The Female Athlete Triad

Femal Athletes Stock Photo

 This blog discusses a topic that is constantly looked over in female athletes. The drive for success in sports can often be pushed past the limits for some athletes. Pressure from parents, coaches, social media, etc, can take a nasty toll if not properly balanced. “The Female athlete triad is an interrelationship between energy availability, menstrual function, and bone mineral density. Female athletes who train for prolonged periods of time with insufficient caloric intake to meet the high energy expenditure of training and adaptations are at risk for this disorder.” (1) It is extremely important for female athletes to find a balance between proper nutrition, rest, and training. High school athletes and younger females who play multiple sports are more susceptible to this disorder. If you pay attention and catch the signs early, the athlete can avoid further complications throughout their career. Tips for female athletes include tracking their menstrual cycles, as this will play an effect on overall energy levels and disruptions in performance. Any missed or irregular cycles can be an indication of overtraining and/or the triad. Having enough meals is another huge aspect of recovery for female athletes. Many athletes in general do not consume enough calories to support the high energy demands of their sport. Eating a variety of foods and scheduling to eat at least three times a day will assist with meeting those calorie goals. Female athletes should also make sure to have at least one rest day per week to avoid burnout. There are other ways to perform active recovery without having an intense training session. Taking a walk, going for a bike ride, playing a new or different sport for fun, or taking a yoga class are all great examples of active recovery. Below is a great visual courtesy of the NSCA Strength and Conditioning Journal and YLMSPORTSCIENCE. Listed are 18 general recommendations for reducing the risks associated with intensive training and female athletes.

Diagram for female athlete traid

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