Renee McGregor, a sports dieticians, says she has seen a five-fold increase in the number of male cyclists being referred with eating disorders in the last year. McGregor has worked with Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games teams. She attributes the rise to irresponsible coaching, ‘win at all costs’ culture and social media.
Renee McGregor in her interview with Sky News:
It’s a very fine line between being light enough to perform optimally and being so light that it starts to affect mental and physical health.
I don’t think enough coaches, sporting teams and sporting bodies have the information and the education they need, so when that line is crossed, it’s often crossed at the expense of the athlete.
It’s not hard to see the impetus for this trend. The life of a cyclist is all about the watts per kilogram. There are only two side to that equation. Increase the watts or drop weight, and it’s really easy for dropping weight to become a compulsion.