Humans need a certain amount of body fat to maintain basic functions.
However, a higher body fat percentage can negatively affect performance in athletes.
That said, athletes need to approach weight loss with care. Failing to do so can negatively affect training and lead to muscle loss.
Here are 9 science-based weight loss tips for athletes.
1. Lose fat during the off-season
It’s very difficult to decrease body fat and reach peak fitness at the same time.
To lose fat, you need to eat fewer calories. This can make training feel more difficult and prevent you from performing at your best.
For this reason, it’s best to lose fat in the off-season, when you’re not competing. If that’s not possible, aim for less intense training periods.
Attempting fat loss in the off-season will also give you more time to reach your goal. Losing weight at a slower rate decreases the likelihood of muscle loss and seems to support better sports performance (1Trusted Source).
Most research agrees that weight loss of 1 pound (0.5 kg) or less per week is ideal (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source).
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.