Calories Stored as part of
your Sports Nutrition Plan

The concept of calories stored or calorie balance in your sports nutrition plan includes calories eaten vs. calories burned.

  • I’m training hard and eating healthy, but not losing any weight. Am I doing something wrong?

  • First, remember that eating healthy goes beyond good nutrition…you also have to balance your total calories. Track your intake to be sure, and adjust your sports nutrition plan accordingly. You may want to consider having your food and fitness program evaluated by a Registered Dietitian with additional credentials as a sports dietitian. Check out options for Nutrition Coaching with Jan Dowell .

    Second, there are some healthy things that happen to your body as you train. You may be losing body fat, but gaining weight with an increase in blood volume and a change in cells (allowing more oxygen to get to your exercising muscle), an increase in muscle mass and supporting connective tissue (you are stronger), and an increase in calories stored as carb fuel called glycogen. Glycogen is naturally stored with water, another weighty factor. So fear not! Don’t worry about pounds on the scale if you are performing the same or better!

  • I can’t stop losing weight. Where do I start?

  • Check both your calorie intake and nutrition intake. Both need to be in line to maintain weight. There are many ways to increase your calories stored: add healthy snacks between meals (so you need to be eating meals first), increase portions of foods you are already eating and drinking, and include calorie boosters (adding cheese to your eggs, almonds in your cereal, or granola in your yogurt). There are sports nutrition supplements that can be used along with (not instead of) a healthy diet to increase your calorie stored. Also, add a strength training program to your overall workout plan if you don’t already weight train. These ideas are a start. A Registered Dietitian with knowledge of calories stored can evaluate your intake and work with you on specific eating strategies. It is also a good idea to see your doctor if the weight loss continues or gets out of control in case there are unknown medical reasons for the weight loss.

  • How can I know if my weight loss is body fat loss or a change in hydration, or if my weight gain is muscle?

  • A Personal Trainer or Registered Dietitian can test your body fat and do body measurements with a tape. With this information you can estimate your muscle mass. Track this and follow changes over time. In general, fat loss is consistent with a decrease in size (hips, waist). Fat loss takes time. Muscle mass gain takes time. Dehydration is fast weight loss and can be noticed as daily weight changes.

  • When is the best time to start a weight loss program?

  • Save major weight loss for off season, when you can experiment with foods and energy levels. Long-term weight loss success requires a change in many food and lifestyle behaviors. You’ll have more time to concentrate and be successful with these habit changes in the off season.

    Learn more about burning calories in sports nutrition.
    Return to calorie counter tips.