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Gradual and rapid weight loss: Effects on nutrition and performance in male athletes

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Abstract

We studied seven male wrestlers and three judo athletes (weight 55-93 kg) during two weight reductions. In the "gradual" procedure (GP), a 5.0 +/- 0.4% (mean +/- SEM) weight loss was achieved in 3 weeks by energy restriction. In the "rapid" procedure (RP), 6.0 +/- 0.6% of body weight was lost in 2.4 days by fluid and diet restriction and forced sweating, and followed by a 5-h "loading" (food and drinks ad libitum). The net weight loss after GP and loading was 2.7 +/- 0.5%. Protein intakes (4-d food records) during GP and RP were 71 +/- 16 and RP 56 +/- 17 g.d-1, respectively. Carbohydrate intakes were 239 +/- 56 (GP) and 182 +/- 55 g.d-1 (RP). During GP and RP, mean thiamin, magnesium, and zinc intakes were at or below the respective recommendation. Thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, iron, and zinc status, assessed from blood chemistry, remained stable during both procedures. Changes in vitamin B6 indicator (E-ASTAC) and S-magnesium concentration were different (P < 0.01) between the procedures, suggesting negative trends during GP. Sprint (30-m run) and anaerobic (1-min Wingate test) performance was similar throughout the study. Following GP, vertical jump height with extra load increased by 6-8% (P < 0.01). Jumping results were not affected by RP. Hence, < or = 5% loss in body weight by either method did not impair experienced athletes' performance.
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... While studies have observed a negative effect of successive fights on physical, biological and psychological performance in combat sports, rapid weight reduction prior to the competition may worsen athletes' health and performance (12,13,15,17,21,23,30,32,38,40,41). ...
... Similarly, Artioli et al. did not observe any influence of food restriction-induced rapid weight loss on performance in judo (2). Thus, the influence of energy restriction-induced rapid weight loss on judo-related performance remains unclear (10,15,17,36). The major reasons for these controversial results are the limited number of available studies and their methodological heterogeneity, which preclude drawing firm conclusions. ...
... Indeed, re-feed and rehydration are common between weigh-in and the first fight in grappling combat athletes leading to body mass regain during this period (31). In addition, some designs did not include a control group and/or exercise protocols did not represent the typical energetic demand and competition format of judo (2,15,17). Finally, the performance assessment was done before and after the weight reduction and/or pre and post competition protocols without any information regarding the influence of fight successions (2,10). It seems important to better understand not only the overall impact of a whole judo competition on such performances, but also on the course of relevant parameters throughout the competition, to develop specific between-fight strategies for judo athletes who underwent weight loss or not. ...
... 3-4 weeks) in combat sports athletes 12,13 . This method is mainly based on energy restriction and increased energy expenditure 14 . However, energy restriction and intense exercise training can effect power during maximal cycling exercise and increase creatine kinase concentration, increasing the risk of injury to muscle tissue 12 . ...
... This result corroborates the findings of Ohta et al., 29 who investigated gradual weight loss in the period of 20 days before competition and found no differences in any evaluated strength parameters, and no significant changes in physical performance of the athletes. Previous studies that investigated the effects of gradual weight loss (i.e., 3 to 4 weeks) on physical performance in judo athletes also found no significant changes, using the vertical jump test 13,14 . ...
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... 8 Strategies used by combat sport athletes to facilitate RWL in the days before weigh-in may include various combinations of restricting total caloric intake, reducing carbohydrate intake, manipulating fecal bulk and gastrointestinal content, increasing energy expenditure and reducing glycogen bound body fluid through exercise, and/or water loading. 9 Although the magnitude of body mass losses associated with these methods are poorly reported, one controlled study observed a body mass reduction using a water loading technique applied over 5 days of approximately 3% of pre-RWL body mass. 10 During the hours leading up to competition, combat sport athletes may achieve additional losses in body mass of up to 5% or more by inducing acute dehydration through fluid restriction combined with exercise, and/or sauna or steam room use to facilitate sweating. ...
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... Although aerobic performance has been attributed to dehydration, decreased plasma volume, hydroelectrolytic disturbances, increased heart rate, impaired thermoregulation, and muscle glycogen depletion (Fogelholm, 1994), decreased anaerobic performance was related to reduced buffering capacity, glycogen depletion, and hydroelectrolytic disturbances (Fogelholm et al., 1993). Some studies have shown that athletes who lose more weight during the hours before combat events have a higher chance of success during the bout (Artioli et al., 2010b;Rhyu and Cho, 2014). ...
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... When necessary, the weigh-in can be conducted naked. in Sport (RED-S) syndrome (47), including specific issues in weight category sports (48). Since this enhanced interest is beyond the scope of this Statement, the reader is directed to specific resources on strategies and concerns for chronic weight loss in athletes (49)(50)(51)(52)(53), allowing the current article to focus on RWL while acknowledging that it occurs against a larger backdrop of body composition manipulation. Table 2 provides a summary of commonly utilized RWL strategies, including their associated potential benefits and disadvantages. ...
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... Sodium and potassium are the electrolytes responsible for muscle activation. When the studies were examined, it was found that there were no decrease in both muscle activation (Hayers & Morse, 2010) and minerals (Reljic et al., 2013;Fogelholm et al., 1993;Costill et al., 1976) responsible for muscle activation after rapid weight loss. It can be said that there is no difference in reaction time due to the reasons mentioned above. ...
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... In addition, analyzing some studies implies a difference between physical performance in laboratory tests and athletic performance in real competition after RWL. Strength, power, VO 2max , and anaerobic performance measured on the one hand in a vertical jump test (Viitasalo et al., 1987), and on the other hand in a Wingate test (Serfass et al., 1984;Reljic et al., 2016;Fogelholm et al., 1993), were not affected by WRL. These appear to be controversially discussed because of percentages of RWL and various measurements of athletic performance (Serfass et al., 1984). ...
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