Info for Your Squashgame

A Weighty Subject

Published: 26 Jan 2007 - 09:56 by raystrach

Updated: 04 Feb 2007 - 04:42

Subscribers: Log in to subscribe to this post.

For those who have read the post about weight loss, I am continuing the discussion here. Instead of fighting amongst yourselves, you can fight with me! Yep, I am that confident.!!
I am a little surprised by the certainty that many of the  posters in that thread exude. what i am sure of, is that a lot of energy was burned in the escalation of that particular  post!! At least it is good to know we all have not fallen asleep.

now while i am not a professional in this area, i have read quite a few very thick books on this subject and I am pleased to say that i have not forgotten it all. after all this reading and self sacrifice to test this theory or that, I can definitively say the following:
  • Not even the experts agree on the main elements of this subject (that is why I am a little bemused by the certainty of all our resident experts)
  • It is absolutely true that each of us has a different metabolism and that we not only metabolise at differing rates, but we metabolise different types of food at different rates
  • Not only that, males and females metabolise at different rates as do people of different ages.
  • Muscle uses more calories than fat and heavier people metabolise more calories than lighter people
  • You burn more calories when active than you do when resting.
  • The rate at which you burn calories when resting is call the Base Metabolic Rate(BMR)
  • Having said all that, there are some basic benchmarks from which we can deduce an average rate of calories consumption.
  • Different food groups contain different energy levels (multiply these figures by about 4.5 to convert the calories to kilojoules)
  • Carbohydrates - 4 kcals (calories) per gram
  • Protein - 4 kcals per gram
  • Alcohol - 7 kcals per gram - no nutritional value
  • Fats - 9 kcals per gram
  • Using these figures, it is reasonably simple to figure out what amount is lost or gained (in theory at least) on any one day
  • the level of exertion determines the amount of calories burnt in any given time - more exertion, more calories
  • If carbohydrates are not used when available, they turn into fat for storage
  • It is actually a fairly simple calculation to estimate the amount of calories taken in (as food etc) or expended (physical activity) - it is not unlike a car or any machine -  Note the word estimate.
A couple of years back, I kept a food and activity diary for six months to see if I could use it to lose weight. I found that, as a rule of thumb, you could say that by using 1000 calories per day more than you took in would result in a loss of weight of about 1 kg per week when taken over a long period (say a few weeks). Because of the mysteries of the body that we are yet to unravel, weight loss or gain does not happen on a daily basis as a result of that day's activity, nor is weight loss linear. It tends to go in fits and starts. sometimes it will plateau for a week or two, then continue. This is truly a mystery.

In the journals and text books I have read (mainly those used by medical students at our esteemed universities, it is generally accepted that  (in very simple terms):
  1. carbohydrates are the first form of foods used to power our bodies (usually as glycogen)
  2. Fats are then burned
  3. Muscle is then burned (protein is muscle building food) - as a last resort in extreme circumstances
(i admit it - this could be an oversimplification)

now, although in theory you would burn about a kilo by playing squash for 8 hours, in doing so you would cause other unwanted side effects, not the least being death(in my case at least) in addition to major tissue damage caused.

the other thing i would like to separate out is healthy eating. someone who eats too much healthy food and does no exercise , will put on weight just like some one drinking  global cola and eating "killing fat clowns" with or without the 11 herbs and spices that go to make up the secret ingredients.

if you check the points above on the calorie value of foods, eating more fat puts on weight faster because it has a higher calorie count. drinking alcohol is even worse because it has no nutritional value, so all you get out of it is a warm and fuzzy feeling (if drunk in moderation) this is discounting the unwanted effect of loss by mouth when consumed in excess quantities!

The other element which I will only mention is the glycemic index (gi) which estimates the rate at which food is available for  metabolisation. I think it is now generally accepted that food with a low glycemic index tends to help in weight loss because it is not metabolised all at once - excess carbohydrates are not turned into fats so quickly. You may be surprised to learn that ice cream has a relatively low gi.

although I may have promised this before, at some stage over the weekend I will publish a simple calories counter 

Let the arguments begin.....squash game squash extras How to add images to Members' Forum posts and replies here...


Please Note: The most recent replies are now at the top!

From Adz - 04 Feb 2007 - 04:42

Last time I saw a doctor for a physical I was asked to come back for check-ups for 3 weeks. When they realised that I was the captain of my university squash team they stopped asking me to come in! What appears to be a problem on paper (or in a forum) is not that big a problem in real life. Yes I do get fatigued after a long time of intense playing, but it does take at least 45 mins of playing absolutely flat out when fresh or around 30 mins in a tournament where I've played twice earlier the same day! Now 45 mins flat out is exactly as it sounds - flat out pace where I can't go any faster. To me this is too fast to play and I tend to lose control before I lose fitness (or are they related?). I certainly find that I'm happier at around 60 to 80% of my max speed, and at full freshness I tend to be a bit of a handful on court as people don't expect someone of my size to move around as quickly as I do. Still want to try losing around 2 stone though. I'd love to see just how much I can improve my stamina with less weight to cart around the court.


Back to top

From rippa rit - 03 Feb 2007 - 08:43   -   Updated: 03 Feb 2007 - 08:43

Adz - what does your Heart Specialist say about a resting pulse of 90? 
It seems those pistons are pumping up and down awfully quickly, and maybe wearing out faster too.
When my blood pressure was up the Dr said you are sort of working at a higher rate off court, and then when you play sport and the heart starts to work it does not take too long before you feel tired, as you reach your max so much quicker, eg half a squash game and start to pant. 

Back to top

From Adz - 02 Feb 2007 - 19:41

Just to add...... my peak flow reading is usually between 650 (mid hay-fever season) and 700 (peak fitness), with an average of around 680.

I too tend to die quickly on a treadmill (aorund 15 to 20 mins at pace), but can keep cycling and rowing for quite a while (around 30 mins at pace). Not really sure why this is, but it is definitely something I'm trying to change (p.s. a bad back doesn't help with the running!)


Oh well, perhaps trying to lose another 2 stone in weight might help....... Racing snake here I come!


Back to top

From nickhitter - 02 Feb 2007 - 19:00

"I have no idea what is wrong with your lungs and my current module is respiratory medicine!"  

lol. It does appear that, like Adz, I too am a medical freak! I like your explanation of why my resting pulse rate is slower though...that does seem to make sense.

Back to top

From aprice1985 - 02 Feb 2007 - 10:37

Yes moving air in and out is very important and lung function is going to be key especially in aerobic exercise.  However if you apply logic having air in your lungs is no uuse if it doesn't get to where it is needed via blood and heart.  All of these combined with natural metabolism will add up to give a picture of fitness.  I have no idea what is wrong with your lungs and my current module is respiratory medicine!  I do know that some of my friends tried the lung function machine and it said they had restrictive lung disease and ages of about 30-40 when they are early 20s and one of them used to play county level hockey and still is really fit!  Peak flow is no bloody use at all except for measuring severity of an asthma attack in truth as people have their own individual norms for it and it is all relative to that.  Mine is about 560l/min which is only just ok however i fail to take my own advice and have poor aerobic fitness.  If your pulse is low it may be that you body struggled to get oxygen in and has gradually adapted to a low oxygen state and so at rest has no need of a high pulse but when you exercise and need more O2 then your body can increase the respiratory flow and eventually the heart cant compensate and you feel knackered if that makes any sense.  75bpm is actually bang on average so you friend's lungs may be great and with a well trained but not incredible heart he is able to maintain a brilliant level of fitness.  The main evidence is that pro distance atheletes have low pulses.  Also of key importance is not heart rate but stoke volume (the amount pumped out of the heart in one go) which is based on strength of contraction and heart chamber size (not overall big heart that suggests heart failure) so a compensation for poor ventilation could be an larger heart which is fine at rest but struggles with exercise due to complex stuff about starling's law and so on.  All very rambling and confused but it may go a small way to explaining so physiological weirdness.

Back to top

From nickhitter - 02 Feb 2007 - 10:03   -   Updated: 02 Feb 2007 - 10:05

Though deviating slightly from the topic, just a point about heart rate and fitness....

I am not the fittest person ever to play squash, and generally all through my life I have struggled with fitness despite living a healthy lifestyle and maintaing a healthy weight. I was hopeless at cross country in school as a kid, and even though I now play squash 3-4 times a week, and go mountain biking at the weekend, can still only ever manage about 15 mins on a treadmill set about 11kph. resting pulse rate is only 43 beats per minute! I am sat here typing now with my dads heart rate monitor on just to test, and to look at my pulse you'd think I was a super trained athlete! it varies between 40-46 it raises slightly when I breathe in, and lowers when I breathe out. which I understand to be quite normal.

What I know I do have though is poor lung function. I am in my twenties, but have the lungs of a 57 year old according to a machine at the chest clinic. It was thought I had asthma, until inhalers did nothing. My peak flow is only 450 l/min

A friend of mine in the army is one of the fittest men I have ever known. When we go to the gym when he's back home, we both run on the treadmill, after 10 minutes at about 10 kph I get off and do a circuit of weights, other CV machines etc. after an hour I go back and find him and he's still on the treadmill, still at 15kph! Not even out of breath. He, like many of you say yourselves, says he has a highish resting pulse of 75 BPM.  he had a blast on my peak flow meter and scored over 700 l/minute! and so even though we are the same height give or take an inch - He has the lungs of an olympic rower!  So although the speed of your resting pulse can supposedly indicate roughly how fit you are, what is commonly over looked is how good our bodies are at moving air in and out of our lungs (this is not strictly the same as lung capacity) which can be just if not more important with regard to sports that need aerobic fitness

Back to top

From Adz - 01 Feb 2007 - 21:05

Aprice, I'm really hoping that you misread my post as me having high blood pressure?

I actually said that the blood pressure falls within what are considered a healthy range, but near the upper end (as expected with a high resting pulse).

I admit that I haven't taken my pulse first thing this morning, but I took it after sitting at my desk doing nothing in work but searching the net...... it was 92bpm. I have played squash flat out wearing a heart rate monitor and the results came as a bit of a surprise to me......

Average over 45mins of 130bpm (no breaks between games) with a peak of around 180bpm. Now there's two ways I could look at this:

1) The heart rate monitor was useless and didn't work

2) My heart only peaks when pushed to extremes as I am now used to playing squash.


On the aerobic point from before, I will shortly be starting a serious amount of aerobic training in an effort to increase my stamina and lung capacity. Hopefully if I can improve these but keep my recovery rate, I could become very fit. Fingers crossed!


Back to top

From aprice1985 - 01 Feb 2007 - 19:42

Take a resting pulse after 5-10 minutes of sitting quietly, not just after heavy exercise, allow extra time after that.  First thing in the morning your pulse will always be low as it shoots down as you sleep.  But yes a pulse of 90 is a bit high, over 100 is tachycardia and would be the point where you think it could be something nasty

Back to top

From raystrach - 01 Feb 2007 - 19:23

wow 90bpm!!

typically, a resting heartrate is taken after waking in the morning before getting out of bed. i am not all that fit at present and mine is about 60. sitting down during the day it is a little over 70.

are you feeling ok adz?

Back to top

From aprice1985 - 01 Feb 2007 - 09:39

Firstly ADZ the high pulse and blood pressure are not great signs, even if you have good "fitness" you may not have great health for other reasons eg stress or hypertension.  In this case exercise can only benfit you to hopefully lower the pulse rate and through that you BP. For this aerobic exercise is good as you body is not straining to provide oxygen to the tissues.

It appears that aerobic training improves the body's ability to recycle ATP and also deliver oxygen to the muscle (that will aid the heart and therefor BP).  The ATP bit is basically the energy needed for muscle contraction and it is recycled from ADP using the metabolism of glucose (which can be derive from fats and glycogen or at least similar products can).  The quicker you can recycle ATP the more your muscles can contract in a given time.  This is pretty much the science behind what gregzilla is saying  You recover quicker as you recycle ATP quicker and you have a higher capacity before entering the anaerobic zone as your body supplies oxygen better thus his 80% may not be his actual zone due to good training.  If you also add in the training merely from playing squash the body will adapt to anaerobic metabolism from that allowing you to play hard for longer.

ADZ, yes you sound like a medical freak!  But i wouldn't worry, low blood pressure is good provided the systolic is above 90 and diastolic is best about 60 so i believe.  The test v the decathelete sounds interesting, clearly he had a great resting pulse and a good response to exercise as he adapted well suggesting he was able to distribute the blood well but i am surprised about the slow recovery rate as you say it may be the body's adaptation and i will try to find some info on recovery rates due to training.  It is known that stamina reduces as you age for a variety of normal aging reasons but i don't know wh your recovery rate is still the same or why some injuries heal sooner than others, that sounds very interesting and could again be adaptation to numerous low grade strains when you were younger.

Back to top

From gregzilla - 01 Feb 2007 - 07:12

Adz, I think the best way to improve your stamina is to do aerobic training.  Exercising at 70%-80% of your max hr will do this.  I have been doing a bit of running and cycling in this zone.  It seems to be helping quite a bit.  Against my usual opponents (I win 50% of the time) I am winning more, mostly because by the fifth game my opponents are dying, and I am feeling pretty good :).  Most of the time I spend on the court playing is in the anaerobic zone (80% ).  Due to my aerobic training though, my heart rate does not go as high (so you are less tired, I think) and you are able to recover more quickly.  They always say "Get fit to play squash, not play squash to get fit" and I think this is what they are talking about.  Maybe aprice can explain, I think the better you aerobic fitness, the better you are able to absorb oxygen into your blood and from there to your muscles.  Anaerobic training does not help with this, so you need a good aerobic base to begin with.
That was a bit rambling, but I think the basic ideas are correct ;).  Aprice, if I am incorrect, please let me know.
You might want to go for another fitness test, I know that kids and teenagers are not really comparable to adults when it comes to many types of tests.

Back to top

From Adz - 31 Jan 2007 - 20:16

Good! At last we have some medical references that back up some of the underlying statements I made in earlier posts! e.g Squash doesn't burn fat (well not for most people!).


Obviously with everybody being different, what works for some won't work for others. I find myself suffering from a particularly adaptable nature with regards to diet and nutrients! As a breif overview for you aprice: I have a resting pulse of around 90-95 (it used to be over 100 2 years ago). My blood pressure is on the higher end of normal, but still "healthy" apparently. Muscular injuries or strains seem to heal very quickly but cuts and grazes take quite a while to disappear. During a lab test at 16 I was tested alongside a decathalete with our heart rates being monitored during strenuous exercise. His started at 70ish mine was over 100. His rose to 200 during the exercise, mine rose to 160. His took a two minutes to return to normal mine took about 40 seconds and actually went below my starting point (down to 90ish) before raising again to the resting pulse. Medical freak? Possibly !


This type of recovery could be considered perfect for short ralley squash (but I have to admit that stamina is a bit of an issue!).  A high intensity followed by a fast recovery between rallies or games. Nature does tell us that the body adapts to the strains we place it under and my body has been playing squash since 6 years old. I have found that other players who have been playing from an early age also have some interesting metabolic tendancies usually to do with recovery time. For some reason those players who started playing at a young age have an extremely fast recovery rate after intense activity. Is this something you can find reference to in any of your journals?


As I'm getting older I find that even though my recovery is still high, my stamina seems to be failing quicker. With that in mind I'm aiming to boost the stamina side by trying to work on longer intensity activities (increased duration under intensity) to see if this will help. My principal choice being spinning but I will be throwing rowing and running into the mix!


Anyone else got a quick but more importantly effective way of gaining stamina for squash?


Back to top

From aprice1985 - 31 Jan 2007 - 10:16

I had a flick through a book called "Physiology and exercise" by D R Lamb to see what some of the textbooks have to say and it certainly suggests that even in strenuous exercise most energy is gained through fat and carbohydrate (glucose and glycgogen) metabolism although noone has ever tried to measure protein breakdown products fully as some people think they come out in the sweat!  Interestingly it says fat is used more in submaximal i.e. less strenuous exercise than it is in the harder forms this seems to be due to lactic acid build up.  Protein is only used much if you have been starving or eating a low carbohydrate diet ( is that atkins then anyone cause if so we know why you lose weight, you burn off your muscle!) Some muscle is broken down in exercise but not nessecarily for energy but may be to replenish supplies of glycogen.  You can interpret this how you want and decide how best you think to cut down fats levels.  Personally i am going for light exercise to burn fat (cycling in and out of uni) and hard exercise (squash and swimming) to build up my stamina and get a good cardiovascular workout.

 One thing to remember is that as you burn fuel you need oxygen to do it well so if you cant breath well you cant get energy in the form of ATP as efficiently and all you get is lactic acid and cramp (this one is personal experience!)

Back to top

From raystrach - 31 Jan 2007 - 09:55   -   Updated: 31 Jan 2007 - 09:56

now that i have taken a very deep breath...

i have taken the unusual step of deleting the past four posts or so. I usually like to let all posts run their own course, but in this case (and I think for the first time) i have decided to give a few posts the flick. Whilst not quite reaching flaming point, I thinks it is a bit like the bushfires here in Australia recently - they can escalate and cause enormous damage very quickly.

aprice, i am indebted to you -  unlike the rest of us, you actually know what you are talking about - your posts have been crystal clear.

i am not in the least  religious, but a little piece of scripture about  throwing the first stone comes to mind.

I am staggered that this thread has created so much interest (and I am happy about that). All those involved who have had their say (and i hope will continue to do so) have made good contributions to this forum in one way or another, some going back to its inception. It has made it Squash's best web forum.

But none of us are perfect and so from  time to time we say something that might not be too bright(even though at the time it made complete sense - it happens to me on a daily basis!). If some one occasionally diverges from the path of perfection, rise above it, don't follow them!!

now let's get on with it!

ps just to rove what a dill I am, i made a couple of errors in the original article which i have edited

Back to top

From aprice1985 - 29 Jan 2007 - 21:03

Hate to coorect you again but glycogen is a polysaccharide, it is just many glucose molecules bonded together in a specific form (differnt from celluslose so it can still be broken down in the body) but i do agree the body will try to find a way to store enough energy as it only has about 16 hours of glycogen in total i believe (at resting BMR)  As such controlling diet as well as exercising will be needed in order to ensure weight is not gained.  If you dont putt the energy in the body cant store extra.  Obviously if you do that you need to ensure you dont cut back too much or you wont have the energy to play.  It is all about balance!

Back to top

From Adz - 29 Jan 2007 - 18:38

Aprice - Many thanks for the correction - Glycogen was obviously what I meant to say, but got my words mixed up . One of the hazaards fo writing large amounts of text at a million miles an hour so my boss can't give me a row for not doing any work!

Glycogen and glucose are used up by the body very quickly during exercise, but fats take much longer to break down to useable material. Glycogen being a type of fat, is the natural way that the body stores future energy reserves. If you play a REALLY hard game of squash and exhaust all of your glucose and glycogen you feel faint and light headed due to lack of energy source as your body cannot break down enough fat to feed the muscles in the time needed. So now we come back to my very first argument of all - The body is an incredibly intelligent machine and if you deplete all of its resources often enough, it learns to build more resources as and when it can. Hense it begins to store more glycogen for future use and you actually gain a greater fat % in your body.

There you go...... a condensed version of all my previous posts in these threads!


Back to top

From gregzilla - 28 Jan 2007 - 22:05

Raystrach, good point.  Weight and fat are not the same thing.  None of us should be slaves to the scales.  If you feel good, that is the main thing.  
I want to lose a bit of weight to become a bit quicker and to protect my body.  Being a big guy and not the most efficient mover, my hips, knees, ankles, etc take a lot of abuse as I chase that damn ball around ;-).  The less weight I have the less likely I am to get hurt and the less wear and tear on my body.  I plan to defeat Jonothan Power in the Canadian Nationals over 75 division, so I need to have a good 40 years of squash left in me ;-).

Back to top

From aprice1985 - 28 Jan 2007 - 14:54

Just want to check, someone said glucose is stored  as glycerol, a lot of it is stored as glycogen in the liver and then converted to many different forms of fat.  Glycerol is an alcohol that fatty acids bond to to form what are known as lipids or fats (including the main form, triglycerides) and free glycerol may be used to burn in place of glucose.  I was also wondering where peoples evidence is for proteins being burnt first in exercise as all my text books suggest that glucose, glyccogen and fats are the main products that will be used.  I have to agree that the best way to lose weight is a healthy and controlled diet with exercise, no one will cause permenant weight loss on its own.

Back to top

From raystrach - 28 Jan 2007 - 10:10

a quick one....

losing fat by physical activity does not necessarily mean losing weight. the extra work you do may well mean that you increase you muscle mass. this is especially true with Squash which can be far more anaerobic than jogging.

this is also tied up with the BMI, a very blunt instrument at best. it may work with a significant % of the population but i have found sportspeople do not make good BMI subjects - i have been tagged as obese by the BMI at some stages. I happen to have legs which are similar to tree trunks(thanks to Squash)

i will post more soon, but a key point i would like to remake is that the body is a machine, albeit a complicated one. over time, the energy we use has to come from fuel we eat. we cannot magically produce it out of nothing (although there is a sect which believe that we can be nourished by air! - tell that to the starving in Africa!)

Back to top

From rippa rit - 28 Jan 2007 - 08:47   -   Updated: 28 Jan 2007 - 08:54

Good - you all make perfect sense - so that is a relief.

Just think,  if we can keep this post "alive" until you all retire from squash with your body shape, fitness desire, stiff joints, buggered back, degenerated shoulders, dropped arches, knees clicking, damn good memories, let us know if the BMI table works more accurately then.
Meantime, I guess I have to try to abide  by the simple theory of putting a calorie in, expend a calorie, and without all that intense exercise the need for carbos are definitely reduced?

Also, I am putting a photo on the refrig to remind me of my goals. When I played 8 hours squash a week, with a tournament every other weekend,  all this info seemed redundant!

Talk about a balancing act, like walking a tight-rope.

Meantime eat well and  play hard.

Back to top

From gregzilla - 28 Jan 2007 - 04:55

I just posted this on the other thread, thought I'd stick it in here as well:

More fat on the fire ;-).
I have recently started doing some more serious "training" than playing squash several times a week.  Added some running, cycling and weight training.  I have seen various theories of the best way to lose weight through exercise.  One is that you need to exercise at a low intensity (say 60%-70% of your max heart rate) for a longer period of time to maximize fat burn.  Another is that if you exercise at high intensity (80% ), you are burning a lower percentage of fat, but as you are expending more energy it evens out in the end.  I think even at high intensity, you burn some fat. 
I have lost about 7 pounds, all fat and I generally do no "light" exercise.  Most is either squash or medium paced running (70%-80% of max hr).  That combined with some weight training has done quite a bit for me.  I can't say I have made a radical change to my diet, but I have tried to eat a bit better and drink a bit less.  I think I actually eat pretty healthy, but I do like to eat a lot :).
I picked up a fancy heart rate monitor and here is an example of what it tells me I have done for one of my matches.   It has been setup and configured to my age/weight/height/general fitness level/etc which is how it calculates these numbers.  I am 6ft 2in, 185 lbs and in pretty good shape:

Time: 1:32
Calories: 1475
% Fat: 35% - (1475x5 = 516 Calories of fat?)
Max HR: 185 (97% of my maximum)
Average HR: 156 (82% of my max)

Any exercise is going to help you stay fit and lose weight, but some are obviously better than others.  If you are already in good shape, squash will keep you that way.  I think it will get into shape as well, but it may take quite some time.   I burn way more calories playing squash than I do running, but once I started running I have lost more weight. 
I think Sleave is right, squash burns the most calories, but Adz/Sparticus are right in saying that most calories does not mean most fat burned. 

I do disagree with whoever said that weight is a function of diet.  I used to eat about 5000 calories a day, but I was also riding my bike 100km a day as well.  I never seemed to get fat  ;-).

Back to top

From Adz - 27 Jan 2007 - 20:15

Ooooo Rippa - NEVER use BMI!

BMI is so badly wrong when it comes to athletes that it's untrue! Johna Lomou would have had a BMI of over 30 in his peak playing days, but would you call him grossly obese? (certainly not to his face!).

Because the BMI is calculated by a relation of weight and height, the more you weight the higher your BMI will be. I have a good friend who is only about 5 foot 7 inches tall, but weights around 14 stone. His BMI would be around 33, making him supposedly obese. The only problem here is that this guy has an EIGHT PACK and can bench press 200kgs!!!! He's only got around 6% body fat. Because muscle weighs more than fat for the same volume, two people measuring the same on the tape - one mostly fat; one mostly muscle - will have hugely different weights.

The problem is that most so called "health" experts expect everyone to fall into nice little labels so they can make lots of money from giving out crap advice. Most diets will work in the short term until your body adapts. Once it does then you have to do something else. People throw around wild ideas that more exercise = less weight - does it really? I play squash for over 10 hours a week with 6 being at a very fast pace and 4 being a moderate pace. I take it around 2500 to 3500 calories a day of reasonably healthy food and yet my weight varies all the time! I have friends who also play at a high level 3 to 4 times a week for at least an hour per time. I'd consider most of them to be overweight too!

Someone once told me that "Squash doesn't get you fit; you need to be fit to play squash".
I never thought about it until I was playing a guy who gave me an absolute beating when I ran out of steam. That set me into finding out how to get myself both fitter and lighter to become more mobile on court. My BMI dropped from 31 to 27. My weight dropped from 16st4 to 14st2 and my body fat levels dropped from 24% to 14%. This wasn't by doing more cardio! And please note that my BMI was still "badly overweight" apparently! At 14% body fat, I defy anyone to tell me I'm "Overweight!".

Anyhow, I'm putting together my own home gym to get fitter and a bit stronger, so we'll see if I can lose a bit more fat!


Back to top

From rippa rit - 27 Jan 2007 - 08:56   -   Updated: 27 Jan 2007 - 09:03

Everytime I go and revise this hefty post and sub-post my Grandma's words come to mind, and I do not know the author of this wise quote:-

"The Wise Old Owl sat on the Oak, the more he heard the less he spoke".

Here is the original link, from the previous post,  with the Calorie Calculator, the BMI Calculator, the weight for age and height and sex calculator, very clever reference - it also gives advice and explains the results - yes, and it gives me personally a healthy range on the BMI showing between 18.5 - 24.9 so that shows flexibility to suit body types, etc. in my book - so I would be delighted to fall within that scale, so yes, and I am overweight.

Since I was told by a wise student, "science is not to prove what is right, but to prove what is wrong" so I just want to get away from the theory on my post.   The info in the above  link  advises,  to lose 1 pound a week eat 500 less calories a day, or add 500 calories a day to gain 1 lb a week in weight.  Now that is surely the KISS rule. 

If I could consume 3000 calories a day that would be wonderful - however I am knee high to a grasshopper and my female relatives did not start to lose weight till they were over 80 years old so the odds for me are not good without some sacrifices.

Back to top

From Adz - 26 Jan 2007 - 19:59

Ray, I kind of agree with every word you wrote there, but there are some things that I would like to add from both personal experience and personal research!

In order to lose around 2lbs of weight per week (not including water loss), it is recommended that we cut the calories in our diet by around 3500 (these figures are based on Jane or Joe Average). Most people agree on this as being BASICALLY right. So now lets look at that statement in the extreme:

Cut your calories by 3500 BELOW what you need each week. You lose 2lbs. You start weighing 160lbs - does that mean that in 80 weeks you disappear? Of course it doesn't! You body learns to quickly adapt to the intake of nutrients that you feed it, and people who have been playing squash for a long time have to be VERY careful with their diet. You body is very smart, and if you place it under huge strain every 2 to 3 days by playing a high level of squash for over an hour, then the body comes to expect a huge energy drain every 2 to 3 days. Now common sense tells you that the body begins to prepare for these energy drains by beginning to store as many nutrients as it can get away with. How do we strore nutrients? We turn the broken down sugars into Glycerol (a type of fat), which is then stored in the body for future use.

I know it might sound a little strange to think that squash can actually cause you to put on body fat, but as someone who has looked into this in a lot of detail for the past year, I have seen quite a lot of examples of this in higher level squash players. There's a more public known example of the British Rower - Steve Redgrave. When he retired there was an article written (which I'm still trying to find) where it explained that he couldn't just stop the training that he was doing of he'd put on a huge amount of fat and suffer muscle wastage EVEN IF HE WAS VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WHAT HE ATE! The difficulty comes from the adaptablility of the body to the stress we put it under. Look at Ramy Ashour - 19 years old and sleeps 12-14 hours a night and then again before matches. It is the way that his body recovers from the huge strain that he places on it by playing at such a high level.

Speaking of high levels of play........ Observed body fat levels (male) for a professional swimmer are around 16-18%, professional racquet players around 12-14% and runners around 8-10% (sprinters).


The best types of WEIGHT-LOSS diets all involve:

  1. Calorie Counting - Taking in too many is bad. Taking in too few is bad!
  2. Balanced diet - You don't put diesel into a formula 1 car or a jet engine to get optimum performance. The same thing goes for you body - Put crap in and get crap performance and energy levels out!
  3. Light cardivascular exercise - Increasing the heart rate pumps more blood around the body and more nutrients to the muscles and takes waste away. The same way as an engine works, you cannot keep it under total strain or it will break. The body needs to be kept ticking at a comfortable but high level of performance (60% of max heart-rate) to achieve optimal fat burning zones (e.g. fast enough to start burning calories, but slow enough to be able to burn fat to release energy and not have to delve into other areas of energy storage).
  4. A muscle building routine - Usually weight lifting orientated, the aim is to make the muslce for dense and to increase the bodies metabolism (BMR - See Ray's post). Muscle will obviously burn more calories than fat, and also weighs more than fat. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn, but you have to have the correct balance for your body. A squash player doesn't want huge bulging muscles (think Arnie!) They want small, dense, fast moving muslces (think Bruce Lee).

With each of these four elements in place, you are giving yourself the perfect way to lose weight AND develop a stronger and fitter body.

Another long post from me, and I hope I've explained my point of view a little less bluntly than my earlier posts (apologies again Sleave! )



Back to top

From nickhitter - 26 Jan 2007 - 19:44

Sorry everyone if my post in the previous thread seemed too aggresive. I'm just a bottom line type of guy who calls a spade, a spade so to speak. If someone types in rubbish, then I tell them so. But I'll try and be more nice in future.

Killing fat clowns?!!! haha that's great. Do they do a fillet burger too?

Great post, Raystrach, which is very thorough and I actually think it proves my point from the previous thread that there are too many variables to accurately know how a sport will affect you weight composition on paper. Also succesfully lightened the mood with the line 'in doing so you would cause other unwanted side effects, not the least being death(in my case at least)'

Brilliant! I laughed out loud.


Back to top

Sorry, only members can post replies on this and all other Members` Forum items.

Join Here - It`s fast and it`s free!

Check other member benefits here...

Support Squashgame

Support us here at! If you think we helped you, please consider our Squash Shop when purchasing or make a small contribution.

Products Now Available

US Squash Shop



Squash Balls


Squash Rackets

Sport and Leisure

Video Games


Facebook Link



Thank you very much for all the hard work that you are putting in to educate squash players of all different levels,

Sorry, logins temporarily disabled

We hope to see you back soon when we launch our updated site.