You may not realise it but athletic women could experience a variety of health concerns, ranging from digestive issues, skin problems, to irregular menstruation. Oftentimes the body is using up nutrients at such an intense level of uptake for performance and muscle repair, that it could be in a deficient state for nourishing other metabolic systems in the body.
Digestive issues such as bloating are most common when there is an underlying food intolerance not yet accurately discovered. Common culprits may be gluten or lactose, however the most accurate testing involves blood tests for antigens response in the immune system to a thorough selection of food sources.
Depending on the particular sport or competition category, athletic women may need to maintain a particular weight range, without losing muscle mass. This can be a tricky situation to navigate if you’re trying to balance it on your own. Regular monitoring with body composition scales and diet analysis ensures you stay on top of your progress, especially if you’re in training for competition season.
Banned substances according to your sporting body is another element of concern if athletic women are self-prescribing any multivitamin or supplementation formulas. Even protein powders and pre-workout or muscle recovery products these days could have hidden plant compounds which are actually banned and will show up in a drugs test. (NB: Less likely in Australia if it is a retail sports nutrition product due to Australian regulations, however if you’re ordering online from other countries then it is more risky).
Athletic women require all the same attention to detail and sports nutrition philosophies that athletic men require (and have much more literature on), yet also with added factors of nutrition for women’s health concerns, including menstruation. It is a health concern if there is irregular cycle lengths, duration, pain, cramping, or scanty bleeding. The level and intensity of your athletic sport should not be interfering with your hormones to the point of knocking over the normal balance of these cyclical processes within your body.
When there is also oral or implanted contraceptives involved, this adds further cause for side effects and overall uncomfortable symptoms.
It’s really important to speak to a professional about your individual situation if you are an athletic woman experiencing any irregularities or other symptoms. A qualified Dietician, Nutritionist or Naturopath is able to design a meal plan that works with you towards your goals and maintains muscle quality and energy for competition level performance.