Visceral fat around the abdomen affects your cardiorespiratory fitness, which can make playing a 90-minute soccer game a struggle. In addition to shedding the pounds, you need to develop your core muscles to improve your stability to play competitively. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot spot reduce fat in the stomach region; you will have to reduce your overall body fat to get results. By combining cardio, healthy eating and strength training, you can turn a flabby stomach into a six-pack.
Nutrition for Soccer
For an active soccer player, strict dieting is not recommended. Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark's book "Food Guide for Soccer" states that most soccer players can lose weight on a 1,800 to 2,200 calorie diet. Clark recommends eating meals ranging from 400 to 600 calories every four hours to prevent hunger. Avoid high-calorie items such as fried food, baked goods and candy to help create a calorie deficit. Have protein-rich foods at each meal and aim for 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of a variety of colored vegetables. Choose healthy carbs such as brown rice or whole-wheat pasta to have with your meals.
Increase Lean Muscle Mass
Building muscles increases your basal metabolic rate, which can help you prevent gaining back the weight in the future. Your BMR is your resting metabolic rate, which is the amount of calories you burn when you are at rest. College conditioning coach Greg Gatz, author of "Complete Conditioning for Soccerm" recommends circuit training to improve muscularity and muscle endurance. For a total-body circuit, perform five repetitions of dumbbell hang cleans, dumbbell squats to an overhead press, dumbbell forward lunges with bicep curls, dumbbell split jerks and dumbbell squat jumps. Aim for five sets of the circuit with no rest between exercises. You can take a 60-second rest between sets.
Burning Fat with Cardio Workouts
To reduce your body-fat percentage and get a flat stomach, cardiovascular exercise is recommended. Of course, playing soccer games is a form of vigorous, intense aerobic exercise; play or train at least twice a week for cardio benefits. Additionally, high-intensity interval training twice a week can boost your abdominal fat reduction. Perform three to four sets of 60-yard sprints with a 20-second rest between sets. If you are already performing at this level, you need to focus your efforts on dietary changes and your strength-training regimen.
Weight Loss Considerations
Attempting to lose weight during the season, when you need energy for soccer games and training sessions, contributes to fatigue, Clark notes. You need calories from carbs and protein to fuel your on-field running. Focus on losing weight on the days you don't have a game or the off-season. Healthy weight loss takes time; aim to lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week if you are female and 1 to 2 pounds per week if you are male.
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