Samantha Goldenstein, Mitch Zaplatosch, Laurie Wideman, FACSM. University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

BACKGROUND: Many endurance athletes are undernourished and do not consume the proper amounts of macro and micronutrients necessary for physiological processes, overall health, and athletic performance. Importantly, this puts endurance athletes at risk for low energy availability, which can lead to severe health consequences. Criterium racers complete multiple consecutive high intensity races, yet they are rarely included in research, so little is known about their energy intake patterns. METHODS: Competitive amateur criterium racers (n=8, 6 females/2 males; age=33±8.53, weight (kg)=66.67±9.38, body fat %=20.39±6.45) recorded energy intake via food logs as instructed by a registered dietitian the first day of racing. Energy intake was recorded starting the morning of the second day of racing through the end of the fourth day of racing and was analyzed by one researcher with nutrition software. RESULTS: Relative total caloric intake (41.32±9.87 kcal/kg) did not vary by day (p=.949,) but did by participant (p=.013), ranging from 22.64-60.60 kcal/kg/day. Based off sports nutrition recommendations for endurance athletes, racers demonstrated low carbohydrate (5.37±1.33 g/kg/day) with adequate fat intake (1.46±.38 g/kg/day) and protein intake (1.75±.39 g/kg/day), albeit on the higher end of the recommendations. Only 13% met the calcium recommended dietary allowance (RDA) (m=724.10±197.71, f=1062.92±535.04) while 38% met the RDA for iron (m=13.51±3.29, f=14.39±5.17) and magnesium (Mg) (m=216.15±131.21, f=307.69±193.22). Additionally, 50% met the recommended adequate intake (AI) for fiber (m=22.29±4.19, f=29.10±7.01). Only one racer met the RDA for iron, Mg, and calcium and AI for fiber. CONCLUSIONS: Within a given racer, 4 days of criterium racing did not influence daily energy intake. Yet, large interindividual variability in total energy intake was observed. Additionally, carbohydrate intake was lower than the recommended 7-10 g/kg/day during competition and micronutrient intake was rarely met. Given the well-documented association between low carbohydrate intake with low energy availability, overtraining, and micronutrient deficiencies, balancing macronutrients and increasing carbohydrate intake is important for this group of racers. These findings indicate further investigation with a larger sample that also evaluates energy availability and symptoms associated with low energy availability is warranted.

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