Weight Loss and the High School Athlete

Bigger is not always better! If you maintain muscle growth, strength and speed with a gain in weight, then bigger is better, especially in football. For most people this is not the case. Excess body fat restricts speed of movement by adding useless weight that must be moved at high speeds. In order for many to perform at their optimum level, a loss of weight is necessary.

Weight loss is a tricky situation. Many overweight people have developed a lifestyle around eating, and in order to lose weight, there has to be a LIFESTYLE change. The method for weight loss is similar to that for gain gain. First, the amount of calories needed to maintain a specific body weight needs to be calculated. A 500-1000 calorie deficiency in daily intake will result in a loss of 1-2 pounds per week. A slow reduction in body fat over an 8-10 week span is the key. Rapid weight loss will result in a loss of muscle tissue, this is counterproductive.

The value of a proper diet and good nutrition has become increasingly important in athletic performance. Food provides us the energy to train and the building blocks to grow. Typically, the food we eat serves three major functions:

1) providing an energy source or fuel;
2) providing raw material for tissue maintenance, growth and development;
3) providing chemical components that regulate all functions in the body such as muscle contraction, nerve conduction, etc.

The hard training, young athlete must be properly funded if they want to reach their physical potential. Consistent eating patterns and attention to a balanced diet will provide you with all the benefits of good nutrition. There are no magic pills or potions available that will give you more energy, make you run faster, or improve your skills. Having the discipline to eat a balanced diet of normal foods each day is the only "secret formula." Scientists and the educational community have provided us with an abundance of research and facts in the area of ​​nutrition. This information has been made available for many years. Unfortunately, some athletes and coaches do not rely upon the facts.

In order to begin a successful weight loss or weight gain program, daily caloric needs must be determined. Daily caloric expenditure is the sum of a person's Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), average caloric needs of daily workouts (strength training and running), and requirements for normal daily activities (walking, driving, and running errands).

Here is a simple formula you can use to help give you a guideline regarding how many calories you need to begin losing weight:

Multiply your body weight times 15 calories. Than subtract 500 calories.

Let's assume you weigh 250 pounds. Observe how you would use the above formula to calculate how many calories you must consume daily to lose one pound of fat in 7 days.

250 pounds

X 15 calories

3750 calories (number needed to maintain 250 lbs.)

– 500 calories (deduction per day for 7 days = 1 lb. of fat)


3250 = number of calories to consumed daily for one week

To lose one pound of fat in a seven-day period you can only consume 3250 calories a day. At the end of the seven-day period a one pound loss should be observed. To lose an additional pound the next week, and each succeeding week, you must recalculate the formula based on your new body weight (249 pounds x 15 calories = 3735 – 500 calories = 3235 calories / day for the next seven day period).

In summary – young athletes need to pay attention to what they put into their bodies. In order to maximize their athletic potential and develop a healthy lifestyle here are some key points to remember:

1. More fraud exists in the area of ​​nutrition than any other segment of the fitness industry.

2. In most cases athletes are not reliable sources for nutrition information.

3. Testimonium is an opinion not based upon facts or scientific information.

4. Supplements are not more effective than the food you consume.

5. Carbohydrates are the best source of energy.

6. Vitamins do not provide energy.

7. There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat.

8. The body can eat most foods in moderation ….. BALANCE is the key.


1) Riley, Dan. "Houston Texans Strength & Conditioning Manual"

2) Gentry, Mike, Ed.D., CSCS. "A Chance To Win"

This will give you the approximate number of calories you must consume each day that week to lose one pound of fat.


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