Most important part of weight management in athletes or active individuals is diet. Taking right kind of diet will lead to best performance by them. Special nutritional needs are always based on the sport they choose and the intensity of training, i.e the amount of calories they burn and the calories and nutrients they need.
Sport nutritionists understand the dynamic energy balance and prepare the diet charts accordingly to meet athletes weight goals.
These are some important points which an athlete or active person must know:
- Sudden restriction of food is not advisable as this may lead to metabolic changes. This can affect their performance and health.
- If an athlete needs weight reduction it is important to lose fat in off season or during less intense training period. As during weight reduction less calorie intake is needed and during the training period this can affect their performance.
- Consuming a low-Energy Diet (e.g., high-fiber, high-water, low-fat foods), which allows for the consumption of a greater volume of food to provide satiety while reducing energy intake is important.
- Timing of food intake around exercise training and spreading food intake throughout the day is a key priority for the athlete.
- Crash diets are not at all advisable for athletes. These can increase risk of illness, injury and negatively affect training and recovery. Therefore, a negative balance of more than 300 to 500 calories per day should be avoided.
- Eating 20 to 30 grams of protein every third hourly, including right before bed will help to maintain muscle mass during weight loss.
- To improve performance in sports, it is important to take right amount of carbohydrates and protein. During the period of weight loss there is chance of losing muscle mass. So, it’s advisable to do strength training exercises.
- Eating slowly helps in eating less and feels fuller.
- Increase in stress is not good for athletes as it increases the food cravings which can lead to weight gain. Stress relieving exercises may help to reduce stress.
- Drinking fluids before meal is important and it will reduce the consumption of food they take.
- Alcohol is a source of empty calories and it can negatively affect future performance.
- Keeping a food journal will help in tracking food they take and control accordingly.
Weight management for athletes can be difficult, sometimes risky and affect their health. If an athlete needs to lose weight, working with a supportive health care team such as coach, sports medicine team, and sport dietitian will help ensure success.