Weight Loss Strategies

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Background and objective: The use of suboptimal weight loss strategies in order to reach specific weight ranges as observed in combat sport disciplines can give rise to severe health problems. However, particular aspects regarding management of weight category comparing three sport disciplines remain to be investigated. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to obtain information regarding the weight loss strategies that competitors performed before a tournament. Materials and Methods: This article describes the most common dietary-nutritional strategies used by 140 national university male competitors of judo (n = 52), karate (n = 40) and taekwondo (n = 48) in order to achieve a specific weight, according to the rapid weight loss questionnaire (RWLQ) and the EAT-27 questionnaire. Results: Around 50% of participants were not involved in a weight loss process. Among the remaining participants, we considered three periods for weight reduction: less than 1 week (35% in judo, 8% in karate and 19% in taekwondo), less than 1 month (17% in judo, 15% in karate and 26% in taekwondo) and more than 1 month (0% in judo, 5% in karate and 21% in taekwondo). Severe fasting, focused on food/water restriction, was the most commonly used strategy, being more frequent in judo players. Light weight judo practitioners generally lost 2–5 kg before the contest. One third of participants avoided carbohydrate consumption when performing food restriction. Finally, individuals that reduced weight in the last week seemed to develop an unhealthy psychological relationship with food. Conclusion: All these aspects could be particularly relevant, providing information regarding how competitors manage basic nutritional concepts that guide dieting strategies. This information is relevant to prepare future educational interventions in the area of nutrition for competitors, coaches and technical staff.

Keywords: body weight, eating disorders, judo, karate, taekwondo, weight management

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