Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Meals for Muscle

Q: Can you recommend a good nutritional diet for beginning female body builders?

Dallas, Texas

A: The most common mistake body builders make is to eat huge amounts of protein in the belief that it will build muscle. In fact, only exercise builds muscle.

For the average active woman, about 15 percent of her daily caloric intake should be pure protein - that works out to about five ounces of protein-rich food per day. Excess protein has to be converted to energy by the body, a process that stresses the kidneys.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out how many ounces of protein you're getting, since most diet and nutrition books and the nutrition information panels on packaged foods list it by grams.

You may want to use this formula: your body weight x .4 = recommended daily intake of protein, in grams. For example, a 125-pound woman should eat about 50 grams per day.

If measuring and multiplying is not your forte, however, just make an effort to eat a small serving of a protein-rich food at each meal. Two glasses of milk, a small bowl of cereal, two slices of bread and a small chicken breast would provide an ample day's supply.

Energy for muscular activity and development is best provided for by complex carbohydrates such as fruits, grains and vegetables. Any athlete's diet should be high in complex carbohydrates - about 60 to 70 percent of your day's calories.

Fat is probably the bane of every body builder. Women's bodies are an average of 20 to 25 percent fat, but body builders strive for lower percentages to better display their hard-earned muscles. Bringing the body fat level down is best accomplished by reducing dietary fat and increasing the metabolic rate with daily aerobic exercise.

A balanced diet for a body builder should contain no more than 30 percent fat, but can be lowered to 10 or 15 percent if you have the self-discipline.

Beware of fad diets, fasting, induced vomiting and use of laxatives, diet pills and diuretics. These practices are prevalent in body building, but they only help you lose water, not fat, and often contribute to the loss of muscle tissue.

Good luck!

About the authors: Carol L. Otis, M.D., is Chief Medical Advisor to the Sanex WTA and a UCLA student health physician. Roger Goldingay is a former professional soccer player. They are married and the co-authors of The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

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