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Weight Loss For Soccer

by Taylor Tollison

It is important to approach this topic with an open mind. Most soccer athletes are lean but how you approach that small percentage of overweight players can have a big impact on their development.  Before you stop reading because you feel this doesn’t apply, ask yourself this question, would I recommend that overweight soccer players exercise 20+ minutes continuously to lose the weight? If that is your recommendation please keep reading. You very well could be affecting that soccer player in a couple of ways: 1. increased likelihood of injury 2. decreased performance.

Misconceptions about weight loss and soccer training throughout the years tend to exacerbate the situation. Traditional weight loss programs tell us that to lose weight you must get on the exercise bike, run or do the elliptical machine for 20+ minutes a day at least 3 times a week.  

Through further analysis I hope that you will see why it is not recommended to lose weight via long drawn out sessions.  

Performance could decrease  

 In the world of athletics few things matter more than running fast, cutting quickly and jumping high. Every day we hear of athletes that have 40 inch vertical leaps or can run the 40 yard dash in 4.3 sec. These are world class numbers that require both good genetics and the proper exercise regimen. Athletes that have such great numbers could literally have excelled at almost any speed sport with the proper practice growing up.  

How can running 20 minutes continuously day after day affect the overweight soccer player’s athleticism? Numerous studies and countless hours of experience by many have shown that continuous steady state exercise negatively affects power. Power provides the boosters to run fast and jump high which are driven by fast twitch fibers. Simply put, the more fast twitch fibers you have, the faster you will run.  

By doing long drawn out runs you start to not only train your slow twitch fibers but also convert the properties of fast twitch fibers to slow. This makes you a slower athlete.  In addition, you've probably seen the influx of exercise programs on TV like insanity etc.  This type of program uses interval training.  Is it any wonder the training world is now pushing short duration exercise for weight loss?   Its time for your weight loss program to match what trainers are recommending.  Drop Long distance running for weight loss.