Like any project or managed tasks, one can apply tactics to ensure success or mitigate failure and weight management is no exception. In a recent article at ScienceDaily.com, the author (Joanna Ladzinski) of the study has shown that “Whether you lose or gain weight depends on weekdays”. The author is referring to weight loss cycles and the contributors to the study were looking into the impact that the seven-days-a-week human cycle has on weight.
I found this very interesting as I have often wondered myself about the cycle of weight loss. While the study does a very good job covering the facts of a weight loss cycle, unfortunately, this is not an athletic study. “Eighty adults participated in the study, ranging in age from 25 to 62 years old. These individuals were categorized according to relative weight changes: weight losers (-3% weight loss), weight gainers (+1% weight gain), and weight maintainers (-3% to 1% weight change).”
The studies contributors discovered that: “The results revealed a clear pattern in weekly weight fluctuation with higher weight after weekends (Sunday and Monday) and decreasing weight during the weekdays reaching the lowest point on Friday.”
While I see similar cycles with my weekly weight and those that I coach there is, however, a big difference between elite and developmental athletes compared to those who participated in this study. I often find that the athletes I work with will see weight loss begin on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and continue through the weekend. Sunday is often the biggest weight loss day for those in Off Season training. Athletes in the middle of race season or their event seasons often still have the same cycle but weight loss is often less than during the latter part of the base and build training programs. The reason for this is typically the decline in training volume and the increase in Carbohydrate consumption pre, inter and post race/event/training.
The reason I see more weight loss over the weekends than during the week is simple. More training. Modern athletes with full-time jobs and family responsibilities will use the weekends to log more time on their bikes, runs, and swims than during the work week.
I will say that Monday almost always sees an increase in weight. I believe this is explained by sweat rates in athletes and later day compensation. I find that when an endurance athlete has trained mostly low volume and high intensity during the week then switches to longer steadier riding or running more sweating will occur on Saturday and Sunday. So most of the weight loss I see over a weekend is attributed to dehydration. I also find athletes will consume a bit more food and fluids on Sunday eve. Then they will wake up on Monday weigh in and have the shock of gaining several pounds back. While not understanding that much of the weight lost is water not fat. if the athlete doesn’t see the weight start to come back off by Tuesday I will usually hear about it.
It’s studies like these that help those of us in fitness and health professions help our athletes learn more and understand what to expect when the unexpected occurs.
Until Next Time,
Train Smarter Not Harder