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J Am Coll Nutr. 2017 Aug;36(6):448-454. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2017.1319305. Epub 2017 Jun 19.

Nutritional Routine of Tae Kwon Do Athletes Prior to Competition: What Is the Impact of Weight Control Practices?

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a Department of Nutrition and Dietetics , Technological Institute of Thessaloniki , Greece, Thessaloniki , Greece.
b Athletics Laboratory , School of Physical Education and Sport Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens , Greece , Daphne, Athens , Greece.
c Department of Biology , Aristotle University of Thessaloniki , Greece, Thessaloniki , Greece.



The purpose of the present study was to investigate and assess the common dietary and weight management strategies of Tae Kwon Do (TKD) athletes prior to national competitions, as well as to examine the relationships between these strategies and body weight reduction and sensation of physical condition.


Sixty (n = 60) TKD athletes, 23 women (19.4 ± 2.9 years) and 37 men (20.4 ± 3.6 years), with at least 12.1 ± 3.1 years of experience, participated in the present study. The athletes recorded their dietary intake and physical activity for 3 training days and on a competition day. Bioelectrical impedance was used for body composition estimation.


Male athletes consumed 1918 ± 685 kcal/24 hours and 1974 ± 669 kcal/24 hours on training and competition days, respectively, and women 1814 ± 446 kcal/24 hours and 1700 ± 439 kcal/24 hours. TKD athletes had significant negative energy balance (48.6% ± 17.8% to 60.3% ± 26.9%; p < 0.05), with the majority of macro- and micronutritional elements being lower than the recommended values, with significant differences between them, as well as within groups, between weekdays and weekend days (p < 0.05). Females lost most of their weight 2 weeks before the games (3.50 ± 1.00 kg), and males lost most of their weight 3 weeks before (3.16 ± 2.48 kg). The majority of TKD athletes were guided by their coaches for weight management strategies. No significant correlations were found between any body composition variable, weight loss, and any nutritional intake at any time point (p > 0.05).


These data suggest that the methods of TKD athletes for rapid weight loss are guided by unspecialized professionals, leading to significant malnutrition, because certain deficiencies in both macro- and micronutrient content are present, with no guaranteed specific reduction of their body mass.


Martial arts; Tae Kwon Do; nutritional behavior; pregame nutritional strategies; weight loss

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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