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Meghan Thomas1, Marcos Daou1, Patrick Saracino2, Brandon Willingham1. 1Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC. 2College of Charleston, Charleston, SC.

BACKGROUND: Energy availability (EA) is the amount of energy available for normal physiological processes and is defined as energy intake (kcals) minus exercise energy expenditure (kcals) relative to fat free mass (FFM). Low-energy availability (LEA), energy intake < 30 kcal/kg FFM/d, is the core cause of the Female Athlete Triad and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. These conditions result in various negative health and performance outcomes. A recent study reported 81% of the female collegiate athletes examined exhibited LEA. Of the 18-collegiate beach volleyball (BVB) athletes studied, average EA across 7 days was determined to be 12.44 kcal/kg FFM/d, far below the cutoff for LEA. Recently, the training and competitive demands of collegiate BVB were estimated to be 100-110 kcal/kg per week. Mean energy expenditure during competitive matches and corresponding warm-ups was found to be 15 kcal/kg. Given such high energetic demands of BVB and the known presence of LEA in these athletes, recovery across the competitive season becomes paramount. Notably, this is a 7-day snapshot of EA that may not reflect chronic dietary or training patterns. To our knowledge, no study has examined EA across the 10-week competitive season in this population. Therefore, the purpose of this cross-sectional study is two-fold, 1) to establish the current risk of LEA in female collegiate BVB athletes across the competitive season and 2) to correlate EA with measures of nutrition knowledge, psychological skills, health and performance. METHODS: We plan to recruit 18 female collegiate BVB athletes. Each subject will complete an initial visit where anthropometrics, resting metabolic rate (RMR), nutrition knowledge, psychological skills and maximal aerobic capacity will be tested. During weeks 1, 5, and 10 of the competitive season, in addition to body composition and RMR, energy intake (ASA 24) and energy expenditure (GT9X-Link) will be assessed to calculate EA. Subjective recovery scores (Total Quality of Recovery Scale) and countermovement vertical jump height, velocity, and power (GymAware) will be used to assess recovery (Weeks 1-10). Results will be analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA and Pearson Correlations. EXPECTED RESULTS: It is hypothesized that LEA will be present and EA will decline as the season progresses. Likewise, nutrition knowledge, psychological skills, and performance will be positively correlated with EA.

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