Hi Hans Ratzenburger here with another one of my weight loss posts.
I am constantly asked by my weight loss students if I have a magic bullet that will allow them to eat like a pig, and still watch the pounds of fat melt off their body.
Despite my best efforts to educate them that most weight loss comes from controlling their intake of food, they continue to harass me for advice on an exercise that will be fun and that will go some way towards helping them lose weight.
When we consider the amount of weight you can lose during exercise there are several factors to be considered. A lot will depend upon your starting body weight and the duration and intensity of the exercise. It is pretty obvious that if you weighed 150 Kilos (300 pounds) and ran for an hour you would lose a lot more weight than a 100 kilo person walking for half an hour.
But for a given individual, with perhaps 30 kilos to lose, the secret is to find a fun activity that they will enjoy doing and that they can do for a reasonable amount of time (e.g. an hour) without collapsing in an exhausted, sweaty heap. Volleyball is a sport that ticks all the boxes in this regard.
There are two main types of Volleyball, indoor and beach. Both have their pros and cons, but it is generally agreed that you can lose more weight playing beach volleyball than indoor volleyball because of the extra running on sand which makes it a much more intense exercise.
When playing either form of volleyball you can manage the intensity of the effort by the number of people on each team. For example in indoor volleyball two teams of six players face off from opposite sides of a net. The players are restricted to a small playing area of 9 by 9 metres (approximately 30 by 30 feet. The size of a beach volleyball area can be smaller, but if you are just playing for fun and fitness, this does not need to be rigorously enforced. As you can see there is a lot of flexibility involved in the sport of volleyball and it can be modified to suit any number of participants of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels.
During a volleyball game there is not really a lot of running taking place, because with that many players in such a small area you tend to be restricted in how much ground you can cover. But you will still burn a shit-load of calories because of the athletic leaping to hit the ball and the energy expended whacking the ball across the net at your opposition.
Some estimates have placed the calories burned during a game of volleyball at up to 300 calories in an hour. That is nothing to be sneezed at because it represents nearly one twelfth of a pound!
If you are starting out with major weight and fitness problems, you would probably vary the team sizes and have about 8 fatties on one team playing 4 lean people to even things out. That is one of the big benefits of volleyball that is not feasible in many other competitive sports.
If playing indoors brings back too many unpleasant memories of school days with the grim, sadistic gym mster and the smell of liniment, there is always the option of beach volleyball.
In many ways beach volleyball is superior to the indoor variety.
For starters, the game is played in the blazing sun on the beach which helps to burn a lot more fat than the same game played on a firm surface. Some people have estimated that beach volleyball players can easily burn the same amount or more calories as cross-country skiers or rock climbers. The female players are renowned for wearing very skimpy beach attire, which ensures that male participants will already have an elevated heart rate before they even step onto the court!
Another big advantage is that the game is very popular with members of both sexes and the teams can be composed of mixed genders. This adds a healthy and fun social aspect to the game and ensures that someone taking up the sport is quite likely to return and make volleyball a regular aspect of their fitness regime.
So the take-home message is this. If your goal is solely to lose weight, you probably would not take up volleyball as a primary means of achieving that goal. But if you are looking to develop a fit, lean body and add a new activity to your life that transcends mere fitness, then volleyball is for you.
Convinced? Maybe these videos will help you decide if volleyball is the sport for you.
Irene Verasio & Camila Hiruela (ARG) Women’s Beach Volleyball Highlights
Women’s Beach Volleyball KP Open Highlights 3
Women’s Beach Volleyball