Why do some athletes eat more than others?

Why do some athletes eat more than others?

Some athletes are less active than others –even if they do the same amount of exercise. In their non-exercise hours, they tend to be sedentary. They look forward to finishing their workout, settling into their Laz-y-boy chair, putting their feet up, turning on the TV, and vegging-out for hours on end. Sound familiar? If so, you may believe you have a “slow metabolism” and that is why you cannot eat as much as your friends.

Sedentary athletes commonly have undesired body fat, and many believe something is wrong with their metabolism. The truth is, they barely move their bodies during the day—other than during their five mile run or one hour spin class. To their detriment, sedentary athletes (who are good at sitting) tend to burn fewer calories than they realize over the course of the day. They may think they are active – but their one-hour of exercise does not compensate for the other 23 hours of sedentary behavior the rest of the day.

In comparison, other athletes rarely sit, and when they do, they can’t sit still. They shift and wiggle in their chairs, and are very good fidgeters. Their desire to fidget is genetic; it starts at birth and explains why these fidgeters prefer to relax by puttering (as opposed to sitting and reading)—and why they eat far bigger portions than their sedentary teammates. They have a “fast metabolism” and can out-eat their friends.

Of interest, people who are overweight or obese tend to be very good at sitting. They may sit 2.5 hours more each day compared to their peers and that can save them about 350 calories a day. A good fidgeter, in comparison, can burn an extra 300 to 500 calories per day. So a question arises: does obesity foster sedentary behavior? Or does the tendency to be sedentary foster obesity? Whatever the answer, the smart person builds activity into his or her day by parking the car further away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and planning walking meetings

Written by Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD is an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader. She is a registered dietitian (RD) who is a board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She is also a certified WellCoach. Nancy specializes in nutrition for performance, life-long health, and the nutritional management of eating disorders. She counsels both casual exercisers and competitive athletes in her private practice in the Boston area (Newton, MA). Some of her clients consider her to be their food coach, others their food therapist. Regardless, she enjoys the challenge of helping sports-active people transform their suboptimal eating habits into effective fueling plans. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, a best-selling resource, has sold over 550,000 copies and is now in it's new fifth edition.
Website: http://www.nancyclarkrd.com


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