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Adequate Nutrition For Performance and Health for Female Cross Country Skiers

Mon, Jun  11, 2007 - By FIS

Female athletes have been involved in elite sports for a much shorter period than their male counterparts. In winter sports particularly, female Olympians represent less than one fourth of the female Olympians typically involved in summer sports. Thus, it is not surprising that nutrition research in several areas pertaining to the health and performance of female winter sport athletes, and the application into practice on the level of coaching is delayed. Nevertheless, data are available, although limited, to summarize sport nutrition concepts for female winter sport athletes. In addition, extrapolating from studies conducted in elite summer sports has greatly enhanced our understanding of the issues related to female-specific nutrition as they apply to winter sports.

The FIS's "The Role of Adequate Nutrition For Performance and Health for Female Cross Country Skiers 2006/2007" is intended to provide updated knowledge and strategic approaches in nutrition that can be applied to the health and performance of female cross-country skiers.

The brochure (70 pages, 540 Kb) updates an earlier version published in 2003.


  • Chapter 1 introduces the topics of energy expenditure, body composition, and selective fuel use during exercise under normal and environmentally challenging conditions for the female cross-country skier.

  • Chapter 2, 3, and 4 represent the body of this brochure with focus on macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fat), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and trace elements), and fluid intake. In addition to current knowledge in sport nutrition, each chapter provides a variety of practical strategies for the female cross-country skier to use for training and competition.

  • Chapter 5 addresses nutritional factors related to fatigue.

  • Chapter 6 discusses The Female Athlete Triad and illustrates issues of low energy availability, disordered eating, menstrual irregularities, and consequences on bone health. This chapter provides key issues in the process of identification of athletes with the Triad and strategies for treatment and prevention.

  • Chapter 7 gives an overview of dietary supplements and offers details on creatine, caffeine, and sodium bicarbonate followed by a large section on sports foods, fluids, gels, and bars with guidelines for use during training and competition. Finally,

  • Chapter 8 focuses on the athlete traveling during training and competition.

The last part of this brochure is dedicated to resources including a large Appendix (A - H) with tools, lists, and menu examples for the practitioner to use when working with the female cross-country skier.