Is tennis a good way to burn fat?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by a529612, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. a529612

    a529612 Semi-Pro

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    I play tennis 2 hours a day but I noticed my waistline hasn't changed much. Is tennis (match playing) not a good way to burn fat?
     
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  2. goober

    goober Legend

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    Well it depends how intense you are playing. At a high intensity singles match you can probably burn a lot ~400 cal/hr. If you are playing a leisurely game of doubles you may not burn that much at all ~100 cal/hr.

    But this has nothing to do with your waistline and weight. If you are not burning more calories than you consume, playing tennis 6 hours a day is not going to affect your weight.
     
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  3. BSousa

    BSousa Rookie

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    Tennis is mostly a run-stop-run activity, making it mostly an anaerobic acitvity (without oxigen). This, according to fat loss circles, burns more muscle than fat.

    Also, don't mind cal spent much during acitivties but mroe on the effect through out the day. For example, morning cardio is good because it raises your metabolism throughtout the entire day (thus, spending more calories by doing the same thing as with normal metabolism). I think this is where tennis shines the most. According to many research, HIIT (high intensity interval training) raises metabolism throught out the day more than normal slow cardio. I consider tennis to be a HIIT activity, just as long as you don't sit or stand around between points. I tend to walk directly to the my position, and if adversary is taking some time, I just do small jumps to keep my body high.

    a529612: if you are serious about fat loss, check out : http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/ They have fantastic advice there from folks that came from all sort of background (fat, slim, atheletic, sedentary). Really good source of knowledge and encouragment. Lost 7 pounds (around 5.5 fat) by following some simple advice from the members there.

    Bruno
     
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  4. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Goober is correct, if you take in more calories than you burn, you're gonna gain weight. Playing tennis and eating more won't help, but playing tennis and eating less definitely will.
     
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  5. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Jogging 3 miles or so will burn fat, but tennis is not a major fat burner since it is anaerobic in nature and doesn't keep your heart pumping at an elevated level for a lengthy amount of time.

    When I first started playing tennis, I did not lose weight. But then I started running more and eating less sugary foods and drink and then the weight came off.
     
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  6. fjgarciap

    fjgarciap Rookie

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    - Play tennis intensely at least three times a week (singles matches would be ok but better drilling activities that keep you on the go, ask your tennis pro). Better if you do this first thing in the morning, I play 6 to 7am.
    - Exchange sugared drinks with fruit juices.
    - Totally suppress chocolates, mayonnaise, white bread and all sort of fat foods (fries, snacks), sauces and candies.
    - Exchange cow and pork meat with turkey, fish and chicken.
    - Eat as much vegetables and fruits as you wish (spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, oranges, apples). Keep fruits near you all the time.

    Works for me.
     
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  7. perfmode

    perfmode Hall of Fame

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    I lost like 5# in a match earlier this year. I was on court trying to play at 100% for 2.5hrs. It killed me and I wanted to pass out after I lost.
     
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  8. RickN

    RickN Rookie

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    You lost 5lbs of sweat, not fat.
     
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  9. perfmode

    perfmode Hall of Fame

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    I didn't say I lost fat. I said I lost 5#.
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Dude, this post is about losing fat. I lost 15 pounds in one weekend of tennis last summer but it was mostly water loss, followed by muscle loss and finally some fat loss. Tennis helps one to stay healthy but it's not the best way to lose fat, but it is a more fun way to do it.
     
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  11. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

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    Read "Fit of Fat" by Covert Bailey. Short book, easy to read, helps you understand how activities and behaviors affect your body/weight/fitness, and what to do to get in shape. No BS, no "hollywood," makes it easy to understand the what's and why's and how to take action. What floats your boat may be different, but it's the best book on fitness that I've read.

    And...others are correct, tennis is not aerobic enough to be the core of a weight loss program.

    But...I love tennis when I play well, and of course I can't play well if I'm not fit. So tennis has become the most effective motivation for exercising and eating right. I tell my wife that it's so we'll grow old together, but it's really so I can beat the @%!$& out of that snotty 30-something year old at our club.... <evil grin>
     
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  12. gmlasam

    gmlasam Hall of Fame

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    Goober and Rickson are right on the money. Weight gain and weight loss depends on how much calories you you consume and how much you expend. You can do all these fancy exercise and run the Boston marathon, but if you take in more calories than what you burn, you will not loss weight/fat. Infact, you will even gain weight/fat. Simple as that, no ifs and buts about it. That's the bottom line.
     
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  13. VashTheStampede

    VashTheStampede Semi-Pro

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    Why would playing tennis result in a loss of muscle?
     
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  14. Smashlob

    Smashlob Rookie

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    Don't let these people completely deter you, playing tennis is much better for your waistline than sitting on your ass in front of the television.
     
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  15. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

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    Raising your metabolism is a good point.
     
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  16. paulfreda

    paulfreda Hall of Fame

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    Covert Bailey

    I 2nd the Covert Bailey recommendation.
    He is an ace, an MD, and gives great advice.
    Fit or Fat is his best book.
    I recall one thing he said ..... running for sustained
    periods is the best way to quickly lose weight.
    Think of any animal that runs alot and you will see
    they are always either skinny or have very little fat .....
    fox, cheetah, deer, horse, etc.

    Tennis is mostly start and stop running, not sustained
    so the anaerobic nature is not ideal, but as others have
    said, it is much better than watching tv and a morning
    hit or match will raise your metabolism for much of the
    remaining day.

    ""You stay in shape to play tennis, not play tennis to stay
    in shape.""
     
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  17. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    Get a heart monitor and find out how little your heart rate stays in an aerobic state. Only when I use a ball machine does my heart rate stay near 130 beats per second. And you still have to pickup the balls. If you cut 30 minutes from your tennis and used it for aerobic exercise, you may cut more fat.
     
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  18. Marius_Hancu

    Marius_Hancu G.O.A.T.

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    Getting a HRM is a great advice. This is the only way I found to check my cardio and quantify it.

    He might want to check:
    http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/fatburn.htm
    on appropriate training zones for burning fat

    He might also want to check
    Great Fitness Sites
    here:
    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/viewtopic.php?t=23127
     
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  19. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Re: Covert Bailey

    Very good advice in paulfreda's post. I also live by the above quote. To really enjoy your passions you cant tire out or get beat by conditioning ! Jumping rope is another excellent exercise for tennis. Try to run and jump on softer surfaces so you dont injure your joints for you passions. I like running on dirt trails and jumping rope on wood. Grass is also great for running on and it also stenghtens your ankles, just need to really watch the terrain so you dont twist your ankle.
     
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  20. d-quik

    d-quik Rookie

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    a beautiful quote man where did you find it?
     
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  21. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    I don't think tennis is the best way to lose fat, but it is preposterous to suggest that someone needs aerobic exercise to burn fat.

    When I ran track, the sprinters were almost always lower body fat than the distance runners and we weren't doing any aerobic exercise. Of course, there's a self-selection problem with sprinters, but the evidence still shows you can get to a very low body fat by doing brief but intense anaerobic exercise.
     
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  22. shintan17

    shintan17 Semi-Pro

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    I've lost about 20 lbs since I started playing tennis frequently (at least 4 days a week for 2 hours) 3 years ago. I usually play only singles, so I burn more calories that way. I also stopped drinking sodas and eating late. That definitely helped.

    I used to have high bloodpressure too, but now is almost down to normal.
     
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  23. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Professional

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    When I started playing seriously my weight has gone steadily up. No, I'm not trying to make a correlation that playing tennis makes you gain weight :) In fact, I used to play 2 hrs a day + 1 hr of lifting weights... the problem is I'd stuff my face with junk food thinking that "I'm exercising so this won't affect me". Well 7 years later (exercising at least 1.5 hrs a day), I gained 50+ lbs. The only thing that has allowed me to lose those 50+ lbs in the last 2 years was changing my eating habits.

    The biggest thing I've learned in my yoyo weight experience is that fat loss is 70% diet, and exercise is 30% - so basically, unless you're burning 10k cals a day exercising like Phelps (or any other Olympic athlete), you really need to stop working the biceps by doing food curls.

    While I know this thread is about fat... after I reached my "fighting weight", and started playing more tourneys etc, I realized that playing tennis (for me) does not get me in shape. I play 4-5x a week for 1.5-2 hrs, but I also need to supplement my fitness/speed training by running 2-5miles 3x a week (for time), as well as sprint days (for time) 2x a week.
     
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  24. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i remember some time back this summer, pam shriver asked dinara safina how she had managed to lose weight and get in shape and safina said she did it by running -- thus playing tennis does not help you to get in shape even when you are a top ranked tennis pro.
     
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  25. samster

    samster Legend

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    There are some elite pushers out there I am sure who can give you a run for your money. (Speaking from experience)
     
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  26. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    I have to disagree with many of the posters here. Or maybe I just play more intensely then all of them ... but I highly doubt that. Tennis is a great way to burn calories. It's also highly enjoyable so the time just flies by. You can easily burn 1000 calories in a 2 hour singles match, or 2 hours training with a ball machine. Do this 3-4 times a week and, all else being equal, you will lose about 1 lb of fat per week. End of story.
     
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  27. CHOcobo

    CHOcobo Professional

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    match playing, i wouldn't say it's a good fat burner. if you really wanna burn fat with tennis play against a wall. you swing more and you move more.
     
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  28. dmtree

    dmtree Rookie

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    i've been losing weight since i took up tennis again - probably lost about 10 pounds in 6 weeks. i eat relatively well (no junk food), about the same amount of calories as before, but instead of just sitting on my ass working (and reading various forums), i play for 2 hours about 4 days a week. i also try to run about 3/4 mile at least 2-3 times a week, planning on doing 1 mile every day once the weather starts getting too crappy for tennis.

    best thing is, i'm in better shape now than many of the skinny guys I play with.. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2008
    #28
  29. blue12

    blue12 Rookie

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    Cycling is a great way to burn fat.
    A stationary bike or spin bike is also a great way to warm up and you don't get the pounding on your joints.
    Tennis offers enough joint pounding already!
    I agree with ronaldo about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.
     
    #29
  30. blue12

    blue12 Rookie

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    Yeah ignoring your fitness and just playing tennis is a great way to not get much better!
     
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  31. 0range

    0range Hall of Fame

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    Agreed.

    I'd just like to say, that if I play tennis intensely (which I often do... 3 times a week) and I don't eat enough, my performance suffers.

    So it's really chosing one over the other: play better tennis/win matches, or lose weight.
     
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  32. wyutani

    wyutani Hall of Fame

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    squash is a good game to burn fat compared to tennis. believe it!
     
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  33. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that squash, like badminton, is more intense -- more calories burned per hour than tennis. But then tennis matches tend to be much longer in duration than badminton or squash matches.
     
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  34. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i remember seeing a number of overweight players on the wta tour at this year's Australian Open on TV :)
     
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  35. goober

    goober Legend

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    Not really-

    On days you don't play tennis what are you doing? You should be working out with weights/cardio. That's 3-4 days of exercise which you can tailor to specifically lose weight instead of tennis which is not optimal for weight loss.

    The second thing you have to look at is what are you eating. Anything with high sugar content or high fat content are not good use of calories. Basically don't eat chips, soda, cookies/candy, hamburgers and pretty much most fast foods. Most people with the typical western diet can easily lower the calories in their diet and still have the proper nutrition requirements to function at a high level.
     
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  36. sn1974

    sn1974 Rookie

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    i recently wore my fiance's heart rate monitor/GPS to see how much of a workout i got playing tennis.

    i used it for a two hour lesson, which included a little warm up, lots of horrendous footwork practice and 30 minutes of play (with fiance).

    two things really surprised me:

    1. despite feeling very winded at times, my heart rate did not go over 140 bpm. even that was very, very rare, and while i was playing i don't think it even got higher than 120 bpm. when i'm running at a moderate (comfortable) pace, it's easily at 140 bpm. when i'm running faster, i can get it to 170 bpm.

    2. i covered a lot of ground! according to the GPS, i covered a couple of miles in two hours. much more than i thought considering how small a tennis court is.
     
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