Weight loss in grappling combat sports: Review and applied recommendations Perda de peso em esportes de combate de domínio: Revisão e recomendações aplicadas

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Revista Brasileira de Cineantropometria e Desempenho Humano
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Artioli G.G.
Franchini E.
Lancha Junior A.H.
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The objective of this review is to organize the main literature findings on the effects of rapid weight loss on physiological systems and performance in grappling combat sports. Several surveys showed that most wrestlers lose significant amount of body weight few days prior to competitions by means of several harmful methods, as severe food and water restriction, or even vomiting and use of laxative and diuretics. The same weight loss patterns seems to occur among Brazilian judo athletes. Many athletes begin to lose weight frequently in puberty. In general, the weight cycles are very recurrent during seasons. A small decrease in some growth variables, followed by a rapid catch-up can be observed during a season. The rapid weight loss involves several adverse effects such as hormonal imbalance, body fat redistribution, decrease of immune system activity, impairments on cardiovascular system, imbalance on water and electrolytes homeostasis and decrease in renal function and in mental and mood state. The aerobic as well as anaerobic performance can be negatively affected by weight reduction. Depending on the kind of weight loss, diet and the recovery time after weighing, anaerobic performance may not be decreased. The weight reduction, if necessary, should be gradual and small. Athletes must consume a high carbohydrate diet during weight loss period and after weighing, prior to the beginning of the competitions. Dehydration should be avoided. Relatively simple changes in rules combined with educational programs could minimize rapid weight loss-related problems.
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