Student heads study on athletes
Human performance graduate looks at caloric intake of female athletes
Originally published in the Lindenwood ‘Legacy’ newspaper, March 7, 2017
A study with the women’s basketball team hopes to improve nutrition, sleep and recovery.
Bre Zanders, a student in the human performance master’s program, is the lead investigator in a research study that monitors the caloric intake of women’s basketball players and compares it with energy expenditure over the course of their season. These two elements — the caloric intake and energy release — assist the players with finding the nutrition plans that are right for them.
“If you don’t get your right nutrition, your recovery won’t be as best as you want it to be,” Zanders said.
Throughout the study, portions of the team would wear heart-rate monitors to track their energy expenditure over the course of four days, including game days and in-season training. In addition to the heart-rate monitors, the girls would track their meals. With this data, Zanders is going to calculate the energy expenditure compared to the players’ food intake.
Since Zanders is a member of the women’s basketball team, she gets an inside perspective on how the participants act while doing this research. Since she is the investigator, she cannot participate in the study.
Chad Kerksick, director of the human performance program, said that both the team and coaches have been useful in the study.
“We talked to coach Francis ahead of time, and he was unbelievably supportive of the idea,” said Kerksick. “These studies do not happen without a coach’s approval, support and participation.”
Other members of the basketball team were unable to comment because anonymity is necessary to maintain the integrity of the study.
Zanders believes this study will benefit more than just athletes.
“Right now there’s not a lot of research on collegiate females, especially in the nutritional aspect,” said Zanders. “There’s a lot of studies on male athletes and what their nutritional habits should be, but there’s not much knowledge or information on how much a female needs to be consuming.”
Zanders said that once the in-season portion of the study is complete, the team will participate in one cycle of postseason research to compare the data.