Body-Mass Management of Australian Lightweight Rowers prior to and during Competition
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Purpose: Although the body-mass management strategies of athletes in high-participation weight-category sports such as wrestling have been thoroughly investigated, little is known about such practices among lightweight rowers. This study examined the body-mass management practices of lightweight rowers before competition and compared these with current guidelines of the International Federation of Rowing Association (FISA). Quantification of nutrient intake in the 1-2 h between weigh-in and
... ng was also sought. Methods: Lightweight rowers (N ϭ 100) competing in a national regatta completed a questionnaire that assessed body-mass management practices during the 4 wk before and throughout a regatta plus recovery strategies after weigh-in. Biochemical data were collected immediately after weigh-in to validate questionnaire responses. Responses were categorized according to gender and age category (Senior B or younger than 23 yr old, i.e., U23, Senior A or OPEN, i.e., open age limit) for competition. Results: Most athletes (male U23 76.5%, OPEN 92.3%; female U23 84.0%, OPEN 94.1%) decreased their body mass in the weeks before the regatta at rates compliant with FISA guidelines. Gradual dieting, fluid restriction, and increased training load were the most popular methods of body-mass management. Although the importance of recovery after weigh-in was recognized by athletes, nutrient intake and especially sodium (male U23 5.3 Ϯ 4.9, OPEN 7.7 Ϯ 5.9; female U23 5.7 Ϯ 6.8, OPEN 10.2 Ϯ 5.4 mg·kg Ϫ1 ) and fluid intake (male U23 12.1 Ϯ 7.1, OPEN 13.5 Ϯ 8.1; female U23 9.4 Ϯ 7.4, OPEN 14.8 Ϯ 6.9 mL·kg Ϫ1 ) were below current sports nutrition recommendations. Conclusion: Few rowers were natural lightweights; the majority reduced their body mass in the weeks before a regatta. Nutritional recovery strategies implemented by lightweight rowers after weigh-in were not consistent with current guidelines.