JSU Student Symposium 2021

Weight Loss and the Athlete


Weight Loss and the Athlete



Faculty Mentor

Majid Koozehchian, Kinesiology; Gina Mabrey, Kinesiology


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There are many different approaches to weight loss. High carbohydrate, low carbohydrate, high fat, low fat, and high protein. Any combination of those macronutrients listed can facilitate weight loss in athletes. One common denominator in all the studies discussed in this review is the appearance of an energy deficit. An energy deficit of around 0.5-0.7% seems to be the ideal and optimal range to lose weight and fat mass at a successful level without losing muscle mass. The goal of any athlete should be to lose as much fat mass as possible while maintaining and sometimes even adding muscle mass while in an energy deficit. Athletes looking to lose weight or maintain the weight lost previously need to implement a high protein diet. Protein, in all studies cited in this literature review, has been increased by 2-3 times the recommended daily allowance. The recommended daily allowance is 0.8 g/kg, but athletes with their significant energy expenditure need a drastic increase in protein to increase the satiety of meals. Athletes vary from individual to individual when it comes to the amount of energy expended and the energy needed to be consumed, and the type of diet. One athlete may respond very well to the ketogenic diet, while another athlete may respond better to a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet. Athletes should continue to resistance train in combination with their sports practice and games. Resistance training has shown to be one of the most effective avenues for athletes, and individuals in general, to improve their body composition and lose fat mass. Athletes need to be in a slight energy deficit (~500 calorie deficit), consume high amounts of protein (~1.7-2.4 g/kg), and continue resistance training throughout their weight loss plan to not decrease their muscle mass. The slow approach to weight loss is the most important aspect concerning the health of athletes. Athletes often develop eating disorders when a rapid weight loss plan has been implemented. The goal is for athletes to understand food is important to their health and performance, and the relationship athletes have with food is vital to their health and well-being. Athletes should be taught the importance of weight loss and how it should be done correctly. In the end, athletes, coaches, and trainers need to find what diet and strategy benefits each athlete. Finally, as stated earlier, an athlete needs an energy deficit, sufficient protein intake to maintain muscle mass, and the athlete needs to continue to resistance train to facilitate the best results possible.


student research, kinesiology


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Sports Sciences

Weight Loss and the Athlete