Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NATA releases Safe Weight Loss & Maintenance Practices Statement

This was one interesting read, and I recommend it to anyone out there.  As athletic trainers, we are often faced with questions from athletes regarding proper nutrition, weight loss, weight gain, etc.  Some ordered and random thoughts (the article is VERY in depth, these are just a few points it touched on)...

The article begins by identifying that weight and body composition are believed to influence both physical performance and aesthetics of performance.  I found it refreshing they made the distinction. The authors also utilized the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy, which essentially uses scientific evidence in order for the reader to weigh current legitimacy of topics...basically lending credence to proposed guidelines.  A nice touch.

While many sports have weight class systems (think crew, wrestling, etc.), few use standard weight/body composition guidelines.

Body fat minimums are higher for high school athletes than collegiate athletes.

Make sure your athlete is well hydrated prior to performing body composition assessment.

In children, just a 1% reduction in hydration caused both an increase in core temperature and a decrease in aerobic capacity.  In adults, a 2% reduction in hydration caused decreased reflexes, max oxygen consumption, work capacity, and both muscle strength and endurance. 

Disordered eating: It's not just females.  11% of wrestlers have had eating disorders or disordered eating (another neat distinction, which I've touched on in classes in the past),  I actually thought this number might be much higher. 

All in all, a good review of some concepts, along with integrating some new information I was unaware of.  The authors clearly had a difficult topic to tackle; I often hear athletes complain of coaches who say "You need to lose weight." or "You need to add some muscle".  But often times, they are in fact, seeking out that type of feedback themselves in order to improve their performance and/or body image.  Some feel it's a taboo topic to discuss, but it's often at the forefront of every athlete's mind.  I think we all feel a twinge of hesitation when dealing with this topic, but truth be told, sometimes the answer is not in what you say, but how you say it.  Perhaps most importantly, we need to be able to guide the athlete on how to successfully navigate accomplish their goal in a structured fashion, or at least point them in the right direction of someone who can.

Very interested in hearing your thoughts on this!  



1 comment:

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