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Fitness Corner: Weight Tips


Most athletes take their weight seriously, as they should. In order to play their best, some athletes need to lose some fat weight to improve their speed, agility and athletic performance.

Determining Your Best Playing Weight

In the past, an athlete's best playing weight was often decided by consulting a weight for height chart. This method proved to be unreliable for athletes who tend to carry more weight as lean muscle mass than the average non-athlete person of the same sex and height. It's just not possible to look at only height and weight to decide whether an athlete has the optimal amount of muscle and fat for his height.

What an athlete needs is to have his/her body fat measured at specific body sites by a skilled strength and conditioning professional, physician, dietician, or physiologist. These measurements are then put into a formula and average percent body fat can be determined. If the percent fat exceeds standard levels the amount of weight you need to lose to reach the goal percent body fat can be determined. Note: There is a lot of variability when skin fold measurements on the same athlete are taken by different people, so the same person should take the measurements to insure consistency.

Weight Loss Methods

When you lose weight, what you really want to lose is fat. The goal is to reduce body fat, but not muscle mass which is needed for strength, endurance and solid athletic skills. To lose fat weight takes time, patience and hard work. Programs that promise a quick "painless" weight loss in a short time are misleading and virtually scams. (When a program sounds too good to be true, it usually is.) When you lose weight quickly, what your losing is not fat, but fluids and muscle tissue, both of which an athlete wants to hang on to. Taking diet pills to lose weight is not the answer either-the unwanted weight usually returns within a short time, wasting your money and time. Trying to send down the scale by omitting one or more meal(s) each day or drinking less fluid ends up working against you. When you deprive your body of fluids from food, you force it to use its own tissue to survive. The tissue it uses for energy when you don't take in enough food comes not just from fat stores, but also from muscle break down .

How Long Does it Take to Lose Weight?

The best way to lose weight is the same way you added it-gradually, over time. To do that you'll need a balanced diet that is lower in calories and regular, increased exercise.

Athletes can safely and effectively lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Once you've had your body fat determined and the strength and conditioning professional has told you how many pounds you need to lose to reach a body fat between 10 and 12 percent, you're ready to divide the total number of pounds to lose by 1 to 2 (for 1 to 2 pounds per week) to see how many weeks you need to allow for the loss to occur.

For example: Suppose the strength and conditioning professional tells you that to reach a body fat of 12 percent you need to lose 15 pounds. If you think you can afford to lose 2 pounds each week, divide 15 by 2 in which case you'd need to allow 7 1/2 weeks to get your goal weight. If you prefer something a little less drastic, go for one pound per week loss, and give yourself 15 weeks to lose the total amount.

*Assistant strength and conditioning coach Duane Carlisle joined the 49ers this off-season from the Philadelphia Eagles. He is in charge of directing all of the speed, agility, and conditioning programs for all positions on the team. He has spent the last 13 years pushing athletes to perform to their maximum potential. Carlisle has also developed workout videos which can be viewed, *by clicking here!

I have been exercising and stretching. I use treadmill and step machines. I do sit ups and lift weights, but I can't seem to get rid of the "spare tire" around my stomach. My legs are fine and my chest and the upper part of my stomach is coming along. What can I do?
Coach Parker's Answer: You didn't tell us your age but somewhere between 30-35 our metabolism starts to slow and the same routines and amounts of exercise that kept us lean and trim until that point no longer have the same effects or results. If you are at or above that age group, then it becomes more of a matter of making sure that you burn up more calories than you take in. You must also ensure that the greatest amount of calories you consume are from carbohydrates with less of an emphasis on proteins and fats. It sounds like you are doing the right things, it is just a new opponent of Father Time entering the occasion. No matter what your age, make sure your diet is an optimal diet because even if you are young and take in a lot of fat, you are going to pay the price later on.

To have your question considered, please email Parker at

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