Methods of body mass reduction by combat sport athletes

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2012 Apr;22(2):89-97. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.22.2.89. Epub 2012 Feb 15.


The aim of this study was to investigate the methods adopted to reduce body mass (BM) in competitive athletes from the grappling (judo, jujitsu) and striking (karate and tae kwon do) combat sports in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. An exploratory methodology was employed through descriptive research, using a standardized questionnaire with objective questions self-administered to 580 athletes (25.0 ± 3.7 yr, 74.5 ± 9.7 kg, and 16.4% ± 5.1% body fat). Regardless of the sport, 60% of the athletes reported using a method of rapid weight loss (RWL) through increased energy expenditure. Strikers tend to begin reducing BM during adolescence. Furthermore, 50% of the sample used saunas and plastic clothing, and only 26.1% received advice from a nutritionist. The authors conclude that a high percentage of athletes uses RWL methods. In addition, a high percentage of athletes uses unapproved or prohibited methods such as diuretics, saunas, and plastic clothing. The age at which combat sport athletes reduce BM for the first time is also worrying, especially among strikers.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Athletes
  • Brazil
  • Clothing
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Counseling
  • Diet*
  • Diuretics
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Martial Arts*
  • Plastics
  • Self Report
  • Steam Bath
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Loss / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Diuretics
  • Plastics