Apr 20, 2018
Portion Control

When athletes wish to lose weight, rule number one is to keep it gradual. Athletes should lose no more than one to two pounds per week, and even that may be too fast in-season. Losing weight more rapidly is likely to cause loss of muscle tissue and potentially strength, speed, and power. Emphasize that drastic and rapid weight loss is always a health risk, but it is even riskier during intense training.

If you need to make a specific calorie recommendation to the athlete striving to lose weight, I recommend assessing what they currently eat on a typical day (not a “good day” but a “typical day”), and reducing that amount by 10 to 20 percent. For example, a female swimmer who currently eats about 3,200 calories per day should be able to achieve weight loss without jeopardizing training and performance by cutting down to 2,500 to 2,700 calories per day.

Here are some examples of easy portion size changes. Look at the calorie differences!

McDonald’s Big Mac, large fries, large soda (1,380 calories)


McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, medium fries, large diet soda (800 calories)

King size Snickers candy bar (510 calories)


Regular Snickers candy bar (275 calories)


Fun size Snickers candy bar (110 calories)

Regular size bagel (320 calories)


Mini bagel (100 calories)

Full bag of microwave popcorn (620 calories)


Single serving bag light microwave popcorn (100 calories)

Image by Toddst2

Shop see all »

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
website development by deyo designs
Interested in receiving the print or digital edition of Training & Conditioning?

Subscribe Today »

Be sure to check out our sister sites: