Players to consider Muscle & Fat Mass

Players and Atheletes while building their bodies must consider both ideal weight for height as well as body composition. The body is mainly composed of muscle mass and fat mass, besides bone and fluid. The bone and fluid are usually a constant of about 30% when growth stops after 15-18 years of age. The ideal fat mass for a player - girls 15-18%. Women (above 18 years) 18-20%. Boys 12-15%. Men (above 18 years) 15-18%.

If the fat is 15%, the muscle mass will be 55%. The fat mass to muscle mass is a proportion so if the fat mass in your body goes up proportionately the muscle mass will go down. As a Sports Nutritionist to the National Cricket Academy for the last 4 years we have observed that a players performance depends tremendously on her/his muscle and fat mass. You need energy to play from two sources. Fat provides energy which is released slowly and this enables you to stand on a court or play on a ground for hours together. The energy supplied for quick movements like hitting a ball, shuttle, sprinting, bowling, fielding, etc., come from energy stored in muscles as glycogen or stored glucose which is released in seconds. So if one players has a 55% muscle mass and another a 50% muscle mass the 55% player has a greater glucose storage capacity and therefore he may out beat the 50% muscle mass persons performance. The 50% muscle person will be having a 20% fat mass so he should reduce this to a 15% fat mass so that his muscle mass will come up to 55%. This can be done by strictly cutting down fatty food intake and eating balanced meals. In a month you can reduce the fat % in your body by about 3% if you make a promise to yourself not to touch the following foods for 30 days.

Fatty Food –

  1. Cream of milk - remove all cream from milk or use skimmed milk.
  2. Butter, ghee, mayonnaise.
  3. Fried food – wafers, finger chips, mixture, samosa, vada and all other fried snacks papad and pickle.
  4. Nuts – cashew, badam, peanuts, pista etc. and coconut chutney.
  5. Sweets – chocolate, icecream, mittai and deserts.
  6. Bakery items – pastries, puffs, pizzas
  7. Red Meat – mutton, beef, pork, liver, brain etc.
  8. Aerated drinks and alcohol.

As you reduce fat you must also build and preserve muscle. The second principle is to eat regular balanced meals with sufficient carbohydrate and protein combined. You have to make a commitment never to skip a meal. When you skip a meal or have only a plate of fruit, only a glass of milk or only a bowl of soup or salad or a sandwich for a meal then you may lose some fat but more serious damage takes place i.e. you break down and destroys precious muscle cells. The body requires a regular supply of carbohydrate and atleast 60-80gms protein daily. When you miss a meal the body pulls this out from your muscle mass.If you are in and un avoidable situation and you do eat some fatty food just forget about it and be strict there after. At no cost should you try to compensate by skipping a meal. This is a golden rule and commitment every sports person must make for a healthy body composition. Never skip a meal and always see that the meal is balanced with carbohydrate – bread, rice, chapatti etc. plus protein – dhal, pulse, milk, curd, egg, fish, chicken etc.