What Female Athletes Really Need for Optimal Sports Performance
Overcoming the cultural stereotype that women in sports should be skinny is important, not only from an ethical point of view but also from a nutritional one. Female athletes have particular nutrition needs, and it’s important to address them properly.
3 Essential Tips for Female Athletes
Avoid calorie restriction
Athletes spend great amounts of energy training and they need proper nutrition to fuel their workout and to recover after it. If athletes consume fewer calories than the ones they burn through exercise, it will affect their performance and overall health.
This is especially important for female athletes: if they restrict their calorie intake too much, it might lead to what is known as the Female Athlete Triad. In the Female Athlete Triad, we see low energy availability that can lead to other health issues.
Taking adequate protein
Sometimes, female athletes skimp on protein intake for fear of getting big, bulky muscles. However, just consuming enough protein won’t lead to that. Unless women specifically train to bulk up, they will develop lean, strong muscles, but that still requires adequate protein.
For maximum benefit, female athletes should consume between 20 to 40 grams of high-quality protein within 30 to 45 minutes after a workout. A post-workout shake is a convenient way to get that protein in. It can be made from dairy (whey or casein) protein or from plant-based sources like soy. Try Herbalife24 Rebuild Strength† (SKU# 1459).
Staying Properly Hydrated
During a vigorous workout, female athletes should drink lots of fluids with added electrolytes and carbohydrates. Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, are lost through sweat and carbohydrates supply muscles with the glucose required to maintain peak performance.
Try Herbalife24 Hydrate† (SKU# 1458).
By Dr Dana Ryan
PH.D., MBA, M.A.
Director, Sports Performance & Education, Herbalife Nutrition.
† Always read the label – use only as directed. This food is not a sole source of nutrition and should be consumed in conjunction with a nutritious diet and an appropriate physical training or exercise program. Not suitable for children under 15 years of age or pregnant women: should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision.