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Boris Dugonjić, Saša Krstulović and Goran Kuvačić

(four to five). Each day, the morning weigh-in is organized for all athletes competing that day. Therefore, it is necessary for an athlete to maintain maximum permissible weight in the category for a more extended period. It seems that for this very reason kickboxers apply a more gradual approach to

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Reid Reale, Gregory R. Cox, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke


Combat-sport athletes acutely reduce body mass (BM) before weigh-in in an attempt to gain a size/strength advantage over smaller opponents. Few studies have investigated these practices among boxers and none have explored the impact of this practice on competitive success.


One hundred (30 women, 70 men) elite boxers participating in the Australian national championships were weighed at the official weigh-in and 1 h before each competition bout. Regain in BM after weigh-in was compared between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of each fight, men and women, and weight divisions. Boxers were surveyed on their pre- and post-weigh-in nutrition practices.


The lightest men’s weight category displayed significantly greater relative BM regain than all other divisions, with no difference between other divisions. BM prebout was higher than official weigh-in for men (2.12% ± 1.62%; P < .001; ES = 0.13) and women (1.49% ± 1.65%; P < .001; ES = 0.11). No differences in BM regain were found between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of individual bouts, or between preliminary or final bouts. BM regain was significantly greater (0.37% BM, P < .001; ES = 0.25) before an afternoon bout compared with a morning bout.


Boxers engage in acute BM-loss practices before the official competition weigh-in, but this does not appear to affect competition outcomes, at least when weight regain between weigh-in and fighting is used as a proxy for the magnitude of acute loss. While boxers recognize the importance of recovering after weigh-in, current practice is not aligned with best-practice guidance.

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Patricia A. Hageman, Carol H. Pullen and Michael Yoerger

criterion targets by self-report and accelerometry, and who were enrolled in a web-based weight loss and weight maintenance clinical trial. Methods This cross-sectional study analyzed the baseline data of women who were randomized in the Women Weigh-in for Wellness community-based trial designed to compare

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Daniel M. Landers, Shawn M. Arent and Rafer S. Lutz

Recent research has demonstrated transient affective changes and impairment of short-term memory in college wrestlers as a result of rapid weight loss (RWL) of at least 5% body weight prior to competition. This study examined the effects of RWL on cognition and affect in high school wrestlers. Wrestlers were considered to be engaging in RWL if they were losing over 5% of body weight (n = 14). Those losing less than 1% of body weight (n = 14) were considered maintainers and served as the control group. Both groups were given a battery of tests assessing cognitive performance (Trail Making Tests A & B, Stroop color-word test, Wechsler digit span, and choice reaction/movement time) and affective state (PANAS) at normal weight (5 to 10 days prior to competition) and again 8 to 12 hours prior to weigh-in. Results indicated an average loss of 4.68 kg in the RWL group and 0.29 kg in the control group. A group-by-time MANOVA and univariate follow-up tests indicated a significant group-by-time interaction for positive affect, p < .014, with the RWL wrestlers having less positive affect than the control group just prior to weigh-in. However, none of the cognitive performance tests demonstrated significant differential changes for RWL vs. control groups, p > .10. Given the control for competition effects in the present study, results suggest there are affective disturbances, but not cognitive impairments, associated with RWL of at least 5% body weight in high school wrestlers.

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Elizabeth M. Broad, Louise M. Burke, Greg R. Cox, Prue Heeley and Malcolm Riley

Fluid losses (measured by body weight changes) and voluntary fluid intakes were measured in elite basketball, netball, and soccer teams during typical summer and winter exercise sessions to determine fluid requirements and the degree of fluid replacement. Each subject was weighed in minimal clothing before and immediately after training, weights, and competition sessions; fluid intake, duration of exercise, temperature and humidity, and opportunity to drink were recorded. Sweat rates were greatest during competition sessions and significantly lower during weights sessions for all sports. Seasonal variation in dehydration (%DH) was not as great as may have been expected, particularly in sports played indoors. Factors influencing fluid replacement during exercise included provision of an individual water bottle, proximity to water bottles during sessions, encouragement to drink, rules of the game, duration and number of breaks or substitutions, and awareness of personal sweat rates. Guidelines for optimizing fluid intakes in these three sports are provided.

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Tanya McGuane, Stephen Shannon, Lee-Ann Sharp, Martin Dempster and Gavin Breslin

Horse racing requires jockeys to weigh in prior to each competition, with failure automatically excluding the jockey from competition. As such, many jockeys frequently employ long- and short-term “wasting” weight-loss techniques that can be harmful to health. This study aimed to explore jockeys’ social norms and experiences regarding wasting and the effects of wasting on their mental health. Six professional jockeys with a minimum of 2 years professional riding experience were recruited from a range of stud-racing yards in Ireland. From individual participant interviews, an interpretative-phenomenological-analysis approach revealed four themes: “Day in, day out,” “Horse racing is my life,” “You just do what you have to do,” and “This is our world.” Themes were interpreted through social-identity theory, which highlighted how wasting is an acceptable in-group norm among jockeys, irrespective of relationship problems and mental health consequences. Recommendations are offered for intervening to support jockeys’ mental health.

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James P. Morton, Colin Robertson, Laura Sutton and Don P. M

Professional boxing is a combat sport categorized into a series of weight classes. Given the sport’s underpinning culture, boxers’ typical approach to “making weight” is usually via severe acute and/or chronic energy restriction and dehydration. Such practices have implications for physical performance and also carry health risks. This article provides a case-study account outlining a more structured and gradual approach to helping a professional male boxer make weight for the 59-kg superfeatherweight division. Over a 12-week period, the client athlete adhered to a daily diet approximately equivalent to his resting metabolic rate (6–7 MJ; 40% carbohydrate, 38% protein, 22% fat). Average body-mass loss was 0.9 ± 0.4 kg/wk, equating to a total loss of 9.4 kg. This weight loss resulted in a decrease in percent body fat from 12.1% to 7.0%. In the 30 hr between weigh-in and competition, the client consumed a high-carbohydrate diet (12 g/kg body mass) supported by appropriate hydration strategies and subsequently entered the ring at a fighting weight of 63.2 kg. This nutritional strategy represented a major change in the client’s habitual weight-making practices and did not rely on any form of intended dehydration during the training period or before weighing in. The intervention demonstrates that a more gradual approach to making weight in professional boxing can be successfully achieved via a combination of restricted energy intake and increased energy expenditure, providing there is willingness on the part of the athlete and coaches involved to adopt novel practices.

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Stefan Pettersson and Christina M. Berg

The purpose of the current study was to investigate elite female (n = 21) and male (n = 47) combat sports athletes’ (n = 68; mean age (± SD) 21.3 ± 3.8 years; mean height 177 ± 10.2 cm) dietary intake between weigh-in and the first bout in Olympic combat sports. The data were collected at 6 separate tournaments and measurements included estimated food records, time for recovery, and body weight (BW) at weigh-in and first match. In total, 33 athletes participated in wrestling and taekwondo, sports with extended recovery times, and 35 athletes in judo and boxing, sports with limited recovery time. The results displayed that despite a mean consumption of food and drinks corresponding to 4.2 kg, the athletes only regained an average of 1.9 kg BW during recovery. Water accounted for 86% of the total intake. For each liter of water consumed, athletes gained 0.57 kg BW, when excluding heavy weight athletes (n = 5). Carbohydrate consumption was 5.5 g/kg BW, compared with the recommended 8–10 g/kg BW. In total, one-quarter of the consumed water originated from carbohydrate-rich drinks. Given the average recovery time of 18 (wrestling, taekwondo) versus 8 hr (judo, boxing), the former group consumed twice the amount of water, carbohydrates, protein, and fat as the latter group. In conclusion, a large proportion of the participants did not meet the recovery nutrition guidelines for carbohydrates. In addition, the discrepancy between nutrient intake and weight gain points to the physiological barriers to retaining fluids during a limited recovery time after engaging in weight making practices.

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Joseph John Matthews and Ceri Nicholas

There is a lack of research documenting the weight-making practices of mixed-martial-arts (MMA) competitors. The purpose of the investigation was to quantify the magnitude and identify the methods of rapid weight loss (RWL) and rapid weight gain (RWG) in MMA athletes preparing for competition. Seven athletes (mean ± SD, age 24.6 ± 3.5 yrs, body mass 69.9 ± 5.7 kg, competitive experience 3.1 ± 2.2 yrs) participated in a repeated-measures design. Measures of dietary intake, urinary hydration status, and body mass were recorded in the week preceding competition. Body mass decreased significantly (p < .0005) from baseline by 5.6 ± 1.4 kg (8 ± 1.8%). During the RWG period (32 ± 1 hr) body mass increased significantly (p < .001) by 7.4 ± 2.8 kg (11.7 ± 4.7%), exceeding RWL. Mean energy and carbohydrate intake were 3176 ± 482 kcal・day-1 and 471 ± 124 g・day-1, respectively. At the official weigh-in 57% of athletes were dehydrated (1033 ± 19 mOsmol・kg-1) and the remaining 43% were severely dehydrated (1267 ± 47 mOsmol・kg-1). Athletes reported using harmful dehydration-based RWL strategies, including sauna (43%) and training in plastic suits (43%). Results demonstrated RWG greater than RWL, this is a novel finding and may be attributable to the 32 hr duration from weigh-in till competition. The observed magnitude of RWL and strategies used are comparable to those which have previously resulted in fatalities. Rule changes which make RWL impractical should be implemented with immediate effect to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of competitors.

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Victor Silveira Coswig, David Hideyoshi Fukuda and Fabrício Boscolo Del Vecchio

The purpose of this study was to compare biochemical and hormonal responses between mixed martial arts (MMA) competitors with minimal prefight weight loss and those undergoing rapid weight loss (RWL). Blood samples were taken from 17 MMA athletes (Mean± SD; age: 27.4 ±5.3yr; body mass: 76.2 ± 12.4kg; height: 1.71 ± 0.05m and training experience: 39.4 ± 25 months) before and after each match, according to the official events rules. The no rapid weight loss (NWL, n = 12) group weighed in on the day of the event (~30 min prior fight) and athletes declared not having used RWL strategies, while the RWL group (n = 5) weighed in 24 hr before the event and the athletes claimed to have lost 7.4 ± 1.1kg, approximately 10% of their body mass in the week preceding the event. Results showed significant (p < .05) increases following fights, regardless of group, in lactate, glucose, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatinine, and cortisol for all athletes. With regard to group differences, NWL had significantly (p < .05) greater creatinine levels (Mean± SD; pre to post) (NWL= 101.6 ± 15–142.3 ± 22.9μmol/L and RWL= 68.9 ± 10.6–79.5 ± 15.9μmol/L), while RWL had higher LDH (median [interquartile range]; pre to post) (NWL= 211.5[183–236] to 231[203–258]U/L and RWL= 390[370.5–443.5] to 488[463.5–540.5]U/L) and AST (NWL= 30[22–37] to 32[22–41]U/L and 39[32.5–76.5] to 72[38.5–112.5] U/L) values (NWL versus RWL, p < .05). Post hoc analysis showed that AST significantly increased in only the RWL group, while creatinine increased in only the NWL group. The practice of rapid weight loss showed a negative impact on energy availability and increased both muscle damage markers and catabolic expression in MMA fighters.