Losing weight in endurance sports

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Improving performance in running or trail running by losing weight is certainly not a new finding. Quite the opposite. This is the fastest way to increase performance in the short term. Ambitious athletes should therefore deal with the topic, but at the same time be aware that it also involves certain risks. With a few tips, however, you can also approach the topic in a meaningful and sustainable way.

The right time to lose weight in the season

Basically, you should think about when in the season is a good time to lose weight. There is no point in putting additional stress on your body during the competition, high-intensity or heavy-duty training phase of weight loss. Therefore, the basic training for the project is a good idea. Being consistently obsessively low in weight and body fat is not recommended, so slight upward swings post-contest season or mid-season are perfectly fine.

The aim of weight loss in endurance sports is to improve performance, while avoiding the negative effects of incorrect action. Away from the athletic context, some studies and articles recommend a calorie deficit of 500 kcal per day, or 3500 kcal per week. However, these values ​​are set a little too high for performance-oriented athletes. An energy deficit of 300 kcal or a maximum loss of 0.7% of your own body weight per week is suitable for this. Studies have shown that these levels do not negatively impact athletic performance during exercise while losing body fat. In addition to giving up calories, you should also focus on increasing your protein intake. This is how you can reduce body fat mass without losing muscle mass. The recommendation for protein intake is 1.5-2g per kg of body weight per day.

It is also important to clearly define the goal of weight loss. This is the only way to maintain the desired weight over the long term, for several seasons. Basically, you should avoid a weight below the normal range of the BMI or only take this step with the support of experts. A body fat percentage of 6% for men and 14% for women should not be undercut. Many marathon personal bests have been achieved by male athletes with a BMI at or just below normal weight. Women, on the other hand, often achieved records well below normal weight. In recent years, however, there has been a rethink in competitive sports. The absence of a regular cycle is a clear warning. Fatigue fractures with very low BMI and body fat content are also signs of a negatively altered hormone balance in athletes. In such cases, experienced trainers, nutritionists and/or physicians with an endurance sports background should be consulted.

Weight loss and regeneration after endurance training

My personal tips: When losing weight, don't forget to regenerate after training. If you do without your regeneration drink or meal after hard training sessions, regeneration will definitely be neglected. Also, don't focus too much on the daily calorie deficit, instead focus your attention on a specific period of time, such as the entire training week. Some days you can easily get into a calorie deficit, other days you stay above your goal, that's totally fine. Don't look at the whole thing too doggedly. Consuming the recommended amount of protein is often not that easy either, so you should make sure you take it up a notch. Don't worry if the weight fluctuates a bit from day to day. It is also completely normal that nothing or little happens on the scales in the first few weeks. If nothing changes in your weight after a few weeks, then going to an expert is definitely a good choice.

If you would like to receive more tips on losing weight in everyday life and sports, you are welcome to listen to our podcast .

Author: Arne Wolf - Coach at Twopeaksendurance


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