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Nutritional Strategies For Female Athletes

April 13, 2009 by Coach Ronda in Athlete Nutrition with 0 Comments

Female Athlete NutritionIn general, female athletes should increase their carbohydrate intake in order to sustain intensive training and competition.  It is suggested that the diet of an active athlete should consist of between 60 to 70% of total energy intake from carbohydrate, 15% of total energy intake from protein and no more than 30% of total energy intake from fat.

Female athletes must be encouraged to eat high levels of carbohydrate on a seven day a week basis.  Carbohydrate is the key to the energy that directly affects their performance, particularly in team sports.

Pregame Nutrition

About a week prior to a game, female athletes should follow a carbohydrate rich diet.  They also should drink water regularly to maintain hydration.

The pregame meal should be high in carbohydrate and relatively low in protein, fat and fiber.  This meal should typically be consumed two to three hours prior to the start of the game.

During The Game

During the game, sports drinks are idea because they meet the twin aims of supplying carbohydrates and fluid.  These should preferably be consumed at frequent intervals. (Note: It is usually recommended that female athletes drink 10 to 20 ounces of fluid immediately prior to a game.)

At halftime, players should continue to fuel with sports drinks.  This will ensure that they continue to replace lost fluid and will provide extra energy.

Post Game Nutrition

Female athletes should be encouraged to eat carbohydrate rich foods and fluids immediately after each game.  This is because the enzymes responsible for the conversion of carbohydrate into glycogen works most efficiently during the early post exercise phase.

Consuming carbohydrate soon after exercise also accelerates recovery rates and improves the ability of female athletes to train or play again within a relatively short period of time.  Some ideal post game snacks include bananas, raisins, caramel popcorn, Pop tarts, bagels or muffins, gatorade or powerade, and orange juice.  This can be followed by a high carbohydrate meal about two hours later.


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