Weight management for athletes and active individuals is unique because of their high daily energy expenditure; thus, the emphasis is usually placed on changing the diet side of the energy balance equation. When dieting for weight loss, active individuals also want to preserve lean tissue, which means that energy restriction cannot be too severe or lean tissue is lost. First, this brief review addresses the issues of weight management in athletes and active individuals and factors to consider when determining a weight-loss goal. Second, the concept of dynamic energy balance is reviewed, including two mathematical models developed to improve weight-loss predictions based on changes in diet and exercise. These models are now available on the Internet. Finally, dietary strategies for weight loss/maintenance that can be successfully used with active individuals are given. Emphasis is placed on teaching the benefits of consuming a low-ED diet (e.g., high-fiber, high-water, low-fat foods), which allows for the consumption of a greater volume of food to increase satiety while reducing energy intake. Health professionals and sport dietitians need to understand dynamic energy balance and be prepared with effective and evidence-based dietary approaches to help athletes and active individuals achieve their body-weight goals.
Sports Med. 45(Suppl 1):83-92.