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Sports Dietetics in Practice with Professional Jockeys Helen Brown Summary The ‘making weight’ demands of horse-racing The dangers of rapid weight loss The extent of the problem within horse-racing Tackling the problem – the work of the team of Sports Dietitians working with Jockeys

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summary
Summary
  • The ‘making weight’ demands of horse-racing
  • The dangers of rapid weight loss
  • The extent of the problem within horse-racing
  • Tackling the problem – the work of the team of Sports Dietitians working with Jockeys
sports dietetics
Sports Dietetics
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Specialist aspect of Dietetics

It is well recognised that

  • What we eat & drink
  • When we eat & drink
  • How much we eat & drink

Can all influence sporting performance

horse racing
Horse Racing
  • Low impact
  • Strength is required to maintain balance and control the horse
  • Need to make weight is paramount and is required on a daily basis
  • Despite the need for strength Jockeys avoid muscle bulk and constantly maintain a low nutritional status
weight allowance
Weight Allowance
  • A deduction may be made to the weight which a horse is expected to carry in a race.
  • Ridden by an Apprentice or a Conditional jockey
claims
Claims
  • Apprentice 16 – 24 yrs Conditional 16 – 25 yrs

Apprentice:7lbs until 20 wins

5lbs until 50 wins

3lbs until 95 wins

Conditional: 7lbs until 15 wins

5lbs until 35 wins

3lbs until 65 wins

10lbs if only 5 wins

minimum weights
Minimum Weights

Minimum weight – Flat: 7st 12 lbs

Jump: 10st.

Range of weights within a meeting:

  • First race 14.00 - 8st 9lbs
  • Second race 14.40 - 9st
  • Third race 15.15 - 8st 6lbs
  • Fourth race 16.25 - 9st
making weight
Making Weight
  • Often 2 stone below normal body weight
  • Sauna
  • Sweat suits – exercise and hot baths
  • Starvation and dehydration
  • Laxatives
  • Diuretics (banned 1999)
  • Vomiting (flipping)
a day in the life of
A Day in the Life of..
  • 05.00 – 05.30 in the yard mucking out etc and then rides out ( 4 horses)
  • 09.00 breakfast – toast dry and tea with 4 sugars.
  • 2 more lots
  • Lunch – nothing
  • Yard work
  • Evening – chocolate bar, pasta salad, oven chips.
  • Race rides – not many at the moment.
race day
Race Day
  • Current weight 10st 2 lbs. Race weight 9st 7lb – 9st 10lbs
  • Day before a race: no food

tea with 4 sugars

gym

black bags - sleep sauna

  • Can lose 8- 9 lbs this way
  • Has to do this as not many races at that time
rapid weight loss
Rapid Weight Loss
  • Poor performance skills
  • Lack of strength and stamina
  • Dehydration
  • Reduced muscle glycogen
  • Increase in stress fractures - osteoporosis
  • Kidneys, cardiac disorders
  • Eating disorders / disordered eating
  • Burnout, fatigue depression
the extent of the problems
The Extent of the Problems
  • An Investigation into appropriate Weight Standards in Top Level Irish Flat and National Hunt Jockeys
  • Dr Giles Warrington, Dr Adrian McGoldrick & Dr Michael Griffin
  • January 2006
study of top irish jockeys
Study of Top Irish Jockeys
  • 18 Flat (6 Apprentices)
  • 10 National Hunt
  • Whole Body Dexa Scan
  • Anthropometry
  • Hydration Analysis (Urine Specific Gravity)
  • Haematology
  • Musculo-Skeletal Screen
  • Nutritional Analysis
  • Lifestyle Questionnaire
hydration analysis non race day
Flat Jockeys

Urine SG

Mean: 1.022

SD: 0.005

Range: 1.007-1.028

National Hunt Jockeys

Urine SG

Mean: 1.021

SD: 0.007

Range: 1.011-1.031

Hydration Analysis, Non-Race Day
hydration analysis race day
Hydration Analysis, Race Day
  • 14 Jockeys Volunteered
  • Urine samples collected over the day’s racing
  • All 14 Jockeys were dehydrated
  • 93% had high to severe levels of dehydration
  • Dehydration increased during the course of the day
  • Similar findings to a pilot study McGoldrick et al 2003
haematology
Haematology

In a number of Jockeys evidence of:

  • Deficiency in trace elements
  • Iron deficiency anaemia
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Low white cell count
  • Borderline thyroid function
  • Compromised renal function
summary of other key findings
Summary of other key findings
  • 54% of Flat & 40% of N Hunt osteopenic in either spine, hip or both
  • Compared to age matched males 20% (spine) 8% (hip)
  • The 6 Apprentices had the lowest BMI and body fat levels and the worst problems with bone mineral density, 4 being osteopenic, 2 osteoporotic
summary of other key findings19
Summary of other key findings
  • 88% of Flat and 70% of N Hunt had body fat levels of 10% or less with some as low as 6%
  • Body fat range for health (men) 13-18%
  • High incidence of fracture
  • Flat ate a third, NH ate less than ½ of fibre RDA
  • Approx half of the recommended amount of fluid
  • 54% stated that the most difficult aspects of being a Jockey were weight control issues and the low calorie intake
tackling the problem
Tackling the problem

The Jockey Club team

  • A service to provide dietary & nutritional information and advice to Jockeys, other individuals and organisations involved with racing
challenges
Challenges
  • Fear of white coats
  • Reluctance to talk
  • Myths and legends
  • Closed environment
  • Have to gain trust and understand their problems and motivation
a high carbohydrate diet aids recovery of muscle glycogen stores
A high carbohydrate diet aids recovery of muscle glycogen stores

Adapted from Costill DL, Miller JM. Int J Sports Med 1980;1:2–14

services include
Services Include
  • Individual consultations
  • Dietary analysis
  • Information and advice for lifestyle
  • Telephone help line
  • Information and guidance for race course caterers
  • Race course visits.
achievements
Achievements
  • News letter- jockeys and stable lads
  • Fact sheets
  • Calorie counted diet sheet 1200 - 800
  • Training the “Travelling Tea Boy”
  • Colour coded guidance for nutrients
  • Catering Guidelines
  • Presence & displays at racecourses while Jockeys are racing
race course visits
Race-Course Visits
  • 2002 – introductory visits
  • 2003 – weight management seminars
  • 2004 – photographs focusing on hidden fats
  • 2005 – fluids and effect of dehydration

meal planning

  • 2006 – 54321 diet, calcium and iron
  • 2007 – Superfoods
  • 2008 – Weekly meal plans & shopping lists
  • 2009 – Recipe book (in development)
for the same kcalories you could have all of this
2 Weetabix

150 ml Semi skimmed milk

150 ml Orange juice

For the same kcalories you could have all of this
working with jockeys
Working with Jockeys
  • Established Sports Dietetics Team
  • Acceptance by the Jockeys-openness
  • Recognition by horse-racing organisations
  • Apprentices - to focus on
  • Racecourse catering - to improve on
  • Trainers - not fully aware of the potential of good nutrition for Jockeys
  • Lots more challenges ahead!