Nathalia F. Camarço, Ivo V. Sousa Neto, Dahan C. Nascimento, Jeeser A. Almeida, Denis C. L. Vieira, Thiago S. Rosa, Guilherme B. Pereira, Jonato Prestes

Camarço et al., J Clin Transl Res, 2016; 2(2): 63-69
Published online: 19 June, 2016


Background and Aim: Rapid weight loss (RWL) is extensively practiced by combat sports athletes, in-cluding Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but its effects on performance are not well established with different magnitudes of RWL, including those higher than 5% of total body weight. The aim of the present study was to follow MMA athletes during RWL with subsequent weight regain to evaluate the responses of isometric strength, power, cognition and salivary nitrite (NO2–) content.
Methods: Two professional male MMA fighters, same age, competing in the same weight category under-went two magnitudes of RWL before a simulated competition period. Anthropometric measures, records of nutritional status, training, voluntary dehydration strategies, salivary samples, cognition response, isometric strength and muscular power were obtained: (I) 7 days before combat, (II) at the weigh-in moment, and (III) in the combat day.
Results and Conclusions: Athlete 1 lost 7.2 kg (9.1% of total bodyweight) and Athlete 2 lost 4.0 kg (5.3% of total bodyweight). Athlete 1 had a lower and misbalanced caloric ingestion (708 ± 428 kcal), ingested 6 L of water during the first 5 days of RWL, underwent 2 days of fasting, water and sodium restriction before weigh-in. Athlete 2 was supervised by a nutritionist, had a balanced diet (1600 ± 0 kcal), ingested 2 L of water during the first 6 days of RWL, underwent only 1 day of fasting and water restriction, and did not restrict sodium. As expected, there was a negative effect of RWL in the evaluated parameters at the weigh-in moment, while in the combat day, salivary NO2– was not completely reestablished at baseline levels (decreased by 35.9% in Athlete 1 and, 25.2% in Athlete 2, as compared with 7 days before). The athlete who underwent a lower weight loss (5.3%) presented better recovery of cognition and upper limbs power on the combat day as compared with the athlete who lost 9.1% of body weight. Although we cannot precisely conclude, this case report led us to believe that the recovery period between weigh-in and compe-tition may be insufficient for total reestablishment of salivary NO2– after RWL, and higher amounts of RWL have negative impacts on average power and cognition when compared with lower RWL.
Relevance for patients: Scientific aspects related with performance in MMA athletes brought to light the absence of studies investigating the recovery of isometric strength, power, cognition and salivary NO2– during RWL with subsequent weight regain. This study revealed that athletes from the same categories can adopt different magnitudes of weight loss, and that this procedure impacts several important measures, for example, the reduction of salivary NO2– is associated with the lower O2 transport capacity, decreasing muscle performance.


Author affiliation

1 Graduation Program; Catholic University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
2 UDF University Center, Brasília, Brazil 3 Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul, Campo Grande, Brazil

*Corresponding author:
Nathalia F. Camarço
Catholic University of Brasilia- DF, Brazil. QS 07, Aguas Claras, CEP: 71966-700, Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brazil.


Handling editor: 
Michal Heger
Department of Experimental Surgery, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Full text PDF

Review process file (66.4 KB)