Athletes are always looking for ways to improve their game. One way they can do this is through weight loss. There are many types of athletes with different goals and lifestyles. Finding the right diet will depend on what kind of athlete you are and how much time you have to devote to your sport.
Below are seven tips that should help you lose weight while training as an athlete:
Drink Water Before a Workout
It is important to stay hydrated while working out because the human body can only function properly when it’s hydrated enough. Without staying hydrated, muscles cannot contract and perform at their peak performance levels. Drinking water before a workout ensures that glucose levels do not drop during training.
Glucose is stored in the liver and converted into glycogen, providing the primary fuel source for moderate to high-intensity exercise. This would also prevent blood sugar drops which often result in fatigue. After a workout, your muscles are broken down, so drinking water with an electrolyte powder mixed in is essential.
Stay Energized During Workouts
Your workouts will be hindered without high amounts of energy production from the body. Some ways to help you maintain a high energy level during workouts are proper hydration, electrolytes, and fuelling before a workout. Proper hydration is important because your muscles rely on water to function correctly.
Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are crucial for nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction needed for strength training and cardiovascular exercises. For fuel before a workout, start with low glycaemic index food that can be eaten about 30 to 45 minutes before training, like oatmeal, smoothies, gluten-free toast with nut butter, fruits, etc.
After training, the body needs time to repair itself from the intense workout it just had. This recovery period can take anywhere from 24 hours or even up to seven days, depending on how intense the workout was. Here are some ways to aid your recovery process:
- Consume high glycaemic index carbs
- Consume protein within 30 minutes of completing the workout
- Ensure proper hydration during recovery
- Perform gentle stretching after the workout
- Consume a low-fat diet
- Perform resistance training exercises
It is essential to consume carbs after a workout because insulin is needed to absorb glucose in the muscles. This also helps the body build muscle efficiently instead of breaking down muscle cells which can cause fatigue. It is important to get protein within 30 minutes of finishing your workout because it aids in recovery and ensures no loss of muscle mass.
Ensuring proper hydration during recovery is necessary because it allows muscles to repair themselves faster by maintaining fluid levels in joints and tissues crucial for stability, strength, and power. Gentle stretching contributes to the recovery process by allowing muscles to relax, avoiding tightness and soreness while increasing range of motion, which is vital for flexibility and overall mobility.
Practice Proper Nutrition
Athletes should practice proper nutrition to receive the most out of their workouts. Dieting alone can’t be relied on as a means to lose weight, but practising good nutrition habits is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The amount of calories an athlete need varies depending on how intense their workouts are and what kind of sports/workout activities they participate in.
It is also important that athletes avoid unhealthy food such as processed sugars, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, etc. These foods lack nutritional value and offer no health benefits whatsoever. Athletes should maintain a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. It is recommended that athletes eat five to six small meals per day instead of two or three large ones to ensure they do not miss a meal, as this would cause them to feel sluggish and tired.
Know Your Caloric Intake
One way to control what you’re eating is to know how many calories you are taking in daily. If an athlete consumes more than they are burning, it will be weight gain, not weight loss. It’s recommended that athletes eat around ten to 15 calories per pound of body weight for optimal training performance. An athlete who weighs 150 lbs would need 1500 to 1800 calories a day with this method. Athletes should also aim for one to three grams of protein per every kg of their body weight and get healthy fats from sources such as nuts and avocados.
Get Adequate Rest
Getting adequate rest is vital for weight loss. If an athlete isn’t getting enough sleep, they will feel weak, fatigued, and unable to concentrate on their workouts, which would make it more challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Sleep deprivation also causes increased cortisol levels, affecting fat cells in the body and increasing fat storage. It is recommended that athletes get seven to nine hours of sleep per night to prevent side effects associated with sleep deprivation.
Consider Fat Reduction Treatment
There are a variety of weight loss treatments that athletes can consider to help them meet their goals. One popular method is fat freezing, which is a non-invasive treatment that freezes and eliminates fat cells. This treatment is ideal for athletes because it helps them lose weight without having to diet or exercise. Some clinics specializing in CoolSculpting offer free or discounted consultations so that athletes can find out if this treatment is right for them.
Another popular fat reduction treatment for athletes is liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes excess fat from specific body areas such as the thighs, hips, stomach, and arms. This procedure is not recommended for those trying to lose weight because liposuction will only remove the existing fat and not prevent future fat growth along with causing potential side effects such as infections and scarring.
If you are an athlete struggling to lose weight, the key is not denying yourself food but understanding how much your body needs and what kind of foods it requires. The article provides seven ways for athletes to eat healthy while maintaining a high energy level. Think about which ones will work best for you.