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Long Term Effects & Chronic Illness

Eating Disorders

(See Eating Disorders tab for more info!)

Athletes in combat sports are exposed to a rigid diet in order to perform at the highest athletic level. Additionally, diet is altered to achieve sport-specific body types. That can mean that there is a high risk of body image issues that can lead to severe eating disorders.

Lack of proper dietary nourishment can damage the body's organs and can severely impact cognitive function.

Eating disorders alongside rapid weight loss can influence growth and development in adolescents. (Franchini et al., 2012)

"Beginning to cut weight at early agesare at higher risk of weight loss-related problems." (Franchini et al., 2012)

Eating disorders can be life altering. 


Rapid weight loss before a combat sport followed by calorie indulging after competition can severely alter the function of the digestive system in the athlete in the future.


Additionally, it can be difficult to "maintain adequate nutrition."

Skeletal Muscle Damage

Dehydration and Associated Effects

Research Study

"It appears that judokas who rapidly lost at least 5% of their body weight prior to competition are physiologically worn-out before competition." (Roklicer et al., 2020)

Evidence of this study (referenced below) shows that rapid weight loss leads to severe muscle damage.

Being that combat athletes heavily rely on their muscular strength, weight cutting can be a detrimental loss not only physically, but also mentally.

Several athletes were observed before, during and after severe weight cutting for Judo. 

Two biomarkers (myoglobin and creatine kinase) were recorded to present whether or not weight cutting was damaging skeletal muscle. 

The researchers "hypothesized that rapid weight loss would impair oxygen transportation and lower red blood cell count in comparison with the weight maintenance period." (Roklicer et al., 2020)



Barley, O. R., Chapman, D. W., & Abbiss, C. R. (2019). The current state of weight-cutting in combat sports. Sports (Basel), 7(5), 123. 10.3390/sports7050123

Franchini, E., Brito, C. J., & Artioli, G. G. (2012). Weight loss in combat sports: Physiological, psychological and performance effects. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 52. 10.1186/1550-2783-9-52

Roklicer, R., Lakicevic, N., Stajer, V., Trivic, T., Bianco, A., Mani, D., Milosevic, Z., Maksimovic, N., Paoli, A., & Drid, P. (2020). The effects of rapid weight loss on skeletal muscle in judo athletes. Journal of Translational Medicine, 18(1), 142. 10.1186/s12967-020-02315-x

Dehydration can be indicated by dark urine, dry mouth, light headedness, etc.

Dehydration is a common issue that athletes face when cutting weight in combat sports. The depletion of water weight is one of the ways athletes can reach their performance weight. However, there are severe consequences associated with dehydration.

-elimination of water intake

-sweat loss through intense exercise 

-sweat loss during sauna sessions



What does that mean for the body? 

How is dehydration achieved and intensified?

What is dehydration?

Dehydration is excessive water depletion in the body.

Dehydration can negatively effect posture maintenance.

It also significantly impacts the ability for an athlete to perform their sport.

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