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  1. M Keil1,
  2. R Farquarhson1,
  3. A Little1,
  4. L Fawcett1
  1. 1English Institute of Sport and British Gymnastics
  2. 1Lilleshall National Sport Centre, near Newport, Shropshire. TF10 9AT


A case study describing the nutritional interventions with an elite artistic male gymnast, whose performance was being inhibited by repeated injury. We aimed to obtain a rapid reduction in body fat (BF) and body mass (BM), to reduce the load through the knee, ankle joints, and connective tissues. Training and nutritional strategies were adjusted to maximise BF and BM loss, whilst maintaining lean mass (LM). A prescriptive nutritional programme was designed which varied each day, to account for changes in daily training sessions. Protein was maintained at 2 g/kg BM, split in to regular 15 g snacks or 25–30 g meals. Calcium was maintained at 1000 mg through low-fat dairy consumption. Omega 3 fats were obtained through a supplement and 30 g portions of mixed seeds. Carbohydrates were obtained through low-moderate glycaemic index foods at all meal times. On rest days, carbohydrates were omitted from the evening meal. Caffeine was used prior to specific training sessions. A maintenance dose of creatine (5 g/d) and branched chain amino acid (5 g/d) supplement was used to help maintain LM. High antioxidant foods were consumed throughout the day to maintain polyphenol intake. Weight was monitored on a weekly basis. Body composition before and after was assessed using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and skinfolds were used to monitor BF before and at the mid-point, between DXA. BM reduced from 71.4 kg to 66.5 kg over a 6 week period, totalling 4.9 kg reduction. BF fell by 5.3 kg, taking fat from 16.8% to 9.7%. LM increased from 56.6 kg to 57.1 kg and bone mineral content (kg) and density (g/cm3) remained unchanged. Sum of 8 skinfolds fell from 85 mm to 59 mm. A well-controlled nutritional plan combining energy restrictions with training modifications was successful in reducing BM and BF. LM increased during this period. Self-reported immune status was not compromised, with the absence of any symptoms of illness/infection.

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