Why can athletes eat so much?
Asked by on Dec 11, 2009
It seems like athletes eat a lot, but you can see many of them are in good shape. Is that because they burn more calories than they eat with their training? Is that why they don't add fat? If that's the case, and their bodies are always, or mostly, in a calorie-deficit mode, how can they continue to build muscle? Can you burn fat and build muscle at the same time?
Athletes need adequate calories to offset those they burn in training and competition. They eat to either maintain their body mass or gain muscle, as well as to offset fatigue, enhance energy-generating metabolic pathways, increase oxygen transport, and to recover rapidly between exercise sessions. Athletes are not in the calorie-deficit mode because they eat as much, or more, than they burn. They do burn stored carbohydrate, fat and muscle protein during exercise, but they replace it immediately afterward with a meal.