#20: Optimizing Female Athlete Nutrition w/ Registered Dietician Haley Vilhauer

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I hate to get caught up in the “what-if” game when I look back at my athletic career. Usually because it’s a waste of time to be stuck in the past that I can’t change, right?!

However, there is one aspect of training that I absolutely know would have made a difference for me as an athlete, had I known. 

And that’s how to properly fuel my body as a female athlete. 

Ok, to be fair, I knew the basics…

Skittles probably aren’t the best pre-match meal. 
I should drink some water. 
Veggies are always a good choice!

But, beyond that, I didn’t really consider that what I was putting into my body (and when I was doing it) could make a huge difference in my performance. 

That’s why I’m so excited to bring Haley Vilhauer on today! She’s a Certified High Performance Coach, Registered Dietitian & Functional Nutritionist and we’re chatting about how to utilize nutrition to optimize performance.

Plus, I’ll ask a few specific questions from moms in our community!

We covered a lot of topics that you won’t want to miss:

  • What exactly is a registered dietician and functional nutritionist?
  • The key drivers when it comes to optimizing performance for female athletes
  • Common nutrition pitfalls
  • Under nourishing – a serious problem!
  • Having a plan
  • Pre and post competition fueling
  • Listening to your body, testing, listening some more
  • How moms can motivate and encourage healthy eating habits without nagging (Haley’s response sounds like it’s right out of our ‘#realconfidence playbook’!)
  • To eat or not to eat sweets
  • The role of caffeine
  • How to support an iron deficiency + a tip to increase iron absorption that was new to us too!
  • Protein for a vegetarian or vegan athlete
  • Supporting growth… yes, ways to support growing taller!

A key takeaway for me is that female athlete’s bodies are different from non-female athletes, and each body is different from the next.

Female athletes require more fuel, and specific types of fuel to sustain hours of training, recovery, and performance. 

Eating and drinking the same as non-athlete friends will no doubt leave our athletes under-fueled and underperforming. 

Signs to pay attention to that athletes might be under-fueled? Getting tired mid-way through practice, feeling starving at the end of a match, inconsistent output in the weight room, persistent headaches that pop up, and more!

If I were to go back, there are a handful of things I would tell my high school self. Near the top, though, would be focusing more on key ways I could optimize my performance through the way I fuel my body. 

Which is why I’m pumped for the athletes, parents, and coaches who are learning this now! You all have the opportunity to take advantage of something I didn’t so that you can allow your female athlete to have the best opportunity to reach her potential. 

This was such a great conversation and we’re thankful to have Haley hosting a workshop with our Elite Competitor Program Athletes and then also building specific plans and providing ongoing coaching with our Dream Team!

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