As an athlete, how can I lose weight without losing muscle mass?

If you're trying to lose weight, your goal is to lose one pound per week. Reducing caloric intake by 500 calories per day will allow you to accomplish this goal.

Eating numerous smaller meals is recommended. Six meals a day is not uncommon. This allows you to spread your caloric intake over that day and minimizes unused calories.

Time your meals so that they provide you with enough energy for your workout. For example, eat breakfast, have a mid-morning snack, eat lunch, have a pre-workout snack and a post-workout snack, and then eat a nutritionally balanced dinner. As you restrict calories, make sure that you are getting a full spectrum of nutrients. Adequate vitamin and mineral intake is very important. Eating a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables will help.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.