People manage their body weight to keep them healthy.
Healthy body weight can help prevent lots of chronic diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Elite athletes manage their body weight for different reasons. For weight-classified sports such as judo, boxing, and wrestling, optimal pre-competition weight is very important.
Sometimes athletes need to achieve ideal body weight in a short time. Thus they have to lose weight or gain weight fast and intensively.
So how can athletes lose weight fast?
It is a quite complex procedure that requires many people’s efforts, including athletes, coaches, trainers, and nutritional experts.
Intense weight loss can bring a lot of side effects, such as dehydration, dizziness, vertigo, and lightheadedness, therefore medical specialists are necessary too.
However, even though the weight loss procedure is not comfortable, some athletes still manage to lose weight rapidly during the final few days before their competitions after a long period of mild weight loss.
One recent Japanese study examined the energy balance in elite athletes who had undergone intensive weight loss.
Eight male college wrestlers were recruited for the study.
All wrestlers were competing at the international level or in the university wrestling championship.
All athletes needed to lose 6% of their body mass within 53 hours after 7 days of weight stable periods. The researchers checked their energy intake and expenditure from diet records.
Each athlete could select their own weight loss method, including reducing food and fluid intake, sweating by using saunas, or exercising with plastic or rubberized suits.
They could do their weight loss at home or in clubs. All of them recorded their food and fluid intake and training procedures during the 53 hours. They also weighed themselves during the weight-loss period.
The researchers found no BMI changes during the weight-stable period. But in the 53-hour intensive weight loss period, BMI decreased dramatically.
On average, each athlete lost 4.7 kg. In the 53-hour period, each athlete used about 7000 calories and consumed about 1500 calories. They ate much less food during the period.
The researchers are confident that they measured the energy balance accurately during the experiment.
They do not recommend rapid weight loss, because it can harm body health.
They also suggest that commonly practiced extreme energy restrictions during rapid weight loss may be not necessary.
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