“We need to eliminate the word “diet” from sports. It should be replaced with “proper nutrition.” Elena Radionova about puberty and weight control
Elena Radionova about puberty and weight control.
source: Championat dd. 20th July by Daria Kirykhina
Elena Radionova: It was not an easy moment, not an easy time, which I certainly do not remember with any charm. I was going through a very tough period. There were changes in me, not only physically but also psychologically. I was transforming from a child into an adult.
One of the most vivid memories: coaches and I were very focused on my weight. It was difficult at times. It seemed like I wasn’t eating anything, yet the weight wouldn’t go away. And my body, despite the intense training, wasn’t as dry as I wanted it to be. I trained six days a week, from morning till evening, but still, there were, let’s say, concerns about my appearance. Naturally, during this period, my emotions were very delicate, and any hurtful words or comments were taken to heart. It’s unpleasant. I think in such moments, one shouldn’t criticize a person’s appearance but rather allow them to go through it calmly because they know perfectly well how they should look. Reminding them over and over again that they are overweight or that something is wrong only worsens the situation. After some time, everything normalizes and settles down.
About changes in jump technique
Elena Radionova: If our body proportions change, our weight changes accordingly, and it will affect the jumps because, before executing them, it might require more speed or you will lack height and sharpness. Therefore, the more changes in the body, the more it needs to be worked on technique.
I think during puberty, we see not only visual changes in teenagers but also mental and psychological changes. Because as soon as a male athlete/female athlete gains weight, the body should be prepared for it. If it is not ready, the instinct of self-preservation kicks in, and even the mind prevents us from performing certain jumps, indicating that the body is not ready and needs to be protected, better to prepare one’s body.
Puberty is not like a rent payment for an apartment, and you cannot negotiate a deferral. There are opinions that intense training and strict diets can slow it down, but Elena Radionova believes that deceiving genetics is impossible. However, with a sensible approach, the difficulties faced by athletes during this time can be minimized:
Elena Radionova: I think puberty cannot be postponed. It will happen as dictated by genetics. The only thing is, you can control it and try not to let it affect you too much. If you adhere to proper nutrition, training, and maintain a normal mental state, going through puberty will be easier.
For example, in my case, I wouldn’t say it was an extremely tough time because, unlike many figure skaters, I went through it with less difficulty than it could have been. I had a good team that supported me during that period.
Elena Radionova also confirms that strict diets are not helpful. The European Vice-Champion is certain that it is high time to stop talking about diets for female athletes and replace them with proper nutrition.
Elena Radionova: Strict diets don’t help. I believe in eating properly. The more diets one tries, the worse it is for the body, and after each diet, there are breakdowns. So, in my opinion, it’s all about proper nutrition.
In general, we need to eliminate the word “diet” from sports. I think if you ask any figure skater, any female athlete about diets, it immediately triggers negative emotions, as they recall terrible and frightening memories from their sports career. I believe that the term “diet” should be replaced with the phrase “proper nutrition.”
According to Elena Radionova, one should try not to worry too much about the challenges that arise during adolescence. They are temporary, and it’s essential to understand that it’s normal, and everything gradually normalizes. Besides, if puberty happened during the junior career instead of the senior career, it wouldn’t be the subject of such intense discussion among figure skaters:
Elena Radionova: Of course, the mental state changes during puberty because there are not only external but also internal changes happening. Your mindset can affect your performance in competitions differently. You may know how to prepare yourself for competitions, but, for example, during puberty, everything can go differently because the body is changing. You just need to be prepared for it and wait. Over time, everything will normalize.
In reality, there’s nothing to be afraid of, despite all the talk about puberty among figure skaters. The thing is, our sport is very young, and senior seasons happen to coincide with puberty. That’s why everyone notices it so much. But if our sport were more extended, the entire puberty would occur during the junior age, and then fully developed young women would enter the senior level.
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