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Sports Nutrition Not Just for Men - Fueling the Female Athlete


Athletic woman coming out of a swimming pool

Sports Nutrition is often talked about among male athletes, I hear the chatter all the time in the gym. Now, there are more and more women into fitness, lifting weights, playing competitive and high endurance sports that would also benefit from sports nutrition and often female athlete nutrition is overlooked and not so mainstream in the sports nutrition supplementation industry. There are many factors to consider when examining your sports nutrition including: hormone changes, changes in eating habits, weight loss “critter brain”, game day fueling during training and competition, exercise recovery and supplements.

Many aspects of performance and sports nutrition are the same for both males and females. What makes it different for female athletes? Hormones, hormones, hormones!

Hormone Changes

Intense physical activity can affect your hormone levels. Hormones are the chemical messengers in your body. Female hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, help regulate your menstrual period. Estrogen is also needed to help keep your bones strong. Changes in estrogen levels can affect your overall physical development, your period, and your bone health.

Changes in Eating Habits

Some females who play sports develop an intense focus on their weight. There’s often a lot of pressure from your coach or parents to succeed if you play sports. You may feel a responsibility to your teammates. You may feel a need to be “perfect.” This type of thinking can put you at risk of developing bad eating habits called “disordered eating.”

Weight loss “critter brain”

How many calories should you be eating in order to lose fat while still having energy throughout the day? How many carbs do you need? When should you eat them? How does this change with your monthly cycle? Many female athletes will wonder about these questions…

GAME DAY Fueling during Training and Competition

What should you eat before and after exercise? Do you need carbs? How much protein should you eat? How much water should you drink? All of this changes with your monthly cycle, and will change as you age and hormones change.

Exercise recovery

Do you need a recovery shake? Should you consume extra protein? Recovery after exercise is an important element of excelling as an athlete.

Supplements

Which one's help? Well my question would then be help with what? Muscle gain, loose body fat, increase muscle, repair muscles, replenish electrolytes???

As a Sports Nutrition Coach we work with female athletes and a sports nutrition program there are many factors we need to consider. Every female is different in their body composition, age, intensity of sport, hormone cascade, perhaps understanding if they are taking birth control pills, pre-menopause, and menopause is also a consideration in mapping out a diet and supplement program. It all matters before even suggesting any performance and recovery supplementation we focus on food first.

If you’d like to learn more contact us here to try our virtual nutrition counseling and take your training to the next level!

Pure Body Health Online

Published On: 04/27/2021

By Aimie Wallace

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