I have recently been on a mission to lose weight and have successfully managed to lose 20 kgs in 4 and a half months via circuit training thrice a week and 8K runs twice a week. I have gone down from 105 kgs to 85 kgs. I have recently started playing tennis again, which I used to do years ago before I was unfit. I have started noticing that along with my diet, in which I try to contain my calorie intake to under 1700 cals per day, I am starting to feel extremely light headed and very fatigued during tennis games. I understand that compared to my normal workout in the last four months ( 45 minute circuit training or an 8K run which lasts the same amount of time ), my tennis games can last anywhere between 1.5 hours to 3 hours. I seem to notice an above normal reduction in weight since I started playing tennis ( 1.5 kgs in a week over the past couple of weeks). I am worried that I am burning more muscle now that fat and was wondering what is the best way to ensure that I can continue to play tennis while maintaining the same weight loss rate. Would I need to ensure a slightly higher calorie consumption on days that I play tennis. Today, I have just had 160g of ice cream which constitute around 400 to 600 calories one hour before a game and feel extremely guilty about doing so as I normally have tried to stay away from sweets/high cal foods). Any advice is greatly appreciated.

3 Answers 3


You should eat a normal diet with a normal amount of calories. The weight loss toward an ideal weight should come from gains in physical fitness. Suppose in the future you weigh 70 kg, you are eating 2500 Kcal/day and you are physically very fit. If you then have equilibrium between consumed energy and energy expenditure at 2500 Kcal/day, then why can't such an equilibrium be reached now? So, clearly, you should be able to eat a lot more and yet stay at your present way or even lose some weight.

  • lblis - Thank you for your reply, does this higher intake come mainly from carbs in order to fuel the body or am I supposed to be eating more protein prior to a heavy workout in order to prevent losing muscle mass but still keep carb intake low, apologies if there is any confusion in my question, I think of myself as being relatively new to following a strict diet and have been experimenting my way to what I would consider good for my body.
    – k9ty
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 20:39
  • If you do a lot of cardio work, you need to eat a lot of carbs. Proetein is also important, of course, but you cannot ignore the carbs. There may be a cultural issue here, in the US the low carb diet is popular. When I visited the US a few years ago, I had to order more potatoes and then even more. The waiter (who was quite obese) told me: "so many potatoes, that's not healthy!". I usually eat between 3500 and 4000 kcal per day, I weigh 57 kg and I get about 2000 kcal from carbs (whole grain bread, brown rice etc., just consider the nutrients in 2000 kcal worth of this). Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 20:49
  • Agreed. Make sure carbs are healthy and good quality. Wholemeal rice, pasta and bread will keep you going for longer. You don't need to feel guilty about the ice-cream, as you are burning the calories, but I wouldn't suggest the calories from ice-cream being the best way to fuel a game of tennis, and the fat from it isn't good for your arteries Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 18:40
  • Thanks a lot for the feedback guys, i cannot upvote due to lack of reputation thus far :) Really appreciate the input.
    – k9ty
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 22:01

You don't want too large of a calorie deficit, especially for intense cardio training. I don't know about tennis, but for long distance running, you want a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates before a long workout. Avoid too much fiber. Refuel afterwards with protein-carb ratio (chocolate milk is the standard example).


You have mentioned that your games last anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours. During such long games, it is not enough to hydrate yourself with water... You need to replenish the electrolytes that your body needs to go on, thus explaining the light headed feeling. I would recommend gatorade for such intense matches.

Pre-workout food must be eaten atleast before 45 minutes to your workout. And should be something that digests quickly like simple carbs. Dont over eat and keep in mind that your body has glycogen stored before any Pre-workout snack. Post-workout recovery is the most important aspect for you to perform so have some protein and carb rich food in 30 minutes after workout. And dont compromise on the hydration. Drink gatorade or orange juice(natural source of electrolytes). Best if luck and keep training!

  • Do you have a source that backs up the electrolyte causing dizziness claim?
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 2:26
  • Sure, Check this link: medicinenet.com/dehydration/article.htm Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 4:41
  • Dehydration causes dizziness, and this has been known for decades. That has nothing to do with the level of electrolytes.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:24
  • Once the body is dehydrated, the important electrolytes are lost... So water will just go through you. The body requires electrolytes to mantain the hydration. So symptoms from dehydration can be avoided with proper electrolyte replenishment. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:30
  • You're extrapolating. And badly at that.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:35

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