Weight Management Practices of Australian Olympic Combat Sport Athletes

Combat sport athletes undertake chronic and rapid weight loss (RWL) practices to qualify for weight divisions lower than their training weight. Variation between sports in the prevalence, methods, and magnitude of weight loss as well as recovery practices may be influenced by factors including competition level and culture. Differences in methodologies of previous research in combat sports make direct comparisons difficult, thus this study aimed to examine weight loss practices among all Olympic combat sports in Australia, using standardised methodology.

High calibre competitors in wrestling, boxing, judo and taekwondo (n=260) at Australian competitions were surveyed using a validated tool which provides quantification of how extreme an athlete’s weight loss practices are; the RWL score (RWLS). Additional qualitative and quantitative survey data were also collected.

Neither sport, sex or weight division group had an effect on RWLS however a significant effect of athlete calibre was detected [F (2,215) = 4.953, MSE = 4.757, p = 0.00792]. Differences between sports were also evident for: most weight ever lost in order to compete [H = 19.92, p = 0.0002), age at which weight cutting began (H = 16.34, p = 0.001) and selected methods/patterns of RWL (p < 0.001). Weight cycling between competitions was common among all sports as were influences on athlete’s behaviours.

While many similarities in weight loss practices and experiences exist between combat sports, specific differences were evident. Nuanced, context/culturally specific guidelines should be devised to assist fighters’ in optimising performance while minimising health implications. 


Autor / Fonte:Reid Reale, Gary Slater, Louise M Burke International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 2017 September 5, : 1-26
Link: http://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/10.1123/ijspp.2016-0553