Weightlifting is a power sport with intense strength and resistance training to enhance muscle mass and quality. To achieve this proper nutrition is essential. However, there is a void of scientific
information pertaining to Basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is useful in deriving energy needs of this unique event, particularly in junior weightlifters. Therefore, our study aimed to measure the
BMR of junior weightlifters and its relation with anthropometric variables. Further, to develop BMR models and validate prevailing models to predict BMR for periodic evaluation to attain optimal body
size & composition and performance.
Junior national weightlifters (Boys-9 and Girls-12) in the age group of 10-17 years, undergoing training for a minimum of 4 hours a day for 3 years, were recruited from sports school, Sports Authority
of Telangana State. In this cross-sectional observation design, body composition was measured using skinfold technique and BMR using indirect calorimetry (oxycon mobile). Stepwise regression analysis
was employed to develop BMR models. Prevailing BMR equations on children and adult athletes were selected and compared with the measured BMR using paired-samples t-test.
Across gender, the age and body mass were similar, while, body composition was significantly different, wherein, Boys had higher fat-free mass (FFM) and girls had higher fat mass. The measured 24-hour
BMR showed significant difference (P<0.001) between gender (Boys-1675 ± 111.7; Girls-1425 ± 93.4), however, relative values of BMR per unit FFM were similar (P=0.868) across gender, but not BMR per
unit body mass. The best-fit model for predicting BMR was using FFM (414+27.2×FFM; R-squared.0.778; SEE.77.9). Out of 10 existing BMR prediction equations selected, the body mass based equation of ten
Haaf & Weijs was most suitable for predicting BMR in both genders.
FFM caused variation in BMR across gender and was utilized to predict BMR. The BMR equations developed is a simple and convenient tool to monitor the junior weightlifter’s physical adaptability,
physiological efficiency and derive energy requirements from time to time.