Last Updated on June 14, 2023 by Joan Hahn
Professional tennis players are at the peak of their physical fitness, able to reach intense levels of activity for hours on end, putting their bodies through severe punishment. Take the case of Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, whose US Open encounter in 2022 ran for more than five hours. Both players are finely honed athletes with little body fat.
The same will not go for tennis beginners, and that’s fine. You might have decided to take up tennis as a social activity, playing doubles with another couple. You might want a pastime to get you out of the house and have dusted off your racquet from high school. Whatever reason an amateur returns to tennis, nobody would expect you to be in peak physical condition.
Indeed, you might be carrying a few extra pounds, eager to understand what weight you should be and how you can get there to improve your tennis. This guide will help you on your journey to get fit for tennis.
Can Overweight People Play Tennis?
The answer to this is yes, overweight people can play, although it will affect the quality of their tennis. Anyone can play tennis, and being larger than you feel you should be isn’t an excluder. You may be playing tennis to lose some weight, so it stands to reason you’ll be overweight when you start.
The key here is not to feel being overweight stops you from picking up your racquet – it doesn’t. No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t have a body like Carlos Alcaraz or Iga Swiatek.
How Can You Lose Weight For Tennis?
You can lose weight for tennis in many ways, and it is essential not to create barriers. For instance, the correlation between weight and fitness might not be as obvious as you think – people can be classed as overweight in terms of their BMI but be healthy and active. You may also have a higher set point weight, which could make getting to a target difficult.
Set point weight is a belief that your body has a ‘preferred weight’ that it will fight to maintain, which means you may get to 90 kilos and be unable to shift more, no matter how hard you try. This shouldn’t be a barrier, nor should BMI or any other obstacles you might face.
The key to all weight loss is in the kitchen, especially as this article assumes you’re already out on the tennis court getting exercise. Try not to indulge in a fad diet, especially not when you’re also putting in the effort on the court. Often, they exclude key food groups, which could lead to deficiencies in certain areas. Instead, seek to amend your diet to be balanced, with a good spread of foods you enjoy and a wide range of nutrients.
One recommendation is to try to cut out sugary foods and saturated fats. Then consider your diet and make substitutions, such as skimmed milk for full-fat, sugar-free drinks instead of carbonated and low-fat cheese. Also, seek to reduce portion size, as eating when full is a way to pile on extra calories.
Remember, before you play tennis, it is important to ensure you have the energy for the game, and when you come off the court, a meal is recommended to aid recovery. Try to use fruits, bananas are great for energy before a game, and afterward, dishes including fish and chicken are good for recovery. But what are the best supplements that are good for tennis players?
You’re already serving aces and staying active on the court, but if you want to shift extra pounds, make such you’re active in other areas. Little changes can go a long way – have a step counteractive on a smartwatch and try to hit 10,000 a day, even if that is a gentle jog around the block at night.
Perhaps short cycle journeys, rather than taking the car, and even park your car further away from work or the shops if you nip out. Being on the court ensures you’re moving in the right direction, but any additional activity will burn calories and help you toward your goal.
Check out these drills to improve your footwork in tennis here.
Tennis is for everyone, all skill levels and body shapes. It is fun, challenging, and a great way to stay fit. If you want to be a bit better and move a few pounds, these simple steps have helped.