ReFuel Summer 2019:20 - Page 15

AFLW PRE-SEASON NUTRITION GOALS @ Carlton Football Club ay good-bye to your off-season break and hello to late nights, countless emails and ever-growing to-do lists. Yes, it’s that time of the year. Already! Time to call upon your multitude of skills and get the ball rolling (pun intended). Pre-season has arrived. S A well-structured pre-season is the key to a successful home and away competition for my AFL women. SCREENING Whether our athletes are new to the club or returning, nutrition screening is a must. A brief questionnaire is filled out at the start of pre-season with the aim of highlighting individual nutrition and performance goals. It also helps guide my education, targeting common trends amongst the group. Skinfold measurements are taken on each player at the beginning of pre-season and then at the end. Changes in body composition help explore the effect of training and the nutritional intervention, adding quantitative value to the assessment/evaluation. The data collected is then interpreted and used to guide both individual and group nutrition interventions. As time is limited with the players individually, I make the most of this opportunity and provide individualised feedback and support where required. It’s often during these one-on-one conversations, I’ll pick up on things that I otherwise would have missed, making it an essential part of the screening process. Social media is another great way Accredited Sports Dietitians share their knowledge and expertise in a timely manner. I’ll use this space to communicate with the group quite frequently, posting recipes, handy hints, and reminders to fuel and hydrate. Reiterating key messages goes a long way. FOOD SERVICE/MEAL PLANNING A dietitian is the most qualified person at a club when it comes to planning meals. Why? We have the skillset to assess and calculate total energy and nutrient requirements for both individuals and teams - so it’s a no brainer we take the driver’s seat on the food service bus. I also meet with caterers and discuss suitable meal options for training sessions, specifying any dietary requirements. One goal for athletes during pre-season is to improve fuel efficiency. Developing a periodised carbohydrate plan in accordance with training loads set by the high performance team assists in driving metabolic adaptations. Dietitian’s play a vital role in preparing athletes for competition. The pre- season period is crucial for laying the foundations in education and setting up systems that aim to improve athletic performance and development. A well-structured nutrition program developed and implemented by an Accredited Sports Dietitian can make all the difference to the team’s success come Round One. EDUCATION With limited time and resources, group education is the MVP! The needs of the group will be addressed and my overall goals for pre- season are to ensure athletes are eating enough to support their training loads, that they’re recovering adequately from session to session, and their nutrient intake is optimal for performance and everyday functioning. KRISTEN PAPATHANASIOU Kristen is an Accredited Sports Dietitian working with the AFLW Carlton Football Club and in private practice at Alphington Sports Medicine Clinic. SUBSCRIBE HERE Summer 2019-20 ReFuel Magazine 15