OBJECTIVE: We investigated in a non-stop ultra-endurance triathlon, whether adipose subcutaneous tissue or skeletal muscle mass decreased. DESIGN: Descriptive field study. SETTING: The Triple Iron Triathlon Germany 2006 in Lensahn over 11.6 km swimming, 540 km cycling and 126.6 km running. SUBJECTS: 17 male Caucasian triathletes (mean ± SD, age 39.2 ± 7.5 years, body mass 80.7 ± 8.9 kg, body height 178 ± 5 cm, BMI 25.4 ± 2.4 kg/m2). INTERVENTIONS: None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Determination of body mass, skin fold thicknesses, circumferences of extremities as well as calculation of body mass index (BMI), skeletal muscle mass and percent body fat in order to show changes after the race. RESULTS: A statistically significant decrease was shown for body mass (p<0.001), BMI (p<0.001) and calculated percent body fat (p<0.001) whereas skeletal muscle mass did not change statistically significantly (p>0.05). Circumferences of thigh, upper arm and calf did not decrease statistically significantly (p>0.05) whereas all skin fold thickness decreased statistically significantly (p<0.05) with exception of chest and thigh. A statistically significant correlation was found between the loss of percent body fat and the loss of body mass (p<0.01, r2=0.55) as well as ∆ percent body fat with race performance (p<0.05, r2=0.24). CONCLUSIONS: Ultra-triathletes at the Triple Iron Triathlon Germany 2006 showed a statistically significant decrease of body mass and percent body fat, where decrease of percent body fat was associated with race intensity.
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