The Fit Female
Athlete
Presented by
Jennifer Kienlen, RN, CNRN
Sports Nutrition Studies for
High School Athletes
• Increase in
competitiveness of HS
sports has lead to an
increased # of studies
looking at the unique
nutritional needs of HS
athletes
• Growth & development as
well as gender difference
focus of research
• Nutritional knowledge is
often based on myth, not
science
• Nutrition information
comes from sources other
than the experts
Energy = Performance
• In order to take your athletic abilities to the highest level your
body must have energy!
• HS students juggle incredibly hectic schedules and must be
prepared to take on the responsibility to provide their bodies
with energy in order to make it through training, competition
and recovery periods.
• Knowledge, planning, and preparation become one of the key
pieces of athletic training if peak performance is to be
achieved
• Timing of meals & snacks can improve performance and
stamina
• Food choices + hydration + rest + life balance = Energy
Energy Sources: Carbs
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Stored as glycogen
Preferred immediate energy source
Carbs provide the energy to fuel muscle contractions
Carbs provide energy more rapidly to working muscles than
proteins or fats
• Timing of carb intake does not differ between genders
Energy Sources
• Carbohydrates (CHO)
• Protein
• Fats (Fatty acids/triglycerides)
Energy Sources: Simple Carbs
• Choose wisely!!
• One source is likely to be stored as fat when taken in too large
of quantities or when immediate glucose is not needed and
does not provide nutrients, vitamins, or minerals
Energy Sources: Complex Carbs
• The other choices help to provide needed micronutrients,
vitamins and minerals while providing an energy source for
muscles and the brain
Counting Carbs
• 1 serving = 15 gms of carbs
• Serving size depends on the food choice
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1 slice whole grain bread
1 tortilla
1/3 cup of cooked pasta
¼ bagel (whole bagel = 60gms carbs)
½ cup starchy vegetable (potato, corn, peas)
½ banana
15-20 grapes
½ c cooked green beans
½ c cooked plain oatmeal
6 oz (3/4 c) light fruit yogurt (Yoplait Light)
Energy Stores in the Female
Body
• Research shows hormonal
cycles impacts metabolism
• Estrogen appears to boost the
body’s ability to restore muscle
glycogen stores
• Caloric intake that is typically
restricted in the female athlete
typically leads to profound
protein breakdown and
negative energy balance
• Chronically low caloric intake is
not fixed by pre-game carbloading
• Studies show that female
athletes need increased intake
of iron, folic acid, calcium and
Vit D
Energy Sources: Protein
• Proteins provide the body with the amino acids needed to
make and maintain tissues (muscle, bone, tendons, hair, skin)
• Often mistaken by athletes as the primary source of energy
needed for strength or endurance training
• Not a primary source of fuel for muscles
• Timing of protein intake is essential to recovery and muscle
repair
• There is a limit on protein synthesis that can occur at any
given time in the body
• If protein intake is too high, the by-products of protein
breakdown can lead to dehydration, ketone build up and
kidney disease
Energy Sources: Protein
• Strength training athletes need approx 1.4-1.8 gms/kg (2.2 #s)
of protein a day (75kg=165#= 105-135 gms/protein/day)
• Endurance training athletes need approx 1.2-1.4 gms/kg of
protein a day (75kg=165#= 90-105gms/protein/day)
How much protein is in that?
• 3 oz (about the size of your palm) serving of either fish,
chicken, turkey or beef = 21 gms of protein
• Milk, 8 oz = 8 grams
• Tofu, 3 oz = 15 grams
• Yogurt, 8 oz = 8 grams
• Cheese, 3 oz = 21 grams
• Peanut butter, 2 tbsp = 8 grams
• Eggs, 2 large = 13 grams
• Nuts, 1 oz = 6-8 grams
• Pumpkin seeds, 1 oz = 8 grams
Energy Sources: Fat
• Dietary fat gets blamed for many different health problems,
but it is an essential nutrient for optimal health, strength and
endurance
• Essential fatty acids provide muscle energy for low-intensity
activity or prolonged exercise
• Types
• Saturated: Solid at room temp; high intake leads to heart disease;
limit to no more than 10% of total daily calorie intake
• Unsaturated: Liquid at room temp; typically from plant sources;
reduce cholesterol and heart disease; many health benefits
• Trans fat: When unsat fat is created to be solid at room temp;
intake should be very limited due to increased health risks
Energy Sources: Fat
• Saturated and Trans Fats: Hard to stay away from because they
taste good; some saturated fats are good sources of protein
• Watch for trans fats in packaged foods, fast foods, frozen
dinners
• If you must indulge: limit intake of trans fats found in fast
foods, candy bars, fried foods, pizza, cheeseburgers, etc to
ONCE A WEEK!
Fueling the body
• What you eat affects not only your performance, but your
overall health
• In order to be the best you have to eat differently than
the rest
• Poor nutrition and poor hydration lead to prolonged poor
performance, fatigue, weight loss and long term health
problems
• What you eat is as important as when you eat
• Training, Competition and Recovery each require different
combinations of carbohydrates and proteins to maximize
glycogen stores in the muscle
Training and Competition in
the Female HS Athlete
• Research indicates that training sessions for HS athletes are
just as intense if not more intense than game day competition
• Learn your body, what it needs and what combinations of
foods leave you feeling energized and game-day ready
• Be aware of the Female Triad
Timing of Meals: Pre-Game
• Goal of meal timing is to maximize/replenish glycogen stores
prior to intense muscle use
• Pre-game/exercise meal
• 2-4 hours before
• Low in fat and fiber to reduce gastric upset
• 1-2 gms/kg carbs with .15-.25 gms/kg lean protein
• Pre-Game Snack
• 30 min – 1 hour before
• 1 gm CHO/kg
• Good time for sports drinks or juice, or low protein energy bar
• Water intake throughout the day should remain a priority!
• So what about “carb-loading”?
Timing of meals: During Game
• The focus during competition is to actively replace fluids lost
through sweat
• Bring your own water bottle
• Primary intake of carbs should come in the form of sips of
sports drinks if competition lasts more than 1 hour
• Sports drinks that supplement electrolytes lost through sweat are
beneficial, but often over used
• Water should be consumed periodically throughout game
time- 5-10 oz water every 15-20 minutes if possible
Timing of Meals: Recovery
• The MOST important phase in regards to sports nutrition
• Extensive studies show that a significant amount of carbs with
15-20 gms of protein 15-30 minutes after competition or
practice is absolutely essential to improving and sustaining
athletic performance and preventing fatigue!
• It MUST be within the first 15-60 minutes after a game to
rapidly replenish glycogen stores in the muscle
• 15-20 gms of protein during this time frame prevents muscle
breakdown and assists with muscle building and repair
• The recovery phase continues for about 18-20 hours
Timing of Meals: The Plan
Pre-Game/Exercise Plan
Recovery Period
• Night before: Healthy meal
with complex carbs, healthy
fats, protein, water
• AM meal: Whole grains,
protein, fresh fruit, milk, water
• Snack: Fresh fruit or snack bar,
water
• Lunch (3-4 hrs before game): 12gms carbs/kg with .15-.25gms
protein/kg, 17-20oz water
• Snack: (0.5-1 hrs before) 1-2gm
carbs/kg, 5-10oz water
• If it is a long trip to the game
bring fresh fruit, energy bar or
juice and water
• 15-60 minutes post game:
1-2gms carbs/kg with no
more than 15-20gms protein,
water. Recommended is 8oz
of chocolate milk
• 2hrs post game: full meal with
a mix of complex carbs and
15-30gms of protein and
healthy vegetables, water
• Recovery phase can last for
greater than 20 hours, make
sure you refuel with carbs and
plenty of water to reduce
fatigue and improve next day
performance
Putting Recovery First
• Recovery nutrition has to be planned
• #1 Choice for the 15-30 minute window post game is…..
• Easy to pack post-game food for the ride home
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Apple or banana with peanut butter
1 oz Beef Jerky with ½ c grapes
Dried fruit and nuts
Recovery Bar with an orange
PB and honey sandwich
Bagel with peanut butter
Coconut water, crackers, string cheese
A Word About Ergogenic Aids
• Eat right first and you won’t need to supplement
• Energy drinks can lead to heart palpitations, seizures, cardiac
arrest and even death when used to increase energy and
performance while training and/or competing
• Steroid use has a long list of known side effects
• Most ergogenic aids are banned by the NCAA
• Protein supplementation is not necessary as dietary intake is
typically adequate.
Questions?