Changing your body composition requires more than just hitting the gym. Your diet plays a big role, too.
Ask any sports nutritionist about reducing body fat, and they’ll confirm: burn more calories than you consume. One pound of body fat equates to 3,500 calories, so losing a pound per week is as simple as reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories a day. Put it this way: cut out a couple of sodas and a serving of chips, candy or cookies each day and you've lost that extra 500 empty calories clogging your daily menu—and possibly defeating your body composition goals.
The best time to modify your body composition is between seasons, so you don’t compromise energy levels with intense performance.
By taking a few simple steps, athletes can drop fat and maintain muscle. Here’s the skinny:
Eat multiples times throughout the day
Reason being, it keeps your metabolism moving. If you’re only eating every four or five hours, your metabolism slows down, not to mention you’ll likely overeat. Eating throughout the day fuels your workouts and boosts your metabolism.
Keep healthy snacks around
They can help you stay in check. Here are some 100-calorie (or less) options:
• 10 baby carrots and 2 tbsp. of reduced-fat ranch dressing
• 6 oz. nonfat fruit yogurt
• 1 oz. bag of whole-grain pretzels
• 3C of air-popped popcorn
• 6 celery sticks and 1 tbsp. of peanut butter
• 1 banana
Fill up on . . .
Fruits and vegetables. They keep you full without adding tons of empty calories. Eliminate processed and fried foods, and add lean protein and veggies like asparagus, broccoli and green beans, which are low-glycemic foods (meaning they release energy slowly, keeping you full longer).
Want more 411 on reducing body fat? Check out nutritionist Julie Burns' eating plan that fills you up and leans you out.