Race weight: perceptions of elite female road cyclists

Haakonssen, Eric C., Martin, David T., Jenkins, David G. and Burke, Louise M. (2015) Race weight: perceptions of elite female road cyclists. International Journal of Physiology and Performance, 10 3: 311-317. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2014-0070

Author Haakonssen, Eric C.
Martin, David T.
Jenkins, David G.
Burke, Louise M.
Title Race weight: perceptions of elite female road cyclists
Journal name International Journal of Physiology and Performance   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1555-0265
Publication date 2015-04
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1123/ijspp.2014-0070
Open Access Status
Volume 10
Issue 3
Start page 311
End page 317
Total pages 7
Place of publication Champaign, IL United States
Publisher Human Kinetics
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Purpose: This study investigated the satisfaction of elite female cyclists with their body weight (BW) in the context of race performance, the magnitude of BW manipulation, and the association of these variables with menstrual function. Methods: Female competitors in the Australian National Road Cycling Championships (n = 32) and the Oceania Championships (n = 5) completed a questionnaire to identify current BW, BW fluctuations, perceived ideal BW for performance, frequency of weight consciousness, weight-loss techniques used, and menstrual regularity. Results: All but 1 cyclist reported that female cyclists are “a weight-conscious population,” and 54% reported having a desire to change BW at least once weekly; 62% reported that their current BW was not ideal for performance. Their perceived ideal BW was (mean ± SD) 1.6 ± 1.6 kg (2.5% ± 2.5%) less than their current weight (P < .01), and 73% reported that their career-lowest BW was either “beneficial” or “extremely beneficial” for performance. 65% reported successfully reducing BW in the previous 12 months with a mean loss of 2.4 ± 1.0 kg (4.1% ± 1.9%). The most common weight-loss technique was reduced energy intake (76%). Five cyclists (14%) had been previously diagnosed as having an eating disorder by a physician. Of the 18 athletes not using a hormonal contraceptive, 11 reported menstrual dysfunction (oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea). Conclusion: Elite Australian female cyclists are a weight-conscious population who may not be satisfied with their BW leading into a major competition and in some cases are frequently weight conscious.
Keyword Energy intake
Body composition
Eating disorder
Body weight
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 20 Apr 2015, 09:50:16 EST by Dr David Jenkins on behalf of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences