Exercise and activity can help you lose weight, and they are generally
part of a weight-loss program. But some dangers are involved both for
those just beginning a fitness program and those who are active and fit.
In order to lose more weight, or to lose weight more quickly, people
beginning a fitness program sometimes restrict calories too much (eat too
little). Because you need calories when you are active, this can lead to
Fit people usually have a
higher-than-average ratio of muscle to fat. Muscle weighs more than fat, so
people who have more muscle than average may weigh more than another person
with the same stature. In order to lose what seems like extra weight, some
people restrict calories even when they are burning more calories than most
people with the same weight and stature. This also can lead to inadequate
Rapid weight loss has dangers. Gradual weight loss is healthier
than rapid weight loss, but for people who already have minimal body fat, even
gradual weight loss may be unhealthy because the body will burn muscle when it
has no excess fat at all. It's healthier to get to an appropriate weight and
maintain it whether you are training or performing or in off-season.
Rapid weight loss is often seen in those who participate in:
Activities like ballet and gymnastics, where
appearance is considered very important. The reasons for this practice are
often based more on social pressures than on health or
Sports with weight classifications, such as wrestling.
You may be tempted to lose weight rapidly to "make weight" (qualify in a weight
class that is lower than your weight during training).
Some athletes and coaches believe that training at a higher
weight and then dropping weight right before competition improves performance.
There is little concrete evidence to support this.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.