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Case Study: Female Collegiate High Jumper

ND 549: Sports Nutrition


Sydnie Leroy
December, 2015

It is imperative for registered dietitians to be familiar with the concerns and special needs
of a athlete and to be able to tailor their dietary recommendations for their individual needs.
First, it is crucial to understand the different needs of endurance athletes as opposed to strength
athletes, but even within these broad groups there are many specific types of athletes with very
different goals. The athlete that I am going to be advising throughout this paper is a Division 1
collegiate female high jumper. This event falls into the very short duration, high intensity
category of exercises because you are typically taking only one jump at a time, then getting a
short break between jumps. One of the biggest challenges of advising an athlete like this is that
while she focuses on a very short duration, very high intensity event, not every day at practice
will be the same. Some days she may be doing longer sprints or working on endurance in order
to be able to take more high quality jumps on the day of a competition. It would be crucial to
look at her workouts for each day and determine her needs based on her training. If she is not
altering her intake daily to respond to her variable practices, she may fall short of meeting all of
her dietary needs. This athlete is approximately 59 and weighs about 135 pounds, a relatively
ideal height and weight for this sport. One of her goals is to increase her strength, but not her
weight. Another goal is to set a new PR in the high jump, and jump a height of 1.85 meters
(which would qualify her for the Division 1 National meet).
Assuming that she is a female athlete who is 59 and weighs about 135 pounds, she
would require a carbohydrate intake of about 5-7 g/kg of body weight. In this case that would be
approximately 302- 428 grams of carbohydrates per day. This is between 1208 and 1712 kcals
from carbohydrates per day, comprising between 46% and 66% of her daily intake if she is
consuming a 2600 kcal diet. For this athlete it would be extremely important to make sure that
she is properly fueled before coming to practice everyday, but especially on the day of a

competition. Because she is doing short, but high intensity exercise it is not really recommended
that she consume any carbohydrates during exercise, but being properly fueled ahead of time is
crucial. She could consume a high-carbohydrate meal approximately 1 to 4 hours before
competition. This could include a plain bagel, a granola bar, or even some crackers with
hummus. Because she may be coming straight from a class to get to practice, a granola bar or
energy bar could be great for this athlete or any other portable and packable foods. On some days
her carbohydrate needs may actually increase or she may need to consume some during her
practice if she is running long sprints or working on any endurance.
Using the recommendations for strength athletes this athlete should consume protein in
an amount between 1.2 and 1.7 g/kg of body weight. Her body weight in kilograms is about 61
kgs so she should be consuming anywhere between 73 and 104 grams of protein. This is
between 657 and 936 calories of fats per day. Out of a 2600 kcal diet, this translates to 25- 36%
of her calories from proteins. For this particular athlete, this range is very reasonable because on
some days she will be purely jumping or even lifting weights which would require the higher end
of the protein recommendation, but on some days she would be running more or working on
endurance and would only need the minimum protein recommendation. For this athlete the
timing of the protein would be critical and she should be sure to consume a high protein meal
within an hour of competing or working out. An example of an appropriate meal would be a lean
cut of meat. If she was unable to eat a full meal immediately after practice, she could consume
snacks high in protein like cup of nuts, which would give her 8g of protein, a peanut butter
sandwich on whole wheat bread, which would give her a total of about 13g of protein or even a
protein shake. Overall, it would be very easy for this athlete to find creative ways to consume
enough protein throughout the day.

If we use the recommendation of 1g fat/ kg body weight, we can determine that this
athlete that she should be consuming 61g of fat per day. Some of the other athletes on her team
may need more fats because they are endurance athletes, but because a jumper is considered a
power athlete, 1g/ kg should be plenty of fats for her. This would be about 550 calories per day
from fats. Her overall diet should contain about 2600kcal per day (42kcal/kg). This leaves 2050
kcalories for proteins and carbohydrates per day. This value of 550 calories is approximately
21% of her daily kcal from fats, which falls in the lower end of the DRVs for fats, but in the case
of this athlete, her proteins and carbohydrates would need to be higher, so this is probably
appropriate. Some of the foods that she could consume to gain high quality fats in her diets may
even overlap with some of the foods she should consume to gain high quality proteins, so when
advising this athlete you may not need to separate those recommendations. She could eat
avocados, which provide about 30g in each serving, or a whole serving of nuts or seeds, which
are both high in unsaturated fats. Meat is also another good source of fats, but it is important to
remember that these fats are saturated and therefore should be consumed in moderation.
For this particular athlete, supplementation would probably be unnecessary and would
not provide much benefit unless she was nutrient deficient in a particular vitamin or mineral. If
this athlete is consuming a variety of foods and enough macronutrients overall, she would
probably be getting more than enough vitamins and minerals through her diet and would not
benefit to any additional intake through supplementation. For this athlete, the exception could be
iron. Although she is not an endurance athlete, which would raise the likelihood, because she is a
female athlete, it would be very important to determine if this athlete was iron deficient. Many
female athletes are iron deficient and in many cases the only solution is to add a supplement to
their diet.