UNITED STATES SPORTS ACADEMY
Health Effects of Weight Cutting on an Athlete
A Class Paper Submitted for
Professor: Wirt Edwards
Weight cutting is an old and traditional practice many athletes and coaches implement as part of a pre-competition regime, making weight for a competition, or simply trying to attempt to lose weight for a variety of personal reasons. Weight cutting would be defined as an athlete making an effort to lose weight rapidly by means such as, but not limited to, extreme dieting or fasting, not consuming enough water, excessive exercising in plastic suits, saunas, abusing diuretics, laxatives, and water pills, and/or practicing the unhealthy act of vomiting. Weight cutting is practiced for multiple reasons and in many sports. In bodybuilding, athletes work towards a dangerously low level of body fat and water weight to impress judges and audiences in a completion. In weightlifting and wrestling, an athlete must make a weight class to perform at peak over the rest of the competition. In wrestling and judo, about 60 – 90% of collegiate, professional, and interscholastic athletes are known to practice weight cutting (Franchini, Brito, & Artioli, 2012, p. 1). In acrobatic sports like Gymnastics, athletes are pushed to keep minimum body fat so agility during jumps would not be affected and appearance would not be an issue in the scoring process (Benardot, 2012, p. 271-272). In sports such as swimming, running, and bicycling, the concept of less weight equals less drag is most prevalent and makes the most sense as well since a high strength to weight ratio would most likely hold an edge over other competitors with a less strength to weight ratio (Benardot, 2012, p. 275-276). As Mountjoy (2008) stated, “…athletes who train and compete in sports where leanness is important are at risk of harm to health and...
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