ENERGY AVAILABILITY IN YOUTH ATHLETES
We’re excited to have Sport’s Nutritionist Kate Feely guest posting on the #YADacademy blog today, utilising her extensive knowledge base to chat with you guys about all things nutrition and sport. Thanks, Kate! We’ll have to get you back again to share more of your expertise with us all soon!
As an adolescent athlete, your body requires lots of energy to grow and develop, to perform every day bodily functions, and to train and recover well. It can be tricky to eat enough foods that will support everything your body is trying to do when you have a busy schedule and high training loads that sometimes decrease your appetite.
What you want to avoid, as an athlete, is being in low or negative energy availability. Basically, this means you want to avoid burning more energy than you are putting in (in the form of food and fluids).
Some easy to identify signs and symptoms of low energy availability are:
• Low energy levels
• Struggling to get through a regular training session
• Mood swings
• Increased injuries and delayed recovery/rehabilitation time
• Getting sick often (poor immune system function)
• Regular bone injuries (e.g. stress fractures)
• Stomach upset and decreased bowel motions
• Menstrual cycle stops (for females)
If you feel like you are struggling to eat enough food, it is definitely worth speaking with a sports dietician to improve your nutrition and increase your energy availability.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kate Feely from Fitness with Food is an Accredited Sports Dietician that has worked with a number of athletes over the years, ranging from adolescents to masters age in a variety of sports at amateur to elite level. She is passionate about nutrition and takes a real balanced approach, so you enjoy what you are eating and are still able to maintain a healthy relationship with food. During her school years Kate competed at State and National level in Cross Country and Athletics, so she knows firsthand how important it is to get your nutrition on track. She continues to run, but nowadays prefers longer distances and has completed 10km runs, half marathons and full marathons, and is now beginning to give triathlons a go. Kate specialises in sports nutrition, gut health and disordered eating. You can visit Kate’s website here.