Athletes and fitness go hand-in-hand. Whenever one speaks of an athlete one generally forms a mental image of a strong individual with enough body mass and muscles. Along with regular exercising, athletes need to constantly be conscious of what food they consume and make sure to maintain their body weight at a healthy range at all times. Gaining extra pounds will not only affect their endurance but their performance as well. This article covers science-based ways in which athletes can lose weight lest they are to gain extra pounds and how to stay fit in the long run.
Why Do Athletes Have To Keep A Weight Check
Be it gymnastics, swimming, skating, cycling, or any given particular type of sport, athletes have to constantly keep a check on their weight. Both men and women athletes will find their performance levels dwindling in case they gain too many pounds. This causes them a lot of stress and anxiety and most often they resort to unhealthy ways in trying to lose those pounds which results in more harm than good. Of the commonly taken wrong routes like skipping meals, consuming diet pills, etc. one needs to particularly be wary of purposely vomiting right after meals as this can lead to eating disorders like bulimia and others. Women athletes will have heightened health issues leading to irregular periods, weakening of bones, hormonal imbalance, etc. So, it is better to keep regular track of their weight under the guidance of a nutritional expert and consume healthy, wholesome meals. Weight loss plans for athletes are often devised keeping in mind their height, age, gender, and type of sport. In this way, they can ensure to stay fit as well as give their best in the field.
Health experts of Sfweekly.com encourage a sensible weight loss plan involving the loss of up to 2 pounds weekly and not more than that. Crash dieting that leads to sudden weight loss can not only lead to health issues but also adversely affects the performance of athletes. Fat-loss coupled with muscle loss is an absolute no-no when it comes to athletes so avoid resorting to any method that hinders your path of progress not only in terms of your sports career but also in life.
Science-Backed Weight Loss Routine For Athletes
Listed below are some methods backed by science for athletes to lose weight safely and sustainably.
- Say no to crash dieting – crash dieting or wanting to lose too many calories, too quickly comes with its own perils. Not only is such a weight loss plan harmful to one’s health but it also adversely affects an athlete’s training sessions, field performance, the recovery period in case of injuries, and several others. Health experts strictly advise all individuals against this weight loss practice as they have dire consequences on one’s immunity, bone health, body strength, reproductive system, metabolism, hormones – to name a few.
- Add up on protein intake – protein and fat loss go hand-in-hand and several studies have thrown light on this positive aspect of a protein-rich diet. Not only does this increase the number of calories burned during digestion but it also reduces hunger pangs. In the case of athletes, nutritionists advise to consume 0.8-1.2 gms of protein per body weight pound and mostly recommend consuming protein throughout the day preferably after every 3 hours, as a snack or with a meal, as per the aforementioned intake guidelines. Protein-rich food prevents the loss of muscles.
- Make strength training an integral part of your workout routine – be it a regular individual or an athlete, anyone who resorts to weight-loss plans isis susceptible to not just fat loss during the process but also muscle loss. This is why experts recommend strength training as this particular form of workout helps in muscle protein synthesis. But researchers also recommend adding up on proteins to attain the best, desired results.
- Avoid added sugars – athletes should get rid of added sugars from their diet. This does not mean completely curbing carb-intake as this adversely affects their performance and training sessions. So, experts recommend an intake of calories through carb for up to 40% per day. This helps to retain muscle mass while assisting in fat loss. Thoroughly run a check on the labels and make sure you are buying food that assists this goal. Fruit juice, chocolates, sugar syrups, cane juice, etc are some foods that need to be steered clear from.
- Increase fiber intake – fiber not only aids in digestion but it also renders one feeling full for longer periods thereby reducing hunger pangs. Not just athletes but everyone should add up on those green veggies and make them a large portion of one’s daily meal plan. Eating your green veggies raw is recommended for best results. Also, add up on fruits rich in fiber. In this way, you not only get the sufficient nutrients required for muscle build-up and bone-strengthening but you also don’t add up on calories that you may regret later.
- Choose the right time to ensure maximum results – resorting to weight loss plans can sometimes seem taxing especially if you are expected to give your best performance on the field. Some people tend to feel more tired than others so try to choose a time to lose weight when you are not required to exert more force or use more energy. In other words, devise your weight-loss journey during your off days so that your weight loss routine and performance routine don’t clash with each other that may tempt you to leave your goal unfinished.
Foods To Include In An Athletes Diet
Ahletes should add certain food in their daily meal plan even whilst ensuring intake of low calories that support weight loss. Listed below are some of the same:
- Low-fat dairy like cottage cheese, skimmed milk, yogurt, etc.
- Lean proteins like fish, chicken, skinless turkey, egg, and more of egg whites.
- Beans and legumes along with fiber-supplying green veggies and fruits
- Oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat crackers, etc
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Occasionally you can have low-calorie sports drinks preferably after lengthy workouts.
- Opt for snacks low in calories when on the go like granola bars, low-fat fruit yogurt, cut fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate treats, etc.
Useful Tips To Remember
Whether you are an athlete or not, paying heed to the below listed tips will help you in the long run:
- Avoid bad habits like alcohol, smoking, drugs
- Ensure proper chewing of food and avoid eating hastily
- Make sure your body gets proper rest at the end of the day. Sleep for at least 6-8 hours.
- Try to live stress-free. Whenever you have some free time in hand resort to meditating, deep-breathing exercises, etc
- Spend some time basking in the sun and enjoy a nature walk whenever possible.
- Don’t pressurize yourself to lose weight and don’t set any unattainable bars for weight loss.
- Devise a plan that suits your lifestyle and stay focused, determined, consistent.
Just as with non-athletes, athletes who are resorting to weight loss should also follow guidelines that do not interfere with their life in any adverse manner. Athletes should practice more caution as any foot set in the wrong path may affect their chosen sport and overall performance. Remember to not opt for any short-cut methods and seek help from a professional dietician or coach to play it safe. Remember, your goal is to attain a sustainable weight-loss plan done in a responsible manner and not in haste. Rest assured, athletes can lose enough fat and give their best performance keeping muscle-loss woes at bay.