Weight loss with sports

If you want to lose weight with sports, you should bear in mind the most important points.

Many people not only do sports for the pleasure and joy of movement, but also to keep their body weight under control. In fact, sport is a good way to keep your energy levels balanced and to not consume more energy than you burn.

But which form of training supports weight loss the best? Scientists from Brazil asked themselves the same question. They examined whether people lost more weight with high-intensity interval training or with training at a constant intensity. For this purpose, the scientists summarised the results of nearly 50 studies.

The analysis confirmed that doing regular sports over a longer period of time could reduce the body weight, BMI, waist circumference and the waist-hip ratio. What’s more, people had a lower body fat content and less fat in the abdominal area after the training. The comparison between high-intensity interval training and training at a constant intensity showed that high-intensity interval training could reduce body weight to a somewhat greater degree, which can be explained by the increased consumption of calories due to the increased intensity. The scientists emphasise, however, that high-intensity interval training can easily lead to injuries and overloading in the case of inexperienced people and should therefore not be used as the sole form of training. Switching between medium-intensity and rigorous units is definitely a happy medium.

What do the findings mean for amateur athletes?

While sports increases the calories burned and is used for long-term weight control, its immediate effect should not be overestimated. Let’s take a simple calculation: to get rid of one kilogram of body fat through sports, we need to burn around 6500 calories. For a man with a body weight of around 80 kilos, this corresponds to doing very rigorous sports training for about eight hours (around 800 calories per hour).

If this man now does one hour of sports twice a week, he will burn about 1600 calories. It will thus take him about four weeks to lose just one kilo. And this will only happen if his input and output remain balanced.

If you want to lose weight, you should therefore track your calorie intake over a few weeks in a dietary record (e.g. via www.myfitnesspal.com). You should also aim to slightly reduce your calories (max. 500 Kcal/day). And make sure that your diet has a high intake of protein (more than 1 gram per kilo of body weight per day). In addition to endurance sports, strength training is recommended to build up muscle mass and stabilise your core; something that many endurance athletes tend to neglect.