All I felt was darkness swirling around me as I sunk deeper into the pool.
“So this is what drowning feels like”.
I hold onto the chains on either side of me and release my last breath of oxygen, feeling my body sink even lower in the water. Then I faintly hear the words from above the water shout to me :
In a panicked frenzy, I reach the surface, gasping for air.
If I had any energy left, I would have punched him. But little did I know at the time I was being hydrostatically weighed, that punching my coach was the least of my problems….
Hanging onto the side of the pool in my underwear, the coach was reading the scale. Hydrostatic weighing is a process to figure out how much fat your body has compared to your total body weight. You strip down, climb onto a large fruit scale ( similiar to what you would use in your local grocery store), and are submerged into the water. You then must blow out all of your oxygen ( since oxygen in your lungs will make you float), and then when you have no more air, you are supposed to just hang motionless under water with no air while the person up top calculates your weight.
They take three weights, then use a formula to calculate your percentge of body fat. Typically, men in supreme good physical condition will have between 7-10%, and women will have between 15-20%. I weighed 101 pounds at the time I was weighed, and the weight I needed to be at for wrestling was 99 pounds…..
I can’t believe the things I put my body through during my wrestling years to make weight. Countless hours of jumping rope in a hot, steamy shower, covered in a sweatsuit and garbage bags. I would go a couple of days before a match only swishing water in my mouth to help with the dryness, but did not swallow so as to not gain weight. I would eat, then make myself throw up. Before a weigh-in, I would strip down to nothing, then stand on my head, letting the blood rush to my brain. Then I would stand on the scale. Supposedly, the blood flowing downward tricks the scale, and you can get an 1/8 of a pound lighter.
My three hydrostatic weights were done. Thank God. Then I got the results. Remember that I only weighed 101 at the time, and needed to get to 99 pounds to make weight.
I was told that I only had 0.04% of total body fat, which was extremely unhealthy. But I was 17 at the time. I didn’t tell them that I still had to lose 2 pounds, but I knew that the only way to lose the weight would be to lose muscle, or brain tissue.