6 Weight Loss Tips for Athletes
While athletes tend to be in incredible shape as a mere side effect of their intense
training and health-conscious habits, getting a competitive edge may sometimes require
getting leaner and losing a degree of fat weight. Doing so may result in improved
performance with increased speed, strength and endurance.
There is a risk involved in many weight loss scenarios, because if the weight loss strategy
is not aimed specifically to heighten performance, athletes on sub-optimum diets may
find themselves experiencing weakness, fatigue, decreased performance and even a
weakened immune system making it more difficult to heal from injuries and more
susceptible to disease.
Below are a few tips that can help provide a
safe and effective weight loss strategy, to
help maintain or even augment performance:
- Reduce Carbohydrate Consumption
Reducing your carbohydrate intake, and replacing what carbohydrates you do eat with
the most nutritious and slower to digest carbohydrates is important. These include
quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat, barley and oatmeal, to name a few.
- Increase Lean Protein
Increasing your protein intake, even slightly, at every meal will help burn more calories
through the digestion process, and when coupled with healthy fats (such as oily fish like
salmon and tuna) and natural fibers found in fruits and vegetables, you will feel full
faster helping to reduce calorie consumption and will help to regulate blood sugar to
prevent rapid peaks and drops in your performance.
- Remove Added Sugar
Read labels and cut foods with added sugars from your diet. Commonly this includes
processed packaged foods, condiments such as ketchup and syrup, granola and protein
bars, fruit juices and other beverages, etc. If you journal your weekly food intake, you
will have a better view of exactly what you are eating to help you make targeted,
committed modification. These added sugars along with simple carbohydrates such as
white bread and rice, pasta and potatoes lead to spikes in blood sugar followed by low
energy levels and supports weight gain while not contributing much to nutritional
- Know When You Eat and Why
As mentioned previously, keep a food journal. Most humans can attribute weight gain to
emotional eating more than any other issue. Timeline specific times of day that you will
eat breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and snack to help maintain proper metabolism
and energy flow. While journaling, pay attention to times that you have cravings and
record this, particularly cravings for carbs, sugar and alcohol, and try to identify what
emotions or stresses you may be experiencing that could be triggering these cravings.
Understanding the source of food cravings can help mitigate the risk of succumbing to
the powerful force of cravings. Decide healthier ways to combat the cravings such as
exercise, yoga, meditation or just spending time with nature, family and friends.
- Time Your Weight Loss Strategy for Off Season
Avoid taking steps to interrupt your habits during peak season times for your athletic
activities, competitions, etc. A dramatic change in weight and metabolism may interfere
with performance in the short-term, so implement dietary changes gradually and at
slower times for your activities.
- Food is Fuel, and You Must Refuel
Food helps provide energy, nutrients and effects blood sugar, so eating the best,
nutrient-rich foods during regular times throughout the day are key to achieving a
balanced weight and performance levels. Plus,
eating right after training can help with
recovery from an intense workout. It is recommended that you refuels 30 to 60 minutes
following exercise to help reduce body fat and promote lean muscles healing and
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