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Fuel to Thrive: Essential Nutrition Strategies for Young and Female Athletes




Hey Team,


As your coach, my mission extends beyond drills and practice sessions; I’m here to empower you with knowledge to fuel your body right. Proper nutrition plays a pivotal role in achieving peak performance and maintaining your health throughout your athletic journey, especially for our young and female athletes.


The Importance of Energy Availability

Maintaining optimal energy availability is critical. It's about ensuring that after accounting for the energy expended in training and games, your body has enough left to support all other physiological functions. When energy intake is too low, athletes can experience Low Energy Availability (LEA), leading to issues like reduced muscle strength, compromised immune function, and even decreased metabolic rate (Goldstein & Fukuda, 2020).


Tip: Aim for an intake of approximately 45 kcal/kg of fat-free mass per day to ensure you're adequately fueled (Goldstein & Fukuda, 2020).


Iron: The Vital Nutrient for Peak Performance

Iron deficiency can severely impact an athlete's performance by reducing oxygen delivery to muscles and diminishing endurance. Especially for female athletes, maintaining adequate iron levels is crucial due to losses during menstruation. The research highlights that an iron-rich diet can prevent declines in performance and overall health (Goldstein & Fukuda, 2020).



Monitoring Menstrual Health

Regular menstrual function is a non-negotiable indicator of health in female athletes. Disturbances can indicate insufficient energy intake and can lead to decreased bone density over time, making you more susceptible to injuries (Goldstein & Fukuda, 2020).


Strengthening Your Bones

Calcium and vitamin D are critical for developing and maintaining strong bones. For athletes, especially females, bone density is directly impacted by nutritional intake and hormonal balance, which are influenced by regular and adequate energy intake (Goldstein & Fukuda, 2020).


How Can Coach Kasey Help?

Navigating these nutritional waters can be tricky, which is why I offer personalized 1:1 nutrition coaching. We can work together to create a plan that suits your individual needs, sports schedule, and personal health goals.


Top 10 Nutritional Tips for Young and Female Athletes:

  1. Balance Your Plate: Ensure it includes a mix of carbs, proteins, and fats.

  2. Hydrate Wisely: Water is key, but during long sessions, consider electrolyte replenishments.

  3. Regular Meals: Eat at regular intervals to maintain energy levels throughout the day.

  4. Pre-Practice Nutrition: Have a light meal or snack that includes easy-to-digest carbs.

  5. Post-Practice Recovery: Include protein to aid muscle recovery and carbs to replenish energy stores.

  6. Iron Checks: Regularly check your iron levels, especially if you're feeling unusually fatigued.

  7. Vitamin D: Get sunlight exposure and consume fortified foods or supplements if needed.

  8. Avoid Skipping Meals: Especially breakfast, to kickstart your metabolism.

  9. Smart Snacking: Opt for nutrient-rich snacks rather than high-sugar options.

  10. Listen to Your Body: Adjust your intake based on activity level and how you feel during training.


Interested in Personalized Nutrition Coaching?

Whether you're looking to enhance your performance, address specific nutritional deficiencies, or simply want to learn more about healthy eating for athletes, I'm here to help. Reach out to me at kasey@penquiselite.com for more information and to start your personalized nutrition journey.


Stay strong and fueled,

Coach Kasey


Reference: Goldstein, E.R., & Fukuda, D.H. (2020). Connecting Energy Availability and Iron Deficiency with Bone Health: Implications for the Female Athlete. Strength and Conditioning Journal. [National Strength and Conditioning Association].

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