Although shedding unwanted pounds is beneficial for everyone, it is particularly important for athletes to lose weight. Whether they participate in field or track events, every athlete strives to stay fit and healthy.
Whether they are footballers, swimmers, wrestles, or gymnasts, athletes need to maintain an active lifestyle to lead a healthy life.
The defining characteristic of a good athlete is the hard work he/she puts in to stay in shape. Since they need a lot of energy and strength to perform their tasks, they adhere strictly to a useful diet plan to lose and maintain their weight.
Here are nine of the best science-based ways for athletes to lose weight. Non-athletes can also try these tips.
01: Do Strength Training
Eating enough protein, as well as doing strength training exercises, encourage protein – muscle synthesis. Furthermore, strength training exercises using weights can prevent muscle loss that may occur during weight loss.
Athletes who attempt to lose weight often risk losing some muscle along with fat. They can prevent this by having enough protein and avoiding crash diets.
02: Eat more Fiber
Almost all low-carb diets provide up to 40% of calories from carbs, which seem very effective at supporting fat loss. However, this is not the best situation as restricting carb intake too dramatically is not best suitable for athletes. It negatively affects training and performance. At this rate, the calories still maximize fat loss.
Check labels and avoid products, juices, and products with glucose, sucrose, and fructose. Instead of adding juices and sugarcane juices in your diet, add more vegetables high in fiber to feel more satisfied throughout the day.
03: Say No to Crash Diets
An athlete cannot ever cut his calorie intake too drastically since doing so may disrupt his/her training and recovery regimens.
Crash diets only increase your risk of illness and injury, negatively affecting your training or recovery. Therefore, do not reduce your calorie intake by more than 225–450 calories in a day.
04: Consume Snacks and Meals Rich in Protein
A high-protein diet increases feelings of fullness. Protein intake also prevents muscle wear and tear during periodic weight loss. Studies reveal that eating 2–3 times more protein in one day helps athletes retain more muscle while losing fat.
With the eating of more protein, some athletes benefit from distributing their intake throughout their day. A small amount of 30gms is enough to stimulate muscles producing protein for the following three hours. Heath Scientists believe that it’s ideal for eating a protein-rich meal or snack every three hours.
05: Eat the Right Nutrients after Exercise
Eating the right foods after exercise or competition is necessary, especially when you are trying to lose body fat. Proper refueling is vital for the days whenever there are two or more training sessions or when you have less than eight hours of recovery time between events.
Athletes following carb-restricted diets should consume between 0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight as soon as possible after a training session. Having a protein bar can further speed up recovery and helps protein production in muscles. Moreover, make sure you consume enough sufficient amounts of water.
06: Lose Weight When You are Not Competing
It is challenging for an athlete to decrease his or her body fat and attain peak fitness at the same time. To lose fat, an athlete may need to reduce his/her intake of calories. This, in turn, can make training sessions feel much more complicated and prevent one from performing at their best. For this reason, it is best to lose fat in the off-season when no competitions or events are about to take place.
This is also an ideal way to lose fat since it will reduce loss while also aiding in sports performance.
07: Be Careful after You Reach Your Goal
Once you have accomplished your body fat percentage goal, you are likely to begin to start eating even more. This is undoubtedly the most effective way to maintain your results.
The most straightforward reason for this change is that the body can quickly adapt to a restricted calorie intake by changing the metabolism and hormone levels. Through research, it has become evident that these changes can remain for some time after you meddle with your calorie intake, which causes you to regain the lost fat.
A better alternative to this situation is that you increase calories gradually and slowly. This helps restore metabolism and hormone levels better, in turn slowing down weight gain.
Weight loss is a strenuously researched topic, but the number of studies performed on athletes is minimal. However, there are some ways which are proven to work for both non-athletes and athletes.
Here are a few tips for anyone to lose weight naturally.
- Keep track of what you eat and measure your portions.
- Drinking liquids before a meal, whether it’s soup or water, can help you consume fewer calories at the table and, at the same time, keeps you hydrated.
- Eating food slowly is a great idea because slow eaters eat less and feel fuller than those who munch on food quickly.
- Since alcohol is a source of empty calories, it prevents athletes from refueling after exercise. So it’s better to drink water. It can also affect an athlete’s future performance.
- Getting enough amount of sleep is what researchers recommend because too little sleep can increase hunger
- Reduce stress levels as high levels of stress increase cortisol levels, leading to weight gain, especially around the belly area.
In the end, we can say that the loss of stubborn fat is suitable for athletes. However, athletes must lose fat in such a way that it won’t impact their performance or health.
Lower body fat and belly fat can leave devastating effects on an athlete’s performance. That’s one of the reasons why we rarely see a sportsman with a potbelly. Coaches, doctors, and dieticians can guide athletes to help them accomplish their weight loss goals without experiencing any significant side-effects.
The key is to eat right, incorporate an exercise program into your regime and make sure you stick to your diet for achieving long-term weight loss goals.