Diet Plan for Athletes Trying to Lose Weight
Many athletes wish to lose weight to become faster and get themselves in better shape for the upcoming season. Combining the right foods with the proper amount of training will help you drop excess weight and allow you to become a more effective player. Some sports such as boxing and wrestling have weight classes and force their athletes to be under a certain weight limit. Make sure you choose a healthy method to lose weight rather than skipping meals and starving yourself which can be hazardous to your health.
Losing a large amount of weight cannot be accomplished overnight. Dietitian Jayson Hunter, R.D., recommends that athletes trying to lose weight should do it gradually, ideally not losing more than 1 to 2 lbs. per week. Your or your coach may have set off-season goals for you to accomplish and losing weight may be one of them. If you do manage to lose weight, it may help you run a few steps faster and be able to make a play you may not have made six months earlier.
Try to avoid losing too much weight at once. Nutrition researcher Christopher D. Jensen, Ph.D., says that to lose 1 lb. per week you'll need to reduce your calorie intake per day by about 600 calories. Also, once your season is over, take a four-week rest period to allow your body to recover from the physical stress sustained during the year. Try to avoid losing weight during the season as it can be detrimental to your health and performance.
Carbs and Protein
Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are three key nutrients that your body needs for athletic performance. Try to avoid sweets and alcoholic beverages as they put excess calories in your body which is counterproductive to your weight-loss goals. According to Drugs.com, carbohydrates are your body's main energy source and you should consume about 7 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight in a day. Also, you should make sure your diet contains protein, a muscle building and repairing nutrient. If you are in an endurance sport, eat about 1.3 g of protein per kilogram of body weight in a day. If your sport requires weight and strength training, eat about 1.6 g of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.
Fats are another energy source for your body. It may seem like fats need to be removed from your diet to lose weight, but your body actually needs healthy fats. According to Helpguide.org, fats help the brain, heart and lungs to function properly. These three vital organs in your body need to be operating as strongly as possible to maximize your athletic performance. Make sure to stay away from trans fats as much as possible. These are found in foods such as fried foods and baked goods.
Make sure you're eating enough food to keep your energy levels high enough to workout and maintain your training schedule. You will need to remain patient as losing 1 to 2 lbs. per week may seem like a slow process, but if you attempt to speed it up it may cause health problems.
Wade Harle began writing professionally in 2011 and holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Iowa State University. His work on sports and other topics has been published on various websites.