Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | August 31, 2009

10 Big Nutrition Mistakes #9: Trying to Lose Weight During the Competitive Season

Almost everyone tries to lose weight at one time or another.  That’s not surprising given the fact that two-thirds of all Americans are overweight and more than one-third are clinically obese.  What may be a little surprising is the fact that many competitive athletes also feel the need to lose weight.  While the desired amount of weight loss is usually much lower than for a sedentary person, weight management can still be a struggle for many athletes.  However, the need to drop a few pounds is not the real issue.  The issue is when the weight loss takes place.  Simply stated, one of the biggest dietary mistakes an athlete can make is to attempt to lose weight during the competitive season.  It’s understandable why this happens.  During competition, an athlete may realize that she can improve her performance if she just drops a few pounds.  Because the season is underway, there can be pressure, both internal and external, to shed those pounds as quickly as possible.  The problem is losing weight during the season will almost always result in decreased performance, especially in endurance sports.  That’s because to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you are using for energy on a daily basis.  In other words, to lose weight, you must fail to meet your energy requirements.  Since high level performance tends to require high levels of energy (i.e., food), this will typically create a few problems.  So resist the urge to lose weight during the season.  If you need to shed a few pounds, wait until your competitive season is complete and then feel free to reduce your caloric intake.

NEXT POST – September 14, 2009

10 Big Nutrition Mistakes #10: Relying Too Much on Dietary Supplements and Ergogenic Aids

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