We studied seven male wrestlers and three judo athletes (weight 55-93 kg) during two weight reductions. In the "gradual" procedure (GP), a 5.0 +/- 0.4% (mean +/- SEM) weight loss was achieved in 3 weeks by energy restriction. In the "rapid" procedure (RP), 6.0 +/- 0.6% of body weight was lost in 2.4 days by fluid and diet restriction and forced sweating, and followed by a 5-h "loading" (food and drinks ad libitum). The net weight loss after GP and loading was 2.7 +/- 0.5%. Protein intakes (4-d food records) during GP and RP were 71 +/- 16 and RP 56 +/- 17 g.d-1, respectively. Carbohydrate intakes were 239 +/- 56 (GP) and 182 +/- 55 g.d-1 (RP). During GP and RP, mean thiamin, magnesium, and zinc intakes were at or below the respective recommendation. Thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, iron, and zinc status, assessed from blood chemistry, remained stable during both procedures. Changes in vitamin B6 indicator (E-ASTAC) and S-magnesium concentration were different (P < 0.01) between the procedures, suggesting negative trends during GP. Sprint (30-m run) and anaerobic (1-min Wingate test) performance was similar throughout the study. Following GP, vertical jump height with extra load increased by 6-8% (P < 0.01). Jumping results were not affected by RP. Hence, < or = 5% loss in body weight by either method did not impair experienced athletes' performance.