Do i not lose weight playing tennis because i enjoy it?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by ttwarrior1, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

    Apr 18, 2005
    Heck sometimes i even feel bloated after playing. Someone told me its because sprinting doesn't do much for weight loss and tennis is intense kind of like weightlifting with short bursts of energy. Ive played about 50 hours of tennis in the last month in 90-100 degree weather and im 5 pounds heavier with a good diet.
  2. arnz

    arnz Professional

    Nov 20, 2005
    Are you seriously trying to lose weight or just wondering why you gained weight after all that tennis?

    You could theroretically run or do aerobics all day long and still gain weight if your calorie consumption was in excess of your caloric needs. I would suggest keeping a track of how many calories you consume daily.

    It is possible that you gained 5 pounds of muscle from the short burst sprinting that tennis requires, but I doubt it.
  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Jun 22, 2007
    The person who doesn't think sprinting does much for weight loss doesn't know what he is talking about. In my experience, serious sprinting will cause a loss of weight it much less time spent exercising as compared to jogging. You need to jog for an hour to match an intense sprinting interval workout in terms of potential weight loss. This is because sprinting targets the fast twitch muscle fibers and leads to greater muscularity, which means more calories expended during rest.

    The problem with tennis is that many people don't play intensely enough to get much of a workout.

    My guess is that you're gaining weight because you're consuming more food.
  4. lkdog

    lkdog Rookie

    Jun 5, 2005

    What level do you play?
    Yes, tennis is more anaerobic than aerobic, but both still burn calories.
    Your heart rate is elevated higher in tennis at different times due to long points and sprints than if you just are out jogging on flat terrain at 10-11 minute miles. It is a misconception that intervals do not burn calories like lower intensity exercise. Ever see a fat guy on the tour?

    You are claiming you have played 50 hours in last 30 days.
    Let's say you played 25 times for 2 hours in this heat or 6 days/week for the last 4 weeks.
    That is a lot of exercise if it is fairly intense (your heart rate is between 70-90% of your max HR).

    My only thoughts are that you could possibly be not playing at a very intense level and your heart rate is below 70% (I don't think this is case) or your diet is pretty high calorie still (which is OK if you are working out two hours a day).

    Assuming you are a decent player (3.5+) my guess is your diet needs a little adjustment if you wish to lose weight rather than just maintain.

    How are things like alcohol and simple carbs?
  5. krz

    krz Professional

    May 23, 2007
    Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made
    If you play hard you should lose weight.

    For fat loss interval training(e.g. Run then walk, Run then walk) is usually recommended over long distance running. Tennis is more like interval training than long distance running.

    btw your friend is wrong about weight lifting. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.

    Long distance running can burn muscle.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2007
  6. shutupova

    shutupova Guest

    sprinting doesn't do much for weight loss???

    dude, scientifically it has been firmly established that high intensity workout
    (such as interval running or sprinting) does much more for weight loss.
    i myself benefitted from this.
  7. herosol

    herosol Professional

    May 29, 2007
    right. i have almost opposite effects.

    anyways. chase the ball. you never enjoy this sport without having the love for the chase.

    atleast, thats my love.
  8. MacKenzie

    MacKenzie Guest

    I don't know if the weight will come off; but you'll look healthier and fitter I think.

    Playing keeps me feeling young and I act younger than I am thanks to tennis.
  9. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

    Apr 30, 2004
    Playing tennis is not really a good way to lose weight, unless you are obese in which case walking up a flight of stairs could help shed pounds. Try doing some mid-distance running, biking, or swimming if you're seriously about weight loss. Also, as others have stated, watch that calorie intake.

    People use the word sprinting, when discribing movement in tennis, but you're really only moving a few steps and the stopping. It's not really the same as running a few 100 meter dashes.
  10. paradise597

    paradise597 New User

    Sep 1, 2007
    my experience I gained weight during tennis season in high school team because I ended up eating more....

    but you know that tennis players do other workouts besides tennis right? That's why most pro tennis players are fit...just do cardio activites
  11. Commando Tennis Shorts

    Commando Tennis Shorts Hall of Fame

    Jul 17, 2007
    i never lose weight playing. i've been the exact same weight FOREVER---haha
  12. Amone

    Amone Hall of Fame

    Dec 29, 2005
    Detroit Area, MI
    I have repeatedly heard bodybuilders (the folks who burn off all their fat, not the ones who necessarily have huge muscles) refer to interval training-- sprinting then walking then sprinting etc.-- as a great excercise for burning fat. So...
  13. dave333

    dave333 Hall of Fame

    Aug 24, 2006
    Whats more effective: Sprint+run, or sprint+walk?

    I usualy do sprint+run and its absolute hell on my legs after a couple rounds.
  14. soggyramen

    soggyramen Professional

    Mar 23, 2007
    i'm sorry i have to comment on your avatar which looks like sharapova as a monkey lol maybe i'm the only one who sees it but hats off to you my friend hats off
  15. lkdog

    lkdog Rookie

    Jun 5, 2005
    The idea of interval training is to increase your overall fitness and ability to do more work longer near your lactic acid threshold (or anaerobic threshold which are typically very close).
    It does burn more calories in shorter workouts due to the increased intensity.
    It is painful as you are finding out.

    Do intervals of 30 seconds to a couple minutes.

    In answer to your question, you should run fairly fast for 220 yards or maybe even 440 yards which would be about 45 seconds (220's) to 90 seconds (440's). If you are just starting out it could take you 120 seconds to do a 440.

    Your heart rate should get between 85-92% of maximum. You may be quite fit and can do those distance intervals even faster, but those are pretty quick (6 minute mile paces).

    You then should walk or jog very slowly for 60 seconds to two minutes to get your heart rate down to 60-70%. Walking is best really. You need the recovery.

    Do 8 of these (about two+ miles of intervals if you do the 440's) and you will have a pretty tough 30+ minute workout.

    Don't do these two days in a row. Once a week is plenty if they are intense enough. 24 hour minimum rest and don't expect to play a real hard match the next day. Do longer less intense aerobic stuff on other days or play tennis (which is a ton of mini-intervals).

    The value of the interval training and better overall fitness on the court is simple-you recover quicker (heart rate reduces faster) between points and you can go hard longer.

    If you do not have a Heart rate monitor just use perceived effort (PE).
    Your target interval exertion level is hard effort where you are breathing through your mouth and your legs are starting to burn and you are starting to slow down (lactic and anaerobic thresholds).
    Your recovery level is then easy walking or jogging where you can talk and breathe through your nose and you feel ready for another one.

    Have fun. Really does improve fitness quickly if also doing other stuff regularly.
    Sorry for the long answer, but I do a lot of biking and running and this keeps it interesting.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
  16. Chauvalito

    Chauvalito Hall of Fame

    Nov 11, 2006
    According to tennis magazine, or it might have been runners world:

    An hour of intense tennis burns about 100 calories. Intense is the key word.
  17. indianpryd45

    indianpryd45 New User

    Jul 8, 2006
    theres a big difference beteween weight loss and fat loss. WEIGHT is a number, from my understanding. Fat loss is what really matters.
    what body type are you? just someone who naturally has a big frame, or has gone from being skinny to heavy, etc? Age also factors into this.

    i went from lard to hard in a year with Tennis, Cardio and Weightlifting.

    Sprinting does GREAT for cardio, but if you dont maintain it with Diet and Weights, it wont help.

    You say you have a great diet, what kind of foods are you eating?
    Diet is about 60% of this equation. It plays a big part in losing fat and weight. limiting Calorie intake is key(DO NOT starve yourself), and watch your carbs in the evening, eat carbs when you are most active. DO NOT starve yourself, lots of people do that and end up skinny/fat, i had that happen to me, not fun at all. Protein is something you want to get used to eating too, as it is a key factor in building muscle. Eat Healthy, wholesome foods, but dont make diet too complicated, that is a reason some people fail.

    Bottom Line, your goal is to burn more calories then you take in

    Cardio is 20% of this equation. Cardio burns calories
    Cardio stregthens your heart muscle, making it do less work to pump more blood.
    Cardio increases lung capacity. Get your heart rate up in the 140-160 range, or try something called HIIT cardio(google it)
    Cardio builds endurance. Enough Said.

    Weightlifting is the final 20% of this. It boosts your metabolism, builds your strength, and contributes just as much if not more than cardio to fatloss. It also builds muscle, which helps.

    If you weightlift and eat nutritious foods, and do cardio at 3-5 times a week, I bet that you will achieve your goal

    Also, you will probably go up on the scale, considering that muscle weighs more than fat.

    any more questions.. go to, those guys helped me get my body back into shape.

    let me know how your quest goes
  18. Narcissist

    Narcissist Semi-Pro

    Jul 25, 2006
    I'm pretty sure Bartoli, Serena, Capriati etc. play(ed) tennis many hours a day and they are not exactly trim...
  19. origmarm

    origmarm Hall of Fame

    Apr 25, 2007
    I was just thinking that!

  20. simi

    simi Hall of Fame

    Feb 23, 2004
    That's a crazy figure. According to, just talking on the telephone burns 96 calories. No way tennis doesn't burn more calories than chatting. Inputting 60 minutes for singles tennis yields 552 calories burned, for doubles, 384 calories.

    Walking at 2mph burns 252 calories, 3mph - 396 calories, and 4mph 468 calories. Even washing your car of an hour burns 408 calories.

    p.s. calories burned per activity is based on one's weight.

    You may want to check your source.
  21. lkdog

    lkdog Rookie

    Jun 5, 2005
    There is still a number of WTA players with periodic fitness/stamina issues.
    Used to be quite a not so quiet joke on tour until Martina N. changed the whole paradigm.
  22. SuperFrogFighter

    SuperFrogFighter New User

    Mar 11, 2007
    Some have already touched on this and others are completely misinformed......

    Sprinting is NOT a great way to lose weight. If weight loss , more specifically fat loss is your goal you should aim to maintain a heart rate of 70-80% of your maximum heart rate for an extended period of time. During this time you body is "comfortable" and is getting most of its energy from stored fat. If your body works harder then it starts to burn sugars and carbs instead of fat. Sprinting will cause you to sweat you will lose water weight. You can easily lose several pounds on a hot day but when you are rehydrated you will gain it back.

    Sprinting and weight training will build muscle mass. Muscle requires more energy than fat so throughout the day you will burn more calories doing your normal activities. The gain in calorie burn will not normally be enough to help you lose weight but it can be enough to help you stay tone.

    If you really want to lose weight count your calories, burn more than you eat and you will lose weight. Also after your match go jog a few miles at a comfortable pace. This way you would get the best of both worlds. You will develope stronger legs and strengthen your heart and lungs from sprinting during points and then you will burn fat from your extended aerobic exercise.

    One last thing, if you could do high intensity for an extended period that would be good to. Your body would burn all the carbs and sugar and then start burning fat at a higher rate when there was nothing else left. The problem with this is you would have to be a super athlete.
  23. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Jun 22, 2007
    I'm sorry that you're misinformed. Sprinting can best most endurance work because it is MUCH MORE intense. That means, per-unit of time of exercise, you are burning MANY more calories than doing some plodding jogging. Perhaps the ratio of fat-to-carbs being burned is higher in the jogging, but you are aren't burning that many calories to begin with and it takes a lot of time. Secondly, jogging is not nearly as good at building muscle mass and strength, which is useful in athletic performance, such as playing tennis. Marathoners have awesome endurance, but they tend to look like walking skeletons.

    A downside of jogging is that it makes you slower, which isn't ideal for tennis. The experimental studies show that jogging diminishes your vertical jump and sprinting ability. These days, sprinters lift weights and don't jog. Experimentally, intense interval work has been shown to give endurance benefits equal to long periods of time spent exercising at low intensity.
  24. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    Completely wrong.

    Walking one mile slowly, will burn almost 100 calories, and it only takes 20 minutes....think about it...

    Tennis is HIIT training, which will burn a much much larger number of calories. Not only get a greater afterburn and thermal effect long after you finish your workout.
  25. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    May 8, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    The reason the guy gained weight was due to only two factors...(likely factors)

    1. Too many calories during the period he measured.
    2. Could have changed to a higher carb diet and gained the difference in water retention. Like....if you eat a pizza and drink water one day, then next day you will wake up 3-6 lbs. heavier for no other reason than water.
  26. SuperFrogFighter

    SuperFrogFighter New User

    Mar 11, 2007
    Wild Volley

    How long can you run sprints? How long do you think the average man can? I would ventrure to say that most people would give up after maybe 100 yards.

    The average person would burn about 250 calories after 20 minutes of sprints. About 40% or 100 of those calories would be fat. The problem is I know plenty of people that can not sprint for 20 minutes.

    Simply walking for 20 minutes will burn about 100 calories. 65% or 65 of those calories will be fat. I know plenty of people who could go walk for an hour and burn more total calories and more fat calories. In fact after about 20minutes of exercise your body starts using as much as 75% fat.

    Muscle mass is great for a lot of sports....but not tennis. To much muscle mass inhibits your flexibility which is very important for tennis. The muscles important to tennis are the "core muscles". These are the muscles in your back and abs that help your balance. Of course having strong legs and arms will help but these parts of the body are far less important. Jogging will produce and maintain enough muscle to participate in sports on a recreational level.

    You are sort of right in saying jogging can make you slower. Your muscles are made up of fast and slow twitch fibers. You train slow twitch with low intensity exercise and fast twitch with high intensity. Slow twitch allow you to perform for long periods of time (like a 3 hour tennis match). Fast twitch allow you to "explode" and come in handy in sprints and power lifting. If you usually train high intensity short interval your muscles will develope more fast twitch fibers making you faster and allowing you to jump higher. The problem though is your muscles will fatigue much faster and require much more recovery time. If you then switch to a lower intensity workout some of your muscle fibers will develope back into slow twitch and you may notice a loss in "explosion".

    Tennis is more about quickness and anticipation rather than speed. Aerobic exercise along with moderate weight lifting and exercises designed to increase quickness and footwork would yield the best results.

    As for weight loss.....burn more calories than you intake and you will lose weight. You could eat 2000 calories in chocolate per day and as long as you burn 2001 calories you will lose weight.

    Sorry this was so long just thought it might be helpful to some people.
  27. shutupova

    shutupova Guest


    There are tons of resources when it comes to short-term interval training versus traditional endurance training. What to choose will depend on your personal preference and knowledge.

    What I have found is that short-term interval training is much better in terms of fat loss, performance enhancement and power increase than endurance training.

    Just go look at google scholar and search "sprint interval traditional endurance training". You will find ton of research articles on this issue.

    Or go take a look at Clarence Bass's website (you can also google this)
    Or take a look at powerrunning dot com and look at physiology section.
    I can still give you much more information on this.

    Remember, there are two schools of thoughts on this.
    It is your body. Do what you want.
    But research it before you make that choice.

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