While wrestlers often "cut weight" before a tournament and boxers have been known to go to extreme measures to bulk up before a match, experts warn that unhealthy weight loss or gain can be detrimental to a person's health, according to HealthDay.
These improper measures can even lead to death in severe cases, claiming the life of people that may have thought they were too young to purchase a life insurance policy. In an effort to curb these unhealthy practices, the National Athletic Trainers' Association issued a new set of guidelines for safe weight loss by athletes.
"In the performance sports - gymnastics, dance, ballet - they have this huge responsibility to not only do a performance but to look good while they are doing it. It's a unwritten rule that they have to be a certain weight, and they get a lot of pressure, not just from dance masters but from the public's expectations and themselves," said Paula Sammarone Turocy, lead author of the guidelines and chair of the department of athletic training at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
The guidelines include gradually shedding no more than 1.5 percent of body fat per week and using a body composition assessments to measure lean body mass versus fat, the media outlet reports.