How Good is Soccer For Weight Loss? (Guide with Examples!)

is soccer good for weight loss

Forget about the excitement and fun that soccer brings to the table! It also has many other objective benefits that you actually should take advantage of …

… One of those benefits is Weight Loss!

In this Post I breakdown this One benefit that many people seem to be struggling with.

So, is Soccer Good for weight loss?

Yes, Indeed, Soccer is an excellent sport for those who want to lose weight because of the way it makes muscles and the heart work.

In fact, it burns more fat and builds more muscle by using both fast and slow-twitch fibres, compared to activities like jogging where it is the slow twitch fibres which are most regularly engaged.

Soccer burns more calories because players are forced to constantly switch between their aerobic and anaerobic muscle pathways. It also helps build and maintain muscle mass!

Important Side Note: If you are a soccer beginner or amateur and would like to improve your soccer skills, then I strongly recommend to use soccer shoes with decent Quality  and reliable Grip to perform at the best of your abilities. You can have a quick look at these quality soccer cleats to get an idea!

How much weight does a soccer player lose?

Soccer is one of the most physically demanding of all sports, and, during a 90-minute match, the average player can burn between 1,500 to 2,000 calories, although, at the professional level, the figures are much greater – about, 3,400 calories on average.

Soccer players who train intensively two or three times a week can lose up to six pounds over a 12-week, although beyond a certain limit, it is best not to try to lose any more, but instead try to maintain current levels.

The reason for this is that players need a certain body mass index (BMI) if they are to maintain their power and performance levels. Excess weight loss can inhibit the ability to compete at the top level.

It should also be noted that some players can lose up to seven or eight pounds in hot or humid conditions due to dehydration. Normally a glass of water after the match will help restore the lost weight.

Does soccer burn more fat than jogging?

A Danish study from 2007 found that soccer players burn more fat than joggers.

They followed an amateur soccer team whose ages varied between 20 and 40 over a 3-month period, and subjected them to a variety of tests, such as blood pressure, percentage of fat, total muscle mass, and general fitness levels.

In addition, they performed the same tests on a group of joggers, as well as on a passive control group.

The results showed, that training two or three times a week for an hour saw all the soccer players experience substantial health benefits, including an increase in muscle mass, a fall in blood pressure levels, and a significant increase in overall fitness levels.

The joggers also trained the same amount each week, but their efforts produced nothing like the same effects experienced by the soccer players.

After 12 weeks the soccer layers had lost 3.5 kilos of fat and gained more than 2 kilos of extra muscle mass, compared to the joggers who had lost 2 kilos of fat and reported no gain in overall muscle mass.

One of the conclusions is that this is due to the nature of soccer itself – it contains a number of high intensity actions which keeps the pulse up. When somebody sprints, jumps, and tackles, they are using all the fibres in their muscles.

That is compared to jogging at a moderate pace, which only uses slow fibres.

Is soccer better than basketball for losing weight?

There are no scientific studies to determine if soccer is better than basketball for losing weight, or vice versa.

Both involve high intensity training involving running, jumping, passing and frequent changes of direction.

Ultimately it comes down to which one you enjoy the most.

Losing weight is not the main reason why anybody takes up a sport in the first place, but it is certainly a healthy – in all senses of the word – side benefit.

What is the best body type for soccer?

When it comes to recreational sport, soccer players come in all shapes and sizes.

However, at the higher levels of the game, soccer players tend to be lean and muscular, without being too thin or carrying too much muscle.

A survey conducted after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, found that nine out of ten players in the tournament had a body mass index (BMI) that fell within the normal range.

1% were deemed to be overweight and a further 1% too skinny. Goalkeepers tend to be more likely to be overweight than other positions probably by virtue of the fact that they are not continually in action, particularly if their team is dominating a game.

Another study by the University of Wolverhampton found that professional soccer players in the top six teams in the Premier League tend to be taller and leaner than those from less successful sides.

It is well worth mentioning, many coaches hate soccer players who are overweight! That’s a good reason for you or any other player to not be overweight …

What is the best diet for a soccer player?

The recommended intake of calories for a soccer player is 22 – 24 calories per pound of weight, which equates to be between 3,500 and 4,5000 calories a day for the average player.

There are three main sources of calories – proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – and there is a long list of what foods should be selected from each type, and others which should be avoided.

Here are some suggested types of each.

1. Proteins

Animal Meat – Animal meat is a major source of protein, but make sure that it is a lean cut, and, where possible, should organically reared, or free range.

Fish – Most fish is rich in protein, and tuna and sea foods like shrimp are highly recommended.

Eggs – Not only are they full of protein, but they are cheap as well.

2. Carbohydrates

Plants – You cannot never eat too many vegetables because they are usually full of nutrients. However, they have a low calorific value, so large quantities may have to be consumed to get maximum benefit.

Fruits – nearly all fruit is packed with nutrients and fibre, and they are generally good for your body.

White Rice – this helps restore glycogen storage levels, and does not have the same harmful effects as brown rice.

3. Fats

Fats are required to help the body perform at is optimum. There are both good and bad fats though. Examples of good fats are:

Monounsaturated fats – typically found in high fat foods like avocados, as well as nuts like almonds and walnuts. Olive oil is another common source of such fats;

Polyunsaturated fats – these contain Omega 3 and Omega 5 fats, and can be found in foods like salmon, fish oil and sunflower seeds;

Saturated fats – although often blamed for the obesity crisis, research has shown that the blame for this lies elsewhere in the diet of most people, and that they are actually a good source of calories for most athletes.

How much do footballers weigh?

The target weight for a footballer is 106 pounds (48 kg) for the first 5 feet ((1.52) metres in height, and, after that, six pounds (2.7 kg) for every inch (2.5 cm) beyond that.

As with women, this can vary by plus or minus 10% depending on their build.

That means that a player who stands 5 feet 10 inches tall could weigh anywhere between 150 and 182 pounds.

It should be noted that many professional players are far more serious about their diet than they used to be and are aware of the need to eat right throughout the year.

The days of many of them reporting for pre-season training having gained 15 or 20 pounds during the summer are over for the most part!

What is the average weight for a female soccer player?

Sports scientists advocate that, as a rough guide, female players should aim to weigh 100 pounds (~45 kg) for the first 5 feet (1.52 metres) in height, and five pounds (2.3 kg) for every inch (2.5 cm) thereafter.

10% could be subtracted or added to this baseline depending on whether they have a petite or more muscular frame.

That means a player who is 5 foot six inches tall could weigh anywhere between 117 and 143 pounds.

Women do not want to go below these levels. In the first place, soccer is a game of speed, power, and endurance, and being too light not only affects performance but also increases the risk of injury.

In addition, excessive weight loss can affect the menstrual cycle. This can lead to long-term health risks and make it more difficult for those who want to get pregnant at some later stage.

Why most soccer players gain weight after retirement?

Most soccer players gain weight after retirement for the same reason as the rest of us – too much food and not enough exercise!

Sports nutritionists say that active players need more calories than they get, but, when they retire, the balance tips the other way.

It also means that whilst they could burn off fatty foods and alcohol during their playing days, once they have hung up their boots, they go straight to their waistline.

Maradona is a prime example!

Once he retired at the age of 37, he piled on the pounds to the extent that he became so overweight that his life was threatened, and he needed a gastric by-pass operation.

And then there is World Cup winner and former World Player of the Year Ronaldo who has become a walking advert for the fuller figure, and few now can believe he was once the best soccer player of his generation.

Few, though, have put on so much timber as Neil “Razor” Ruddock. The former West Ham and Liverpool player was 196 pounds at the peak of his career but topped 322 pounds when he appeared in a TV show last year.

Other soccer health Benefits …

Apart from aiding weight loss, there are a number of other health benefits associated with playing soccer.

These include:

Improved cardiovascular health – the average 90-minute game is equivalent to running five or six miles and improves cardiovascular health, helping protect somebody from heart diseases like strokes and cardiac arrests;

Increased stamina and endurance – soccer has been proved as an excellent way to help build up your physical stamina and endurance;

Enhanced bone density – as people get older, their bone density begins to diminish, making them increasingly at risk of diseases like osteoporosis. Soccer delays this process by increasing bone strength;

Increased aerobic capacity – given the amount of running and changes of direction involved in the average soccer match, the aerobic capacity of most players – the amount of time before they need to catch their breath – should improve considerably. This helps prevent fatigue;

Improved reflexes – soccer players are required to have good reflexes on the pitch, and the way that games unfold helps to hone them further;

Mental benefits – in addition to the physical gains from playing soccer, there are a host of mental benefits as well, including increased confidence and self-esteem, a reduction in anxiety levels, and a reduction in the stress you may be feeling.

Final Thoughts …

This is a very important article because it is a different look about soccer! In other words, this sport advocates often love it because of subjective reasons (Find it Fun, Are fans of particular soccer team, just enjoy watching …) …

… However, this article gives a more in-depth and objective point of view about the sport as a way to acquire a ton of health benefits including losing weight!

Finally, I highly invite you to learn about those 2 important topics that are perfectly related to weight loss in soccer:

Claressa Cormier

Claressa Cormier has over 15 years of soccer experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest soccer teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right foot.

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