Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dying to take part in sport?

MuayThai cutting weight making weight Boxing Diet

How healthy is sport?

Not something many of us question, everyone knows sport is good for you, right? But this article I read yesterday points out that maintaining a healthy weight for competition isn't always the same as being healthy. 

It's definitely something boxers struggle with, most have a "walk-around" weight which is significantly higher than their competitive weight, and the same appears to be true for other martial arts as well as sports like gymnastics. The author of that study (and studies she quotes) feels women suffer more from this than men, "Like the non-sports world, females are more affected than men."

That is something I would quibble with, she has clearly never spent time in a boxing gym. Every male boxer (well, the good ones!) knows their weight to the gram, knows the weight of their food, knows the effect of drinking 200mls of water vs 300mls before a weigh-in. I learnt more about food control and weight-loss from men than any women's magazine. Not saying all of it was necessarily healthy, but that's the story.

It would be interesting to do a comparative study between males taking part in weight-specific sports and males taking part in sports such as rugby or soccer where weight-loss is not so central. Or indeed if males in sports like American football or rugby are under the opposite pressure: to bulk up.

From what you know in your sports, do you think women are more prone to problems than men when it comes to weight?


Snowcatcher said...

Interesting comparison. Weight can affect all cyclists during winter, especially if they live in climates where they are unable to burn the number of carbs they burn in spring, summer and fall. But I do agree I learn more from being in the sport than I would learn from any women's magazine. I don't know that a women's magazine would contain much helpful to athletes, unless it was sports specific.

niamh said...

@Snowcatcher - It must be very difficult for you in the winter, from the photos on your blog it would be impossible to cycle then? And yes, a lot of those mags are much more about losing weight for an occasion not a regular, healthy life. "Women's Health" is quite good, lots of focus on nutrition instead of dieting but otherwise ... *trails off*

Katarzyna said...

Weight is important in all sports but as you say some have to lose it while others have to gain it. With running I find that having a lower body weight helps me run better.
When it comes to women's health magazines it's sometimes hard to tell what is and what isn't healthy, and the info is very repetitive which is why I've started reading more sport specific magazines like Triathlon & Multi Sport and Runner's World which have more suitable nutrition advice than other consumer health mags.

niamh said...

@Katarzyna - It's a shame that mainstream mags aren't more sensible. There is an advertising campaign on in Ireland now aimed at reducing weight but it's all focused on your waist measurement when surely just telling people to get out and about would be more fun?