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Calorie Requirements for Young Competitive Female Athletes

doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e318264c8b3
DEPARTMENTS: Wouldn’t You Like To Know

My daughter is a successful competitive high school swimmer who trains at least a couple hours each day, including swimming and some resistance training. She was at an apparently healthy weight before the start of the season, but she has unintentionally lost 15 lbs during the past month as the training levels have increased (currently 118 lbs and 5′9″). She swims in the morning and afternoon for a total of about 2.5 hours each day plus the normal schedule of school classes. I’m worried about the drop in her body weight, which appears to include loss of muscle. She complains of feeling tired all of the time, plus her periods which were quite regular have been absent the last couple months. Some of the other parents said this is just part of being at a higher level of competition but I’m worried. Is this situation normal?

Barbara A. Bushman, Ph.D., FACSM, is a professor at Missouri State University. She holds four ACSM certifications: Program Director, Clinical Exercise Specialist, Health Fitness Specialist, and Personal Trainer. Dr. Bushman has authored papers related to menopause, factors influencing exercise participation, and deep water run training; she authored ACSM’s Action Plan for Menopause (Human Kinetics, 2005), edited ACSM’s Complete Guide to Fitness & Health (Human Kinetics, 2011) and promotes health/fitness at http://www.Facebook.com/FitnessID.

Disclosure: The author declares no conflict of interest and does not have any financial disclosures.

© 2012 American College of Sports Medicine.