Weight Loss for Athletes

Athletes have different weight loss priorities than people who are not training with any other goal than just losing weight. Athletes have to set their priorities straight so that they are able to lose weight while keeping themselves in peak competitive condition. Here’s how.

Reduce Calories

Reducing calories is a much more effective way to lose weight than increasing your exercise routine, according to researchers. In one study, people were asked to create a 1000 Calorie a day diet deficit, either by increasing exercise or by decreasing food intake. The group that lowered their calorie intake lost three times more weight than the increased exercise group.

However, the decreased calorie group also lost more muscle mass, which as an athlete you definitely don’t want to do.

Although for study purposes a 1000 Calorie a day diet deficit worked, it’s a bit extreme. Most experts recommend a 300-700 Calorie a day diet deficit.

Keep Eating Protein

Protein is the building block of muscles. Your body also can use it as an energy source, and it will raid your muscles for it if you’re not getting enough in your diet. Make sure you consume a higher proportion of protein when you’re trying to lose weight, even if you do have a small net loss in the amount.

Focus on Weight Loss in the Off Season

If you are trying to lose weight as an athlete, make sure you’re not doing it when you’re training for competition. Trying to do both at once can put your body under stress and reduce your performance.

Eat Before and After Workouts

Some people recommend not eating before a workout to lose weight, but it’s best to make sure your body has the fuel it needs during a workout. This keeps the body from cannibalizing muscle, and it helps your mental and physical energy so you can get in a better workout. About 15-60 minutes after a workout, you can also follow-up with a high-carb snack.

If you get an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal problems from eating before a workout, follow these tips:

  • Eat longer before a workout: it can take up to 4 hours for a meal to digest, and at least an hour for snack.

  • Avoid high fat protein

  • Change what you’re eating—everybody’s body works a little different—it may take a bit to find yours by trial and error.

  • Get lots of fluid (but avoid coffee and other caffeine-containing drinks)

Then you’ll be able to get a good workout that builds muscle, not harvests it.

If you want more help getting competitive in your sport while losing weight, please contact Med-Fit Medical Weight Loss Clinic today.

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Dr. Angela Tran