Why Many Athletes Gain Weight After They Stop Competing

After athletic retirement, an athlete’s entire life will change. The transition can be scary, freeing, or something in between. Each athlete’s transition will be differentand the three reasons below attribute to weight gain post athletics.



1) Structure Vanishes 


Workouts and nutrition are now optional, no longer a requirement. A daily schedule that was once planned by a coach, trainer, or even teammates, will vanish. Many athlete’s find this freedom to be liberating and it’s healthy to take a break. Sometimes, this break period can manifest into a daily routine and can be a hard hole to dig out of.

2) Activity Level Plummets 

After retirement, an athlete will often workout 3-4 hours less per day. The intensity level is typically far lower than it once was. Even those who workout everyday, won’t need the same amount of calories as when they were competing, besides those training for a marathon or other vigorous activities.

3) Loss of Identity/Motivation 

Most retiring athletes may go through a period (at some point) of sadness, lack of motivation, or loss of identity. During competition, an athlete is not only a identity, but it also acts as a career, and a social life. Without athletics, many are faced with the question of "who am I?" Without the identity of being a high level athlete... there can be a lack of purpose or reason to workout. It is common that athletes boycott workouts for this reason. Many times “being healthy” isn’t enough of a motivator.




As an athlete going through this change, know that you are not in it alone and there is an entire community that are or have experienced the same hardships. Read other athletes stories here. As athletes we are all experts in “how to train when you are competing”... but everything changes when you are no longer in the sport. So how do you stay in shape after you retire from high level athletics? We asked retired athletes and nutritionists…. Here is what they said

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