EntertainmentGamesSports

Achieving an ideal physique

Imagine designing opening ceremony uniforms for a whole Olympic team! They would need to be pretty versatile to suit all the different sizes and shapes that athletes come in. High jumpers: tall and lean with long legs; weight lifters: muscle-bound arms and short, muscle-bound legs for a low centre of gravity; gymnasts: small, light and lean; swimmers: wide shoulders. A designer could make these assumptions because physical characteristics such as height, weight, limb lengths and the amount and distribution of muscle mass or body fat help the performance of various types of exercise.

What is a desirable muscle mass?

Weightlifters, sprinters, rowers and rugby players all need to develop muscle mass so they can generate explosive power. In other sports, muscle mass is required to achieve the right ‘look’—body-building exemplifies this need. Of course, some athletes, like rugby forwards and gridiron football players, simply need to be big for momentum and protection, and have some leeway for carrying body fat. An increase in muscle size and strength occurs naturally during adolescence, particularly in males.

Measuring body fat and muscle mass

There are a number of high-tech ways to estimate body composition. We used to consider underwater weighing to be the gold standard, although it is cumbersome to do and it is available only in certain laboratories. These aren’t the technique’s main disadvantages, however. Weight readings taken underwater divide the body into estimated body fat and estimated ‘lean body masses based on the different densities of these tissues.

Conclusion

Some consequences of inadequate energy availability may be reversible. And at least in the old days, we used to consider some of the issues to be small and inconsequential. For example, a disruption to menstrual periods in a hard-training female athlete used to be considered typical, but hardly problematic if you were a young person who wasn’t planning on becoming pregnant in the near future.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button