Validity of hydration non-invasive indices during the weightcutting and official weigh-in for olympic combat sports

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Abstract

Background: In Olympic combat sports, weight cutting is a common practice aimed to take advantage of competing in weight divisions below the athlete's normal weight. Fluid and food restriction in combination with dehydration (sauna and/or exercise induced profuse sweating) are common weight cut methods. However, the resultant hypohydration could adversely affect health and performance outcomes. Purpose: The aim of this study is to determine which of the routinely used non-invasive measures of dehydration best track urine osmolality, the gold standard non-invasive test. Method: Immediately prior to the official weigh-in of three National Championships, the hydration status of 345 athletes of Olympic combat sports (i.e., taekwondo, boxing and wrestling) was determined using five separate techniques: i) urine osmolality (U OSM), ii) urine specific gravity (USG), iii) urine color (UCOL), iv) bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), and v) thirst perception scale (TPS). All techniques were correlated with UOSM divided into three groups: euhydrated (G1; UOSM 250-700 mOsm kg H 2O21), dehydrated (G2; UOSM 701-1080 mOsm kg H2O21), and severely dehydrated (G3; UOSM 1081-1500 mOsm kg H2O21). Results: We found a positive high correlation between the UOSM and USG (r = 0.89: p = 0.000), although this relationship lost strength as dehydration increased (G1 r = 0.92; G 2 r = 0.73; and G3 r = 0.65; p = 0.000). UCOL showed a moderate although significant correlation when considering the whole sample (r = 0.743: p = 0.000) and G1 (r = 0.702: p = 0.000) but low correlation for the two dehydrated groups (r = 0.498-0.398). TPS and BIA showed very low correlation sizes for all groups assessed. Conclusion: In a wide range of pre-competitive hydration status (UOSM 250-1500 mOsm kg H2O21), USG is highly associated with UOSM while being a more affordable and easy to use technique. UCOL is a suitable tool when USG is not available. However, BIA or TPS are not sensitive enough to detect hypohydration at official weight-in before an Olympic combat championship. © 2014 Fernández-Elías et al.

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Fernández-Elías, V. E., Martinez-Abellán, A., López-Gullón, J. M., Morán-Navarro, R., Pallarés, J. G., De La Cruz-Sánchez, E., & Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2014). Validity of hydration non-invasive indices during the weightcutting and official weigh-in for olympic combat sports. PLoS ONE, 9(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0095336

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