How body composition affects athletic performance

Body composition

The secret’s out. Size really matters when it comes to athletic performance.

Have you ever noticed that most horse jockeys are short while the majority of basketball players are tall, and gymnasts are lightweight while wrestlers are heavy? This is no coincidence since one’s body type can greatly impact sporting ability. 

What is body composition?

You may rethink weighing yourself on a scale or using BMI to determine how healthy you are since a scale will only tell you how much you weigh but not how much of your weight percentage is fat, water and muscle. This information is important to know as individuals with excess fat are at risk of chronic health problems. 

The benefit of understanding your body composition is that it gives you a more accurate indication of how much fat – not weight – you need to lose, gain or maintain. 

Once you are aware of your body composition, you can also tweak your training according to the goals you’d like to achieve. People with a higher percentage of lean tissue and lower body fat mass are considered to have healthy body composition. 

Here is a list of categorised body fat percentages created by the American Council on Exercise, indicating healthy, acceptable fat ranges, although these percentages do not consider age: 

How body composition affects athletes 

For athletes, understanding body composition is crucial. Your body composition is influenced by various factors such as sex, age, diet, training background, and genetics. Numerous studies delving into genetics and body composition suggest that up to 50% of endurance, strength, and power can be linked to genetic makeup. In other words, some people can be naturally stronger than others, giving them an unmistakable advantage at certain sports. 

According to Body composition expert, Dr. Jordan Moon, the closer an athlete’s body composition is to the ideal body composition for their sport, the better their performance will be. 

In his international bestselling book, The Art of Thinking Clearly, author Rolf Dobelli refers to a bias known as the swimmer’s body illusion where athletes compete in sports because they have good genes and naturally suitable body types. The illusion is created where people may assume that they can obtain the body type of a swimmer if they follow the training schedule of that swimmer but in reality, the swimmer’s performance level is the result of having the right body type. 

While many sports require a specific body type for optimal performance, there is still a wide range of sports such as snooker and bowling where body composition is not important. 

How body composition affects athletic performance | BODYTEC

Can body composition be improved? 

Perfect body composition doesn’t exist, but an ideal body type will depend on the physical demands of your sport. According to Sportsedu.com, body composition can be improved by making small, gradual adjustments to your training, recovery, and nutrition. Since good body composition is achieved by developing a leaner physique, full-body EMS training sessions at BODYTEC will be a great help to achieve your ideal body type. 

How can body composition be tracked? 

Thanks to technology, body composition measurements can be done at home. A wide range of scales are available in South Africa, which you can browse through, here. 

Start your journey to great body composition with BODYTEC by booking a trial here

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