hours to get the water back, so I could probably compete at a full 195-196lbs. and finally get that bank of 500.
I didn’t drink water and sat in my friends sauna for a few hours. The weight was coming off. I was tired and not feeling great, but the weight was coming off. Plus, I could still put the water back into my system and race feeling strong.
At 9 am the next morning, I weighed 181 pounds. in the nose After the weigh-in, I drank Gatorade and water. I tried to eat a little, but my appetite was mostly for water and Gatorade, not solid food. I also ate a banana to get my potassium levels back up. The long and short of it was that I only bench pressed 470 pounds. that day. It was good enough to win this particular powerlifting competition, but it was a personal disappointment. I knew something was wrong. The next week at the gym, he weighed a comfortable 197 pounds. and my bench press was even better. I hadn’t trained since the contest, but by the following Saturday I was pushing a weight that would equate to 535 pounds. bench press
What have I learned from this experience?
I learned that if you want to maintain your strength, you better cut the weight properly. Whether you’re a wrestler or a powerlifter, your goal is to perform at your best. Wrestlers don’t lift the maximum weight to win a match, but it makes sense to assume that if you’re at your strongest, you’ll fight at your best!
All things being equal, the strongest fighter wins!
With that in mind, here are some guidelines for reducing water weight, in order to fight at your best:
Use proper weight cutting methods to lose fat first. If you don’t have a lot of fat on your body, you either have to trick your body into promoting fat loss or accept that your body will cannibalize its own muscle for food otherwise. You should eat 6 to 7 small protein-focused meals throughout the day.
Weigh no more than 3 or 4 pounds. weight class two days before. listen carefully There are some basic physiological truths in this world. You can’t cut 10 pounds in one day and have it come from fat. It must be dehydration. Dehydration will make you weaker if severe. I don’t care how tough you are, how good you are at fighting, who you learned from, etc. If you cut too much overnight, you can win the match or tournament despite poor weight cutting techniques, but you’ll get there. t fight for YOUR personal best! It won’t matter until you know your match. Be smart about your weight cut.
Do not dehydrate. You should start “restricting” water about 15 hours before your weigh-in. This means you will drink 6 to 8 ounces of water every 3 hours starting 15 hours before your weigh-in. If you think you can’t drink water right now, and try to just sweat it out the old fashioned way, you won’t keep up your strength.
The supersaturation meal 36 hours before weigh-in (assuming you’re 3-4 pounds overweight) should supersaturate your muscle cells. To do this, you would have a large carbohydrate meal (pasta, rice, yams, baked potatoes, etc.) During this meal, eat as much as you can comfortably eat. Then restrict carbohydrates for the rest of that day and the next day. Don’t worry, although your body will use stored carbohydrates (now in your muscle cells as glycogen) for energy, you will still have glycogen stored in your liver. Your body will be able to use this stored liver glycogen for energy on fight day. After the supersaturation meal, you will eat essentially all-protein meals.
If I had known then what I know now, I could have hit my 500 pound bench press in the 181 pound class. Instead, I arrived at a comfortable 193 pounds. later that year and I got my £500. bench and just missed an attempt at 535 pounds. Learn from my mistakes. Cut your weight correctly, consistently, and watch your wins skyrocket!
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