• +91 99300 74447 / +91 98207 37677
Maintaining A Healthy Weight For Your Sport!
  • Arati Shah

  • 27, Dec. 2019

Maintaining A Healthy Weight For Your Sport!

Athletes often seek changes in their weight for optimal sport performances. Some sports like gymnastics may require an athlete to be at a lower weight while in some others like football increased mass is preferred. Rapid weight loss which occursin a very short period of time is an unhealthy approachand generally isn't recommended for athletes.In case the athlete needs to undergo any kind of weight loss programs orweight management programs they should be under the guidance of a fitness nutritionist who would primarily address dietary changes that can be used to facilitate a healthy weight loss and at the same time ensure that the lean tissue is preserved. 

Athletes who are looking to lose weight in the hope that it would have a positive impact on athletic performance need to understand that if the weight loss diet is extreme there is often a negative effect on performance. A sudden weight lossleads to using up ofthe stored muscle fuel and might leave athletes with depleted fuel when it is actually required during competition. Extreme calorie restriction deplete sessential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, which are a key component for good performance. Fasting might also lead to dehydration, loss of strength and stamina. Fluid losses exceeding two percent of body weight might interfere with cognitive function and aerobic exercise performance. 

Here are some healthy ways to manage weight for an athlete 

  1. Follow a food routine 
    One of the best ways to keep an athlete's energy tank fueled with essential nutrients is to be on a food routine.Major meals of the day like breakfast, lunch and dinner should be eaten daily preferably at the same time each day. Avoid skipping meals, as it might promote hunger and lead to poor food choices and overeating. Include nutritious healthy snacks inbetween meals. 

  1. Eat a balanced diet 
    A balanced diet is important for a goodsport performance. Include whole grains and cereals, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat free milk and milk products, lean protein foods in the diet. Limit the inclusion of foods like sweetened drinks and processed and packaged foods which contain increased amounts of sugars, saturated fat and salt. A balanced diet not only offers necessary nutrition but also helpsto keep the appetite satisfied.  

Avoid foods high in calories like fried foods, foods with creamy sauces, processed and packaged foods to avoid the intake of unnecessary calories with no nutritional benefits.Choose snacks that contain a mix of carbohydrates, fiber and protein and low in added sugars, salt, saturated fat to help keep the body properly fueled. Snacking too often can also cause weight gain. 


  1. Meal and snack timings 

Eating food through the day as well as during the training periods assures that the body has sufficient energy and nutrients needed to fuel the workout as well as help repair the lean muscle tissue. Have appropriate recovery snack will ensure that the athlete does not consume the wrong foods and beverages if they get hungry later. This snack has to be a generous mix of carbohydrates to replenish the glycogen stores, lean protein for tissue repair. Remember fluids for hydration are just as necessary. The best way to ensure this is to plan ahead with the right foods and beverages in order to avoid eating the available snacks which may not fulfil the criteria for a healthy snack. A sports dietitian can help the athlete plan healthy meals and snacks. 

  1. Keep an eye on the beverage intake 

Sports drinks often help during intense exercise that go on for long durations and also when the temperatures are extreme. But, it is important to remember that consuming a lot of these drinks along with other high energy sugary drinks and alcohol can derail any weight loss efforts. Thee provide only empty calories which increasing the total energy intake.   


  1. Avoid fad diets 
    Finding weight loss solutions that helps in quick weight loss is always tempting. Remember, any diets that offer quick weight losswith extreme energy deprivation and increased training program may end up putting extreme stress on the athlete’s body and may not be sustainable in the long run. These diets also affect performance, increase the risk of injury, cause loss of lean tissue and also have an effect on the overall nutritional status.   

Weight management is a challenging process. Finding the right weight management program is essential for the athlete that is spending a lot of time expending the energy during training. Maintaining weight is especially a challenge during the off season and weight loss programs should ideally be undertaken during this period in order to avoid rapid weight loss during the season that can have an effect on performance. It is also important that the “one size fits all” approach does not work here. Every plan has to be individualized as per the need of the athlete. So, the sports nutritionist may have to work in tandem with the coach and the athlete together, to achieve the desired results.