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Organized Sport and Weight Gain

Posted: Jul 15, 2015

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Organized Sport and Weight Gain

Summer is here(hooray!), and that means more outdoor/organized sports, longer days, more time in the sun, and weight gain? That last item is not often associated with summer or organized sports. But organized sport and nice weather often mean socializing after the game, which is a great reason to join, but the unfortunate part is how often  and where it happens.

As an example - I play organized sport on three nights during the summer work week. After almost every one of those games I have the opportunity to join the team for a drink or food at the nearest pub, which I do from time to time. When I do go I usually stick with a one beer and that’s it policy. Why? Let’s break down the numbers.

An average competitive game of: (all most likely overestimated)

  • Baseball -         ~ 200 calories burned - estimated making play or at bat for ~30 min.
  • Ultimate Frisbee -     ~ 400 calories burned - estimated that on field playing for ~45 min.
  • Soccer -        ~ 700 calories burned - estimated that on field playing for ~60 min.

The average calories in few classic pub items:

Standard 16oz pint of beer ~ 200 calories.

½ pound of chicken wings ~ 500 calories

½ plate of nachos ~ 600 calories

You don’t have to crunch the numbers to figure out where this is going, but using a more extreme scenario:

One game of Ultimate Frisbee      - 400 calories

One pound of wings and a pint     + 1200 calories

Calorie surplus             ~ +800 calories

For individual calorie balance you would have to consider much more than just what is detailed here, but let’s just assume that for most folks these calories would be in addition to their regular day to day routine diet.

I don’t recommend comparing calories in to calories out because it gives the impression that we should exercise to eat more or lose weight. However, using it as an example certainly drives home why “calories in” always wins.  

That said, exercise for health not for weight loss.

Rob Lazzinnaro, RD