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How College Athletes Can Gain Weight

Photo By: Erich ShlegalWhile most of the world is worried about losing weight, many college athletes struggle gaining weight.

Gaining the right muscle weight will benefit athletes by lowering their fatigue levels, and help increase their potential abilities for their sport.

Dave Vital, Loyola University Chicago’s assistant athletics’ director for sports performance, says that he has at least one new case of an athlete struggling to gain weight each year. Even though it is Vitals’ job to help the athletes, he feels it would be beneficial to all that are struggling to know the information themselves on the issue.

This is an issue mainly seen in with men. “Most college male athletes need and want to gain weight for their sport, while women athletes are more concerned with losing weight or being physically fit,” Vital says.

Vital feels that an athlete who is struggling shoot for 3000 calories a day.

The problem is that most athletes having this issue are that they are not getting the proper calories in a day to fully replenish their bodies. It does not matter if it is from losing calories by working out practice, or while at rest those calories are not being replenished. Vital blames the issue on an athlete not getting enough calories or not knowing how many calories an athlete needs a day, and being limited to the college budget.

At the same time, just eating as much food as possible has become enough not anymore. Skinnier athletes tend to have faster metabolisms, which results in them having more trouble eating the same amount as regular athletes. This creates a problem because the skinnier athlete cannot regain enough of the calories they need to try and gain weight. If the athlete can’t gain back what has been lost then it is impossible for them to add more weight.

Vital has a few tips for those athletes having an issue. He suggests that,“It is easier to drink a bunch of calories than to eat them.”

He advises a high calorie protein drink, because protein has a lot of calories and nutrients for in it to help with muscle growth. Vital think athletes that are struggling should drink at least three times a day while adding as much eating on top of that is the most beneficial aspect to gaining weight. Another tip is to even have a protein drink during the workout itself, which would instantly put back the calories being lost during the workout. He also suggests having a high calorie snack like peanut butter and jelly right before bed.

Eating the right types of foods is also important in this equation, because unhealthy high fat and sugar foods could potentially be a setback for athletes.

Vital advises pastas and any other such meals with very high calorie intake, but sometimes the high calorie foods still are not what are best for you. Sticking with high calorie nutritious foods not only helps builds muscle, but strong and durable muscle according to Vital.

Supplements have been now linked to sports for a quick weight gain option. Supplements that aren’t strictly protein are not suggested, they can result in an unnatural growth of the muscle, which more than often can cause a serious injury. Also a natural muscle will last longer, because “you won’t need to keep those stupid pills or whatever everyday,” says Vital.

Once an athlete figures out how many calories they need on a daily basis, they are on their way. As much of a struggle as it is, there are many success stories out there. An example of a success story is Cory Reicks who went into college 6’8″ 180 pounds. Reicks did many of the strategies Vital suggested, graduating at 6’8″ 210 pounds, and playing professionally oversees in his sport. Many athlete’s with stories like Reick’s, made their first progress when they found out how man actual calories they needed. After they realized that the struggle became easier to fight.

Another story is about a basketball player who was 6’3″ 155 pounds going into college. He was frustrated because he kept getting easily pushed around while on the court. He  stated that once he started to put on weight, it became easier to eat more which helped him continue to put on more weight.

When trying to gain the right weight out there males remembering one word is all that is needed: calories. Whether it is by eating or drinking them having as many calories in a day as possible probably still is not enough for those struggling.

  • written by jpatton2 on December 6th, 2012
  • posted in Edit
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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.