26 Jan Better Body Composition Improves Performance in Female Athletes
First things first: it’s okay to chase muscle and build better body composition. When we are talking to female athletes who want to raise the ceiling on their performance – their speed, change of direction ability, endurance, and power output – having more muscle is better.When we are talking to female athletes who want to raise the ceiling on their performance - their speed, change of direction ability, endurance, and power output, having more muscle is better Click To Tweet
While some mainstream magazines and social media accounts will say to young girls, “just love your body as is!” it becomes problematic when we aren’t educating female athletes on what it actually takes to become better athletes: more muscle. So, your body does have to change and girls have to eat and train in a way to accomplish muscular hypertrophy and strength.
This doesn’t mean we should say things that perpetuate diet culture like “lose weight” or “get skinnier.” Yeah, definitely don’t say that.
Instead, frame it to be muscle-centric. That’s it.
Girls should not be afraid of putting on muscle, a critical organ for athletic performance, brain function, and immune system health. Typically, when a girl puts on lean muscle mass, her weight goes up, so don’t freak out. It’s a good thing.Girls should not be afraid of putting on muscle, a critical organ for athletic performance, brain function, and immune system health. Click To Tweet
Other benefits to more muscle:
- Regulates blood sugar.
- Builds stamina and heart health.
- Supports the joints.
- Builds strong bones.
- Makes girls confident.
There’s something powerful about the physical health benefits of more muscle, but the mental benefits are absolutely magical. The more lean muscle mass I have, the better I feel – confident, energized, and focused.
One of my favorite doctors who has decades of clinical experience under her belt, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, says that the more muscle a human has, the greater their chance to survive, live longer, and live more vibrantly.
I highly recommend you check out her work. She says that we don’t have a fat problem, but instead, a lack of muscle problem. It is paramount to build muscle first, then the rest falls into place, and fat melts away.
The more muscle one has, the more they will reduce fat and improve overall body composition. “Reduce fat” tends to trigger a lot of folks, but when you look at the science behind body composition and performance, it is hard to argue. Body composition does matter.
Again, this does not mean we perpetuate a restrictive diet culture. In fact, far, far from it.
Building more muscle and reducing fat actually means adding things:
– Adding more total body strength training
– Progressing with more load
– Beating new personal records
– Consuming more high quality protein
– Consuming more calories on heavy training and game days
I repeat: building more muscle and reducing fat means adding things, not subtracting things.Building more muscle and reducing fat means adding things, not subtracting things Click To Tweet
This is why education for female athletes is key surrounding improved body composition. We must encourage them to nourish, fuel, and train their bodies in a way that builds them up. More muscle protects the joints, and if a female athlete does not have enough of this crucial organ, the forces from high velocities movements will go straight to the joints and tendons and may cause injury.This is why education for female athletes is key surrounding body composition. We must encourage them to nourish, fuel, and train their bodies in a way that builds them up. Click To Tweet
I implore you to check out the studies below on body composition impact on female athlete performance. You will see a common theme that the more muscle girls have, the more they can control their momentum, produce more force, and maintain their endurance throughout competition.
The Importance of Tracking Body Composition
NSCA Sport Performance and Body Composition
Changes in Body Composition and Its Relationship to Performance in Elite Track and Field Athletes
Ideal Body Weight and Athletic Performance
The Effect of Body Composition on Strength and Power
The Relationship of Strength and Body Composition to Vertical Jump Ability in Division 1 Female Volleyball Players
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