Nutrition and Substance Use

Lifestyle factors including nutrition and substance use are important for actively participating and transitioning elite athletes as they may substantially impact physical and mental health. Issues of relevance regarding these factors can vary depending on the phase of the athlete’s career, e.g., actively participating versus transitioning/retired. Common nutritional challenges in active elite athletes include choosing and consuming foods to provide adequate macro and micronutrients to achieve energy balance, desired body composition, and performance outcomes. Nutritional challenges in transitioning elite athletes include adjusting to lower energy needs, a change in the role of food in daily life, and accepting and adjusting to body changes (weight and body composition changes). This chapter in The Secret Balance of Champions focusses on the nutritional challenges during and after an elite sport career.

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Claudia L Reardon & Sarah van Riet

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