Ask most people, and they'll tell you that training for football is grueling.
Ask a wrestler, and he'll tell you that he could train and prepare for football in his sleep.
"I know wrestling's an unpopular sport, but I guess that's because it's the hardest sport," Evans senior Nathan Chavez said.
Wrestlers start the season knowing full well that their weight likely won't match their season-ending weight. That's because most competitive wrestlers have an in-season weight-loss plan built into their training.
The reason behind this is that the top athletes in the sport are targeting the lowest healthy body fat percentage. A combination of overall strength and cat-like quickness is ideal, so the idea is to cut weight while adding muscle.
"It is extensively physical on the body and just takes a huge toll," Chavez detailed, adding that training sessions can last three hours. "You'll go to school sleepy, can't feel your arms, just want to sleep all day. But you fight through it.
"And you're always hungry."
The Georgia High School Association -- and other governing bodies like it -- have a system set up to monitor weight-loss plans.
According to the GHSA's 2010-11 Wrestling Weight Management Program Coaches Handbook, initial weigh-ins and measurements are taken at the beginning of the season.
The handbook states that prospective wrestlers are not allowed to come into the season with a body fat percentage lower than 7 percent for males and 12 percent for females. Their weight loss is limited to no more than 1.5 percent of their original weight per week.
Once a wrestler loses enough weight (within the guidelines, of course) that he comes in under the next-lowest weight class, he can start wrestling at that level. He can only do so, however, if that weight isn't lower than the minimum wrestling weight set at the beginning of the season, according to weight loss of 1.5 percent per week.
It can make all the difference.
Given the decision to wrestle against competition that weighed in at 215 pounds and competition that weighed in at 189 pounds, it would seem like common sense to want to go against a lighter opponent.
In competition, wrestlers have to produce full effort for three rounds lasting three minutes each.
Ask Greenbrier senior Gabe Moorhead and he'll tell you that the suffering of wrestling is great preparation for life after it.
"After wrestling's done, everything else in life is easy," he said. "It's that hard."
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