Energy balance and energy availability of female basketball players during the preparation period

J Am Nutr Assoc. 2023 Nov-Dec;42(8):807-813. doi: 10.1080/27697061.2023.2183432. Epub 2023 Feb 27.


Objective: To determine the level of energy balance and energy availability (EA) in female basketball players during the preparation period.

Methods: Fifteen basketball players (age: 19.53 ± 1.3 years; height: 173.6 ± 8.95 cm; weight: 67.55 ± 14.34 kg; training experience: 9.6 ± 2.7 years) and 15 age and body mass index-matched controls (age: 19.53 ± 1.1 years; height: 169.4 ± 5.06 cm; weight: 63.10 ± 6.14 kg) participated in the study. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body composition were measured by the indirect calorimetric method and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, respectively. A 3-day food diary was used to determine macronutrients and energy intake while a 3-day physical activity log was used to determine energy expenditure. Independent Samples t-test was used for data analysis.

Results: The daily energy intake and expenditure of female basketball players were 2136.5 ± 594.9 kcal·day-1 and 2953.8 ± 614.5 kcal·day-1, respectively, indicating 817 ± 779 kcal·day-1 of negative energy balance. One hundred percent and 66.6% of the athletes failed to meet the carbohydrate and protein intake recommendations, respectively. EA of female basketball players was 33.04 ± 15.69 kcal·fat free mass-1·day-1 and the percentages of athletes who had negative energy balance, low EA, and reduced EA were 80%, 40%, and 46.7%, respectively. However, despite the low and decreased EA, the measured RMR to predicted RMR ratio (RMRratio) was 1.31 ± 0.17 and the body fat percentage (BF%) was 31.00 ± 5.21%.

Conclusion: This study shows that female basketball players have a negative energy balance during the preparation period which can be partly explained by insufficient carbohydrate intake. Although most of the athletes experienced low or reduced EA during the preparation period, the physiologically normal RMRratio and relatively high BF% indicate that this is a transient situation. In this regard, strategies to prevent the development of low EA and negative energy balance during the preparation period will contribute to positive training adaptations throughout the competition period.

Keywords: Basketball; energy availability; energy balance; female athlete.