Thoughts and perceptions of weight cutting in Olympic Weightlifters

Gee, Thomas, Campbell, Paul, Bargh, Melissa and Martin, Daniel (2023) Thoughts and perceptions of weight cutting in Olympic Weightlifters. In: UKSCA Annual Conference 2023, 18 - 20 August, 2023, East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.

Thoughts and perceptions of weight cutting in Olympic Weightlifters
Conference poster
UKSCA 2023 poster - Gee et al.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive


Introduction / purpose
Rapid weight loss (RWL) practices are common amongst athletes in order to ‘make weight’ for a chosen bodyweight class. This study’s purpose was to investigate attributed thoughts and perceptions of Olympic weightlifters from Great Britain who engaged in RWL practices. Participants (n = 39, male = 22, female = 17) were recruited from International Weightlifting Federation lifting populations (mandatory two-hour competition weigh-in). Of respondents, 33 of 39 (85%) had purposely acutely reduced body mass to compete.

The ‘Pre-competition weight management practices questionnaire’ included open-ended questions regarding thoughts, feeling and mood during RWL and post weigh-in. Qualitative responses were analysed via content analysis principles. Authors enhanced familiarity with data by reading/re-reading each qualitative component. Then, adopting an inductive approach, generated codes by identifying relevant extracts of data. Codes were then combined into categories based on frequency of occurrence of key words capturing the wider meaning of data and illustrating areas of consistency in responses. Subsequently a ‘critical friend’ approach resulted in changes to some codes/categories, which authors critically challenged to reduce potential for error and data misinterpretation.

In total 32 of 33 weightlifters (16 male, 16 female) engaging in RWL provided responses to open-ended questions. Content analysis revealed 72 raw data extracts resulting in the generation of 16 codes. Codes were aligned to categories; cognitions, reflections, physiological perception, emotional response. A predominance of negative thoughts and perceptions were attributed during RWL, the emergence of codes; low mood, hunger, fatigue, irritation and anxiety accounting for 72% of data extracts. Low mood, hunger and anxiety were more frequently attributed from females than males. However, only 22% of weightlifters indicated that attributed thoughts, feelings and general mood remain post weigh-in.

Practical applications / conclusions
The prevalence of negative thoughts and perceptions of weight cutting observed in the current study are in accordance to those reported within previous cohorts of strength sport athletes. Olympic weightlifting athletes and coaches should consider whether negative mood and feelings associated by many lifters during weight cutting are an acceptable aspect of pre-competition preparation in order to compete in a desired weight class.

Keywords:Weight-cutting, Olympic Weightlifting, Mood, Rapid weight loss, Athletes
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND SCIENCE > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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ID Code:56119
Deposited On:12 Sep 2023 13:08

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