Energy Expenditure of Female International Standard Soccer Players: A Doubly Labeled Water Investigation

Energy Expenditure of Female International Standard Soccer Players: A Doubly Labeled Water Investigation

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Purpose:

The purpose of this study is to quantify total daily energy expenditure (TEE) of international adult female soccer players.

Methods:

Twenty-four professional players were studied during a 12-d period where they participated in an international training camp (also inclusive of two competitive games) representing the English national team. The TEE was assessed via the doubly labeled water method during the full 12 d as well as the initial 4-d period before game one. Energy intake was also assessed (via weighed food analysis) during the initial 4-d period to permit estimation of energy availability (EA).

Results:

Mean TEE did not differ (P = 0.31) between the 12-d (2693 ± 432 kcal·d−1 ; range, 2105–3507 kcal·d−1 ; 54 ± 6 kcal·kg−1 fat-free mass [FFM]) versus the 4-d assessment period (2753 ± 359 kcal·d−1 ; range, 1942–3280 kcal·d−1 ; 56 ± 8 kcal·kg−1 FFM). Mean 4-d energy intake was 1923 ± 357 kcal·d−1 (range, 1639–2172 kcal·d−1 ) and mean activity energy expenditure was 1069 ± 278 kcal·d−1 (range, 155–1549 kcal·d−1 ). When assessed for estimated EA, 88% of players were categorized with low EA status according to the threshold of <30 kcal·kg−1 FFM. Mean daily carbohydrate intake equated to 3.3 ± 0.7 g·kg−1 body mass.

Conclusions: When compared with previously published data from adult male players, we demonstrate that the relative daily energetic requirements of engaging in professional soccer training and match play are comparable between sexes. From a practical perspective, data suggest that practitioners should likely focus education and behavior change strategies on “fuelling” for match play and training to optimize both player health and performance