Sportsmen playing different sports can often be seen keeping fit daily in gyms and sporting arenas so they can perform optimally during any sporting engagement. Soccer players are not left out of this daily routine.
Players come in different shapes and sizes but professional players are mostly lean and have a very fit physique. They can also be muscular although not overly muscled or too skinny.
Most players can often be seen taking off their shirts when jubilating thereby revealing their well-toned bodies and six-pack abs. This is often one of the checklists for judging a soccer player’s level of fitness.
Players who keep fit, often record high-level of performance. It is one of the key characteristics that coaches consider when selecting players because they tend to always outperform unfit players—or those that appear so.
One of the main causes of low performance in players is excess body weight. It limits the overall mobility of players during a game. This can be costly considering the fact that soccer involves a lot of running and jumping.
Players are often expected to run a combined total of more than 5 miles in the course of a match. When players are unfit, covering such a distance in 90 minutes can be very difficult.
Nevertheless, gaining more than the required body fat is most common among players during the off-seasons as they carry out less rigorous activities. Consequently, they will have to find a way of shedding the extra fat when the seasons come knocking.
If you are one of those looking for ways to beat down accumulated body fat, this article is for you. We will discuss at length the various methods that can help you lose body fat so you can get back to the game sound and hearty.
How do soccer players lose body fat?
A player who gains extra body fat is bound to play sluggishly during a game. Players ought to be flexible and fit to be able to play effectively since soccer is a fast-paced sport that requires agility and flexibility.
Alan Nevill from the University of Wolverhampton discovered that professional soccer players playing for England’s top six teams are leaner and taller in comparison to players playing for less successful teams.
For players that are approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall, their weight range is from 136-169 pounds. Once this range is exceeded, they ought to work towards shedding off the excess fat.
A record of the survey carried out on players who participated in the Men’s 2006 FIFA World Cup shows that out of 10 best soccer players, about 9 had a normal body mass index (BMI).
Most soccer players feel complacent and consume more than required during off-seasons and aside from that, they often train less and carry out little or no sporting activities during this period.
This habit leads to the accumulation of excess fat in the body which will affect them adversely. Excess body fat can cause a lot of health issues if not properly put in check.
Gaining excess body fat isn’t the end of the road for a soccer player. They shouldn’t feel disappointed or discouraged about this as they can easily shed this fat if they follow any of the methods below.
Strict diet plan
Nutrition is an essential aspect of every player’s life as it either makes or mars a player. A player’s daily diet is to be put into consideration to avoid gaining unnecessary weight.
In your quest to lose excess body fat, following a healthy dietary routine is one of the strategies that can be employed. A soccer player must learn to go for diets that consist of 10 to 15% of protein, 20 to 25% of fat, and 60 to 65% of carbohydrate.
Proteins are macronutrients that help build and maintain the muscles and more muscles in the body help burn more calories. Lean proteins like poultry, fish, and beef, are the recommended proteins for soccer players.
Healthy fats like Brazil nuts, olive oil, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and avocado are recommended.
Fats are helpful when it comes to better brain function, better eyesight, skin health, balancing hormones, curbing cravings and hunger, and they are also the most satiating nutrients.
Although fats are known to have numerous health benefits, they should not be consumed in excess as they are high in calories.
Required carbohydrates can be gotten from fibrous-rich carbs such as sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, etc. For fat loss, players should not eat fast-digesting carbohydrates like cookies, candy, and cakes.
Players should also add vegetables, at least one serving during each meal, this is because vegetables are fully packed with vitamins and minerals (micronutrients). Also, beverages that are calorie-free like coffee, tea, and water are perfect for weight loss.
Most importantly, players are often advised to cook at home so that they can know what goes into their food. This helps them measure the accurate quantity of the ingredients they need.
For an accurate dietary plan, players should consult professional nutritionists or dietitians.
Pros of a healthy diet
- Although going for a healthy dietary plan takes time to achieve desired results, it has proven to be an efficient method as it not only eliminates unnecessary fat, it also improves health
- Lowers high blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides
- Improves energy levels
Soccer is not only a fun sport, it can also facilitate weight loss. Soccer involves numerous rigorous activities that help work the heart and the muscles in different intensities.
Unlike typical workouts, soccer as a cardio workout burns more calories. This is achieved because players are forced to use both anaerobic and aerobic energy pathways, about 260 calories are burnt in 30 minutes when playing soccer.
To lose weight, players ought to burn more calories than they consume, this means that about 3,500 calories must be burnt to lose 1 pound of fat.
This implies that, if you play soccer 3 times a week for 1 hour each day, about 1,500 calories will be burnt each week thereby burning about 2 pounds of calories each month. This analysis means that soccer is very effective when it comes to weight loss.
Hormones that burn fat are released when playing soccer, this causes players to burn more fat after every game. Soccer also boosts players’ metabolism by building and preserving muscle mass.
Players are advised to keep playing soccer even during off-seasons as it will help them in keeping fit throughout the off-season period. Other workout activities like biking, yoga, jogging, etc. can also be added to soccer activities.
Pros of soccer
- Burns body fat rapidly unlike other methods
- Players burn fat while doing what they love to do thereby making it easier to achieve excellent results
- It helps in building more muscle which increases performance during play
- Players get to sharpen their skills while playing soccer
Burning body fat does not only require nutrition and aerobic activities, sleep is also very essential. The body naturally burns fat while you sleep.
Surprisingly it achieves this by carrying out metabolic functions in an active manner more than it does when you are not asleep.
It is so unfortunate that most people don’t get enough sleep daily which can be linked to long hours of work. This is one of the major factors preventing their body from properly shedding excess fat.
Players are advised to sleep for at least 7 hours a day. Below are ways in which sleep helps to burn fat in soccer players.
- Moderates appetite
When players get enough sleep, it reduces their calorie intake by cutting down their appetite which pushes them to eat more when they don’t get enough sleep.
Research shows that people who sleep less consumed about 385 additional calories a day with more calories coming from fat.
When players are sleep deprived, they experience an increase in food cravings, chocolate, hunger, fat intake, and portion sizes.
- Late-night snacking
When players go to sleep early, they avoid consuming snacks late at night which is associated with decreased fat oxidation, weight gain, and a high BMI.
Players should avoid pushing their bedtime later than expected as it will increase cravings for high-fat foods and junk. Food intake must occur 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Limit weight gain
Short sleep fewer than 6-7 hours has been linked to weight gain and high body mass index. For every added hour of sleep, the BMI decreases. Research shows that short sleep is associated with an increase in obesity.
When players are deprived of sleep, hunger hormone levels are affected thereby increasing ghrelin (the hormone that signals hunger and is released in the stomach) which increases hunger and decreases leptin (the hormone that signals fullness in the brain and overpowers hunger).
- Enhances physical activities
Enough sleep enhances physical activities which limit fatigue and increases the motivation to exercise.
Physical activities go in hand with sleep as research has shown that steady exercise helps increase quality sleep and decrease the time taken to fall asleep.
Furthermore, when players have short sleep, it affects their overall performance by lessening their muscular power, reaction time, endurance, and fine motor skills.
Pros of sleeping properly
- Reduces stress which comes from under-sleep
- Promotes the emotional and mental health of players
- Balances hunger hormones
- Helps in healing and recovery processes
- Boost player’s energy
Soccer players perform better when they are fit and in good shape. Added body fat, more than the required amount makes players feel heavy and less flexible. This decreases their overall performance and might even cause their team to lose a game.
Players are advised to constantly put their diet in check, get enough sleep, and play soccer both during peak seasons and off-seasons. This will help them control their body fat and decrease weight gain.
Losing body fat is not a day job as it takes time to achieve, therefore players who wish to lose fat must be patient enough to get the desired result.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!