Here are 9 science-based weight loss tips for athletes.
1. Try to lose weight during the off-season at a rate of 1 pound (0.5 kg) per week or less. This will minimize muscle loss while supporting sports performance.
2. Crash diets can increase your risk of illness and injury, as well as negatively affect your training and recovery. Avoid cutting your calorie intake by more than 300–500 calories per day.
3. Eating less sugar and more fiber can help you reach your body fat goals. Athletes should aim to eat no less than 1.4–1.8 grams of carbs per pound (3–4 grams per kg) each day.
4. Higher protein intakes help limit muscle loss while your weight is dropping. Athletes should aim to consume 0.8–1.2 grams per pound of body weight (1.8–2.7 grams per kg) of protein each day.
5. Eating 20–30 grams of protein every 3 hours, including right before bed, may help maintain muscle mass during weight loss
6. Consuming a good amount of carbs and protein immediately after training can help maintain your sports performance during weight loss.
7. Strength-training exercises can help prevent the muscle loss often experienced during a period of weight loss.
8. Increasing your calorie intake gradually after a period of weight loss may help minimize weight regain.
9. Stress, sleep, hydration, and alcohol all affect weight loss. Eating slowly, controlling portion sizes, and sleeping well can all help you lose weight.