Overweight teens have a greater risk of injury while playing sports than do their peers who are not overweight.

What Is an Effective Way for a Teenage Athlete to Lose Fat?

by Mary Marcia Brown

Teenagers are typically more physically active than adults. When teenagers participate in sports, they are even more active and burn even more calories. However, just because a teenager is active or even athletic does not mean that he cannot be overweight. Oftentimes, athletic teens consume more calories than they think they do and burn fewer calories with their chosen sport than they realize. Consuming more calories than you use inevitably results in weight gain, regardless of your age. Teenage athletes may be able to lose the fat by making a few modifications to their daily routines.

Exercise Year-Round

Because sports are seasonal, the training in which teenage athletes participate is usually seasonal, too. Teenage athletes need to stay physically active throughout the year to lose fat and keep it off. During the off season, teen athletes need to include three days of cardiovascular exercise and two days of strength training in their schedules. This will help support weight management and it will also help prevent the loss of essential physical conditioning that was gained during the season to improve sport-related performance.

Make Smart Food Choices

To lose weight healthfully, teens want to plan smart meals, avoid mindless snacking and ensure they are burning more calories than they consume each day. It is important that foods are not only nutritious, but also provide the energy necessary for their routine and sport. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also stresses the importance of getting enough vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium, for proper development and performance.

Get Sufficient Sleep

Teens require 9 1/4 hours of sleep to perform optimally. However, most teens do not get the recommended amount of sleep. This can lead to weight gain. When teens do not get sufficient sleep, they are more likely to eat more food and make poor choices that involve fried and sugary foods. Sufficient sleep helps teens control unhealthy cravings and helps maintain a healthy metabolism.

Have a Support System

Parents play a very important role in the overall health and well-being of their teenagers. Active parents tend to have active teens and overweight parents tend to have overweight teens. When teens surround themselves with family members and peers who are making good food choices and exercising, their own habits will usually follow suit.

About the Author

Mary Marcia Brown has worked in the health and fitness industry for more than 15 years. A writer and runner with road race directorship experience, Brown has been published in "Running Journal," "Florida Running & Triathlon" and "Outreach NC."

Photo Credits

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