Longitudinal Changes and Seasonal Variation in Body Composition in Professional Australian Football Players.

Human Kinetics
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2017, 12 (1), pp. 10 - 17
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To compare development and variations in body composition of early, mid and late career professional Australian Football (AF) players over three successive seasons.Regional and total body composition body (body mass (BM), fat mass (FM), fat-free soft tissue mass (FFSTM), and bone mineral content (BMC)) was assessed four times, at the same time of each season: 1) start pre-season (SP); 2) end pre-season (EP); mid-season (MS); and end-season (ES) from 22 professional AF players using pencil beam dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. Nutritional intake for each player was evaluated concomitantly using 3-day food diaries. Players were classified according to their age at the beginning of the observational period as either early (<21 y; N = 8), mid (21-25 y; N = 9) or late (>25 y; N = 5) career athletes.Early career players had lower FFSTM, BMC and BM compared to mid and late throughout. FM and %FM had greatest variability, particularly in the early career players. FM reduced and FFSTM increased from SP to EP, whilst FM and FFSTM decreased from EP to MS. FM increased and FFSTM decreased from MS to ES, whilst FM and FFSTM increased during the off-season.Early career players may benefit from greater emphasis upon specific nutrition and resistance training strategies aimed at increasing FFSTM, whilst all players should balance training and diet towards the end of season to minimise increases in FM.
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