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Football players: Fit or fat?


Washington D.C.: Debunking the stigma that exists in American football that players need to increase their overall body size to make an impact on the field, a new research has suggested that being bigger doesn’t mean being better or healthier.

Grand Valley State University’s Jeffrey Potteiger and Maggie McGowan-Stinski set out to determine how body size has changed in college and professional football players over the past 70 years.

Potteiger said that in football, the most at-risk athletes are the offensive and defensive linemen.

The research duo determined that players have gained an average of between a quarter of a pound to one-and-a-quarter pound per year since 1942. This equates to an average 60-pound increase in body mass for offensive and defensive linemen.

Potteiger stated that the most common diseases resulting from excess body mass and body fat, especially around the abdominal area, include high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.

He noted that the use of growth promoting agents, such as anabolic steroids, growth hormones and insulin carry side effects that range from mild to severe. To help athletes increase their body size in a healthier manner, he recommends the following:

-Strive for lean body mass increases of less than one pound per week;

-Maintain good nutritional intake by eating one to one-and-a-half grams of protein for every two pounds of body mass;

-Eat adequate carbohydrates while avoiding excessive calories;

-Perform a resistance training program three-to-five days per week; and

-Leave plenty of room for rest and recovery.

The study appears in Strength and Conditioning Journal.


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