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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Mar 05

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12075-4


language: English

Distribution of body fat is associated with physical performance of male amateur triathlon athletes

Paulo PUCCINELLI 1, Claudio A. DE LIRA 2, Rodrigo L. VANCINI 3, Pantelis T. NIKOLAIDIS 4, Beat KNECHTLE 5, 6 , Marilia S. ANDRADE 7

1 Department of Physiology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; 2 Human and Exercise Physiology Division, Faculty of Physical Education and Dance, Federal University of Goiás, Goiás, Brazil; 3 Center of Physical Education and Sports, Federal University of Espírito Santo, Espírito Santo, Brazil; 4 Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Nikaia, Greece; 5 Institute of Primary Care, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; 6 Medbase St. Gallen Am Vadianplatz, St. Gallen, Switzerland; 7 Department of Physiology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


BACKGROUND: Endurance sports are strongly associated with maximum oxygen uptake, anaerobic threshold, running economy and body fat percentage. Despite the importance for performance of the low-fat mass being a consensus in the literature, there are no data about the importance of the pattern of fat distribution. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the association between fat mass distribution with triathlon performance and physiological determinants of performance: maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), ventilatory threshold (AT) and running economy (RE), and to verify the predictive value for performance of gynoid or android fat mass distribution.
METHODS: Thirty-nine triathletes (38.8±6.9 years, 174.8±6.5cm and 74.3±8.8kg) were evaluated for anthropometric (total body mass, fat mass, lean mass, android and gynoid fat mass) and physiological (VO2max, AT and RE) parameters. Split and overall race times were registered.
RESULTS: Overall race time relationship with gynoid fat mass (r=.529, p<.05) was classified as moderate higher than and with android fat mass (r=.416, p<.05) was classified as low. All split times and overall race time presented significant positive correlation with only total fat mass (%) (r =.329 to .574, p<.05) and with gynoid fat mass (%) (r=.359 to .529, p<.05). Overall race time can be better predicted by gynoid fat mass (ß=0.529, t=4.093, p<0.001, r2=0.28) than by android fat mass (ß =0.416, t=2.997, p=0.005, r2=0.17).
CONCLUSIONS: Fat mass distribution is associated with triathlon performance, and the gynoid fat pattern is worse for triathlon performance than the android pattern.

KEY WORDS: Body fat; Endurance; Athlete; Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry; Anthropometry; Running economy test

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