Making weight refers to the process of reducing body weight to compete in weight-categorized sports. The current study explored judo athletes’ psychological experiences of making weight. Six international standard judo athletes participated for the length of time they required to make weight. An unstructured diary was used to collect data daily, supported by a follow-up interview. Data were analyzed using a holistic content analysis. Emergent themes included initiating the making weight process, competing demands of dual roles, temptation, impacts of restricted nutrition, and the desire for social support. Athlete stories provided rich descriptions of their experiences, revealing the extent to which difficulties were concealed and the process of making weight was normalized. Their accounts highlight the challenges associated with social support but the value of emotional disclosure. Future research should explore the potential uses of diaries as a form of disclosure.
Matthew Sitch and Melissa Day
Joseph J. Matthews, Edward N. Stanhope, Mark S. Godwin, Matthew E.J. Holmes, and Guilherme G. Artioli
Across combat sports, athletes compete in predetermined weight categories to be matched with an opponent of equal body mass, body size, strength, and power ( Franchini et al., 2012 ). However, for competition, athletes typically engage in a process called making weight, characterized by rapid
Gwen E. Chapman
This paper uses a Foucauldian framework for understanding how human experience is shaped by relations of power to explore the weight management practices of members of a women’s lightweight rowing team. Like other forms of disciplinary power, making weight involves implementing a regimen governed by normalizing assumptions, maintained through self-monitoring, and supported by discourse. The practices of making weight also are examined as a technology of the self that the rowers used to create and understand themselves. The position of women’s sport at the intersection of sports and gender discourse offered the rowers opportunities to oppose relations of power while reinforcing their limits within the confines of a disciplinary matrix.
Eimear Dolan, SarahJane Cullen, Adrian McGoldrick, and Giles D. Warrington
To examine the impact of making weight on aerobic work capacity and cognitive processes in a group of professional jockeys.
Nine male jockeys and 9 age-, gender-, and BMI-matched controls were recruited to take part in two experimental trials, conducted 48 hr apart. The jockeys were asked to reduce their body mass by 4% in the 48 hr between trials, and controls maintained usual dietary and physical activity habits between trials. Aerobic work capacity was assessed by performance during an incremental cycle ergometer test. Motor response, decision making, executive function, and working memory were assessed using a computerized cognitive test battery.
The jockey group significantly reduced their body mass by 3.6 ± 0.9% (p < .01). Mean urine specific gravity (Usg) readings increased from 1.019 ± 0.004–1.028 ± 0.005 (p < .01) following this reduction in body mass. Peak work capacity was significantly reduced between trials in the jockey group (213 ± 27 vs. 186 ± 23 W, p < .01), although VO2peak (46.4 ± 3.7 vs. 47.2 ± 6.3 ml·kg·min-1) remained unchanged. No changes were identified for any cognitive variable in the jockey group between trials.
Simulation of race day preparation, by allocating a weight that is 4% below baseline body mass caused all jockeys to report for repeat testing in a dehydrated state, and a reduction in aerobic work capacity, both of which may impact on racing performance.
SarahJane Cullen, Eimear Dolan, Kate O Brien, Adrian McGoldrick, and Giles Warrington
Balance and anaerobic performance are key attributes related to horse-racing performance, but research on the impact of making weight for racing on these parameters remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of rapid weight loss in preparation for racing on balance and anaerobic performance in a group of jockeys.
Twelve apprentice male jockeys and 12 age- and gender-matched controls completed 2 trials separated by 48 h. In both trials, body mass, hydration status, balance, and anaerobic performance were assessed. Between the trials, the jockeys reduced body mass by 4% using weight-loss methods typically adopted in preparation for racing, while controls maintained body mass through typical daily dietary and physical activity habits.
Apprentice jockeys decreased mean body mass by 4.2% ± 0.3% (P < .001) with a subsequent increase in dehydration (P < .001). The controls maintained body mass and a euhydrated state. No differences in balance, on the left or right side, or in peak power, mean power, or fatigue index were reported between the trials in either group.
Results from this study indicate that a 4% reduction in body mass in 48 h through the typical methods employed for racing, in association with an increase in dehydration, resulted in no impairments in balance or anaerobic performance. Further research is required to evaluate performance in a sport-specific setting and to investigate the specific physiological mechanisms involved.
Kadhiresan R. Murugappan, Ariel Mueller, Daniel P. Walsh, Shahzad Shaefi, Akiva Leibowitz, and Todd Sarge
( Kazis & Iglesias, 2003 ; McNulty et al., 2020 ). Furthermore, overexercising or underfueling can cause relative energy deficiency in sport in both female and male athletes. Due to the high prevalence of calorie restriction in MMA athletes making weight ( Connor & Egan, 2019 ), they are at risk for
Robert A. Oppliger, Suzanne A. Nelson Steen, and James R. Scott
Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to examine the weight management (WM) behaviors of collegiate wrestlers after the implementation of the NCAA’s new weight control rules. Methods: In the fall of 1999, a survey was distributed to 47 college wrestling teams stratified by collegiate division (i.e., I, II, III) and competitive quality. Forty-three teams returned surveys for a total of 741 responses. Comparisons were made using the collegiate division, weight class, and the wrestler’s competitive winning percentage. Results: The most weight lost during the season was 5.3 kg ± 2.8 kg (mean ± SD) or 6.9% ± 4.7% of the wrestler’s weight; weekly weight lost averaged 2.9 kg ± 1.3 kg or 4.3% ± 2.3% of the wrestler’s weight; post-season, the average wrestler regained 5.5 kg ± 3.6 kg or 8.6% ± 5.4% of their weight. Coaches and fellow wrestlers were the primary influence on weight loss methods; however, 40.2% indicated that the new NCAA rules deterred extreme weight loss behaviors. The primary methods of weight loss reported were gradual dieting (79.4%) and increased exercise (75.2%). However, 54.8% fasted, 27.6% used saunas, and 26.7% used rubber/ plastic suits at least once a month. Cathartics and vomiting were seldom used to lose weight, and only 5 met three or more of the criteria for bulimia nervosa. WM behaviors were more extreme among freshmen, lighter weight classes, and Division II wrestlers. Compared to previous surveys of high school wrestlers, this cohort of wrestlers reported more extreme WM behaviors. However, compared to college wrestlers in the 1980s, weight loss behaviors were less extreme. Conclusions: The WM practices of college wrestlers appeared to have improved compared to wrestlers sampled previously. Forty percent of the wrestlers were influenced by the new NCAA rules and curbed their weight loss practices. Education is still needed, as some wrestlers are still engaging in dangerous WM methods.
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.
Karen A. Smith, Robert J. Naughton, Carl Langan-Evans, and Kiara Lewis
It is well-documented that combat athletes use a variety of both acute and chronic strategies to achieve temporary body mass loss in a process known as “making weight,” to compete within a lower weight category, with the intention of gaining a competitive advantage over their opponents ( Burke et
Craig A. Horswill
Amateur wrestlers practice weight loss for ergogenic reasons. The effects of rapid weight loss on aerobic performance are adverse and profound, but the effects on anaerobic performance are equivocal Anaerobic performance—strength and power—may be the most relevant type of performance to the wrestler. Maintenance of or even small decrements in anaerobic performance may translate into improvements in performance relative to the weight class, the factor by which wrestlers are matched for competition. During the recovery period between the official weigh-in and competition, wrestlers achieve at least partial nutritional recovery, which appears to benefit performance. Successive bouts of (a) weight loss to make weight and (b) recovery for performance lead to weight cycling. There is speculation that weight cycling may contribute to chronic glycogen depletion, reductions in fat-free weight, a decrease in resting metabolic rate, and an increase in body fat. The latter two would augment the difficulty of losing weight for subsequent weigh-ins. Most research indicates that the suppressed resting metabolic rate with weight loss in wrestlers appears to be transient, but subsequent research is needed for confirmation.