Puberty & Athletics: What to Do vs. What Not to Do

Last week, I was tagged in a Russian news article titled ““Russian Figure Skating Prodigy Zagitova Refuses to Eat…but It’s For a Good Cause.” Zagitova was quoted in the article as saying, “In terms of puberty, when one is getting fat—I think it’s all nonsense. Just close your mouth and don’t eat! Or eat, but a little bit. I eat, I have small bites now and then.” This is a common practice in aesthetic sports—like gymnastics, skating and ballet—and while initially well intentioned will likely lead to either anorexia or weight gain along with a host of adverse physical implications. Beyond this, it can also present a myriad of negative psychological effects and is entirely unnecessary. 

In this week’s video I discuss why puberty is actually an asset for skaters and work to debunk the idea that any changes in a skater’s body will result in a loss of jumps and the ending of one’s career. Too many careers have been cut short by an erroneous belief system that results in eating practices that are ill-informed, dangerous and don't produce the desired effects. It's time to change this!