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The Sport Digest - ISSN: 1558-6448

Proper Weight Loss & Weight Gain


In today’s society with all the junk foods out there and with the portion sizes being out of control, it is very easy to gain weight and fatty weight at that. Also, it is not as easy to burn that weight off and keep it off. In the same sense, it is just as hard to gain good lean weight due to the junk foods again! Therefore, this paper is going to teach athletes different ways of dieting to lose weight and different types of exercises that can be done to burn those calories and also the importance of doing this in a proper manner. Also, for those athletes who are trying to bulk up, this will teach them how to put on good lean weight.

Losing weight can be a major factor in certain sports like wrestling, boxing, any type of fighting where there are weight classes, pole vaulting, horse jockeys, divers, etc. This issue is so big that sometimes it can be a career breaker for athletes. Over the years, weight loss with athletes has been portrayed as something dangerous, especially when it comes to wrestlers. However, there are smart ways of dropping those few extra pounds without sacrificing your health at the same time.

In general, it seems as if it is a rule of thumb that it is always better to eat more small meals like 4-5 than a few big meals (Reyes, 2007). When eating more meals, usually about two of them are more like a snack instead of an actual meal, consisting mainly of fruits and vegetables. These can be called filler foods or meals. In doing this, the body is able to keep the metabolism working at a constant pace, and the harder the metabolism is working, the more calories that are being burned (The Biggest Loser Diet Plan, 2006). Aside from this, there is much debate about what diet plan is the best.

Diet Plans

When it comes to diets, there is the no carbohydrates diet, the points diet, the juice diet, the vegetarian diet, the no fats diet, etc. However, when it comes to diets that actually work and keep the weight off, the most successful is always the well-balanced diet with the right size portions, which is close to the points diet. The reason for this is because if you withhold certain types of foods, once the body is reintroduced to these again it doesn’t digest them the same. Therefore, they automatically go into fat storage compartments (Paul & Barston, 2009).

The question is why do most diet plans not work? There are many reasons: the weight always comes back, withdraw, cost, weight doesn’t come off very fast, hit a plateau, too complicated, too much work, feel too sheltered or held back, etc. Also, the majority of these diets are so out of the ordinary that when a person goes back to eating normal foods, the weight just flies right back on.

Let’s talk in specifics about a few of these major diet plans that are out there. First off is the Atkin’s Diet, which is known for basically eliminating carbohydrates with the exception of fruits and vegetables. The general idea behind this idea sounds pretty good because most carbohydrates, if not used, turn into sugars and then into fats and get stored in the body. Also, carbs are usually used for quick energy sources. However, the negative behind this idea is that the person on this diet ends up eating a lot of meat, which can be high in fat and cholesterol (Davis, 2004). Also with studies today saying that red meat increases the risk of cancer, this person must decide if losing weight is worth losing their health.

Next, there is the Weight Watchers diet, which is thought to be one of the best if not the best diet on the market right now. In this diet, the person gets a certain number of points per day that they are allowed to eat, and this number is based off of their weight and age. Then there is a list of almost any food and how many points each are worth. As the person loses weight, the number of points per day changes. Also, if the person does not eat all of their points, they can carry them over as bonus points. Basically, Weight Watchers is doing the calorie counting for the person by telling them how many points everything is (Heyward, 2002).
If followed correctly, significant weight loss can be seen; however, it’s not all about the weight loss. It is about the person’s health as well. The problem here is that the person is still allowed to eat whatever they want, but they just might not get to eat a whole lot of it depending on how many points it is. In other words, a person could eat three to four donuts every day but that’s all they get for the day. Yes, they will probably lose some weight even with this because they are not eating much, but is this going to be healthy for them and supply them with the proper nutritional needs? Also, the person is encouraged to eat all of their points each day even if they are already full, and if not, they can add their points up and use them later. Why in the world would you encourage someone to eat more if they are already satisfied? What happens is that they save those points up and use them to eat some huge desert or some kind of junk food, which again brings up the health issue.

Finally, there is the Jenny Craig diet. In this diet, the person has to buy all of their meals through the Jenny Craig company where, again, they are doing the calorie counting for the person (Paul & Barston, 2009). This sounds pretty good and helps eliminate the hassle of trying to prepare meals all the time. However, just like the rest of these diet plans, there are always some negatives. First off, the food just looks nasty, and secondly, there is no way of knowing what they even put in this food, which in most cases is usually some substance to get people to go to the bathroom regularly. Thirdly, it’s expensive, and lastly, once that person goes back to eating regular food that weight is just going to fly back on.

Weight Loss, Diet & Exercise

There is one major factor that is behind all of these diet plans to make them work, but barely gets any attention ---- that factor is exercise. All these diet plans come with a major exercise program that gets no attention because they want the lazy public to believe that it’s possible to lose all this weight without exercise. Yes, some weight will be lost; however, without the consistent exercise, it will always come back (Heyward, 2002). Along with this, none of these diets really focus on the health aspect and the reality of how long people are actually going to stay on these diets or afford to be on them. Reality is that everyone is going to go back to eating regular foods at some point, and it’s the mental changes that are going to keep them from falling back to where they used to be.

What makes a successful diet? A lot of the time, it’s not actually the diet that becomes the success but more so the person that is on the diet. In order for a diet to actually work, there has to be a change and commitment that actually happens in the person that is on the diet (Howley & Franks, 2003). Along with this, a good diet plan is one where people can relate to others and talk things out and encourage each other, one that is focused on health and long term goals, one where weight loss is a gradual process, etc (Reyes, 2007). Therefore, when it comes to losing weight, it’s actually pretty simple in basic terms- if you don’t burn more calories than you eat, you will gain weight. Granted, the body automatically burns a certain number of calories (on average somewhere around 1800) with the metabolism just to stay alive, but on top of that, for those extra calories, one must burn more than ingested. To help decrease the amount of calories that a person is taking in and needs to burn, one must make smart decisions. This means taking time to think about what we are eating and making healthy choices.

There is a great saying, “what you put in is what you get out.” If a person just makes quick decisions and eats a bunch of junk food, then their body is going to run like junk- slow, sluggish, and lethargic. Also, with food being used at every social event and as a comfort and stress reliever, it seems almost impossible to get away from it and especially from those fatty foods that make people feel good. To help make successful eating habits, one should plan meals ahead of time, eat breakfast with some proteins to get the metabolism going for the day and keep the body full longer, pay attention to what is being eaten, eat slower to minimize food intake, try new things, stop before the body feels full, and serve smaller portions (Paul & Barston, 2009).
Other great choices are drinking more water instead of pop or juice, and more whole wheat and multi-grain carbohydrates over simple white flour foods. Both pop and white flour foods digest very fast leaving the body wanting for more, which will in turn lead to weight gain. Also, cooking all homemade meals, not being distracted while eating, getting good sleep, eating earlier while the metabolism is in full force instead of later when it is shutting down, and of course plenty of exercise, which will be talked about later.

The main idea through all of this proper dieting is to count those calories for those portion sizes and to try and decrease the consumption of fat, calories, and simple carbohydrates, which all lead to weight gain. Also, healthy weight loss should only be around one to two pounds per week. Now, it is possible to lose a lot of weight without exercise by doing a lot of the things that have just been talked about. However, at some point the body is going to hit a plateau, and the only way to lose any more weight is to exercise (Heyward, 2002). On top of that, exercise is very healthy. Therefore, to lose the weight the correct way, exercise should always be done hand in hand with dieting to help keep the body healthy and fit at the same time.

In many cases, exercise is considered the key component to losing weight and especially with helping keep it off. There are a few different kinds of exercise that can be done here. There is aerobic, anaerobic, and resistance exercises all which are very good for burning those calories. Aerobic exercise is the main type that is used to burn off fat. However, an athlete does not really start burning fat until after 35-40 minutes. Examples of this type of exercise are: riding a bike, jogging, walking, elliptical, stair stepper, cross country skiing, swimming, roller skating, etc, anything that is constant motion or repetitive movement. Then there is anaerobic exercise, which is more fast, quick bursts of energy, like basketball, tennis, sprinting, etc. However, this type of exercise can still be used to burn calories if the rest period in between is kept to a minimum of around a minute or under. Lastly, resistance exercise, also known as lifting weights, can be a huge factor in burning calories. By doing resistance work, the metabolism is automatically increased (Reyes, 2007).

Weight Gain, Diet & Exercise

When it comes to dieting to gain good lean weight, a lot of the same rules apply except for a few may be the complete opposite. It is very necessary to be responsible and watch what you are eating along with counting those calories. First, it is important to start eating. An athlete must eat more calories than they burn to gain weight (David, 2007). This means eating up to six times a day or around every three hours. These meals consist of a lot of meats and proteins along with fruits and vegetables. Also, staying hydrated with plenty of water and getting lots of rest gives the athlete the energy they need for everything they are doing to gain weight (Jegtvig, 2009). Then it is necessary to get that butt in the weight room. This lifting will be more specific with repetitions being around 10-12 and sets around 4-6 all for the same muscle group. This will help increase the size of the muscles and put on that overall bulk; however, this will not lead to significant strength gains. As it can be seen, this will take a lot of discipline and energy. Gaining weight is very taxing on the body physically and mentally because for that time the athlete’s life revolves around eating and living in the weight room. Therefore, this is definitely possible for one to do, but their health does come into question again. All that lifting will definitely put the body in overload along with the health risks of the excessive eating (Heyward, 2002).


After looking at all these different diet plans and exercise programs, there should be a better understanding of how everything works. Dieting is definitely a good starter for losing weight; however, it must be backed up with a good exercise program and resistance training if the person wants to keep the weight off and be healthy at the same time. There are plenty of different routes that can be taken for the weight loss and all of them have their positives and negatives, but in basic terms, it all comes down to watching the types of foods you are eating, limiting those simple sugars and carbohydrates, and finally portion control. As for the weight gain, basically everything is the same except for the portions will be larger and the need for water hydration increases. All in all, the number one factor that needs to be seen here is that it all starts with a change in the mind. Without that, none of this is possible.


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