As an athlete, being at the top of your performance requires you to be at the top of your fitness. Women athletes face numerous fitness challenges, including hormonal and physical problems related to menstruation, dietary needs related to hormonal highs and lows associated with pregnancy and childbirth, and other complications. All these hitches can negatively impact your performance in training sessions and on the field. Despite these obstacles, you must strive to stay on top of your game while juggling apt training and appropriate nutrition.
If you are an aspiring woman athlete, working on your health and fitness regime is the first step towards a stellar sports career. We have compiled a list of health and fitness tips to boost your strength and help you give your best on the field.
- Hire a sports nutritionist
Whatever sport you choose, your optimal health requires more than training and a strength-building exercise routine. An appropriate nutrition program can greatly influence top performance in athletes, regardless of gender. A sports nutritionist is the ideal resource to help you with physical fitness. Any nutritionist with the appropriate degree knows exactly where and how to work on an athlete’s fitness.
During their degree program, they are trained to design specific plans to increase athletes’ stamina, muscle, and tendon strength. Find a nutritionist that is qualified, has a masters in sports nutrition, and is keen to professionally advise players on how to maintain a top fitness regimen. This degree program enables them to research current issues in sports nutrition and how diet can impact rehabilitation, effort, and stamina.
2. Build your core strength
Your athletic performance is greatly influenced by how you practice your sport, both during planned training sessions and during the offseason. Building core strength is the best a female athlete can do for her body and prevent herself from severe injuries. A strong core means building a strong lower spinal area to function effectively and boost joint strength. Focus more on strengthening your abdominal belt region, which would toughen your lower back and promote a strong core.
3. Stronger bones for better fitness
Most of your bone strength is gained during adolescence and peaks around your late 20s. By the time most females start focusing on their bone strength, it’s already too late. After 30, female bones start to weaken till they reach menopause.
If you aspire to become an athlete during your teenage, that’s the right time to start working on your bone strength. Apportioned calorie intake, calcium-rich foods, and Vitamin D are vital to your strength training. Even if you are in your late 20s, weight-bearing exercises are a great way to maintain your bone strength.
4. Weight Bearing and Strength Training
As discussed above, strength training and weight-bearing exercises are imperative to build bone health. Female athletes require more focused and frequent workout sessions for their bodies to respond. The earlier you start participating in training like tennis, weight lifting, and gym training, the more bone density you will build.
Strength training also includes rope climbing, the use of resistance bands, medicine ball throw, sprint training, jumping, and split squats. All of these are targeted muscle and strength-building exercises to help you become stronger athletes.
5. Adequate calorie consumption
Women athletes differ from men not just in weight but also in their nutritional needs considering body composition and hormonal changes. Women tend to cut down on their calorie intake in hopes of slimming down while fostering the wrong idea that slimming down would boost their fitness and strength. It is rather contrary to what most women perceive. A drastic cut down on calories results in hormonal imbalances and energy depletion.
Being an athlete, you should focus more on a nutrient-dense diet rather than the amount of food. You must calculate the calories you burn during your strength training sessions and consume your food accordingly. Listen to your body, and eat a balanced meal when you feel hungry.
6. Proteins, Iron, and Vitamins upkeep
Women have a natural tendency to worry more about the fats they consume. You can avert overthinking by incorporating healthy alternatives in your daily food intake, including healthy fats, protein-rich foods, and fruits and vegetables. High protein intake helps build muscle strength, and a healthy protein portion in your meal can help lower the risks of muscle injury.
According to a rough estimate, around 35% of females are Vitamin D deficient worldwide. Iron is crucial to keep oxygen flowing to your organs and muscles, apart from averting the hormonal imbalances caused by menstrual flow. Iron deficiency results in muscle cramping and severe muscle damage. These vitamins and minerals are crucial for women in general to boost immunity and even more vital for athletes to keep up with their fitness.
Recommended daily nutrient intake for female athletes is – Protein 1.2 to 2.0 gm/kg body weight – Calcium 1600 m/day – Iron 18 mg/day – Vitamin D 800 IU/day. If you think your meals are not supporting your body, consult your sports nutritionist to get a prescribed supplement fit for your athletic regime.
7. Hydration is the key
One cannot ignore the importance of hydration for an athlete, as the sweat rate during game time and training requires your body to keep up with fluid intake with added minerals and electrolytes. In the hours leading up to your training and practice, you must consume ample water to keep your body from getting dehydrated. During the training, keep consuming water every 15 to 20 minutes. Dehydration severely affects your muscle strength, other than posing a serious threat to organs as well.
Being a female athlete requires strength, dedication, and resilience, which emanate from a strong mind and a strong body. It largely depends on how you strive to become your healthiest, fittest self. All the factors discussed in this article would help you recognize the fundamental areas you need to work on to achieve optimal performance on the ground and during practice. Staying healthy and loving yourself must be the prime goal to achieve confidence for peak performance.
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