Inadequate energy can cause an athlete’s performance to suffer: Precision and power declines, speed and strength diminish and the athlete fatigues more rapidly. Inadequate calories, unbalanced and infrequent eating episodes, and less-than-optimal fluid intake can contribute to a lack of energy.

Add diminished energy to the fact that tennis is often played in extreme temperatures (at which appetite may decrease due to heat and humidity) and we have an athlete headed for impaired performance.

An exercising individual cannot function on fumes, and energy requirements are not “one size fits all.” Calorie requirements are based on body weight. The more one weighs, the higher the requirement. Here are the equations to calculate your energy and fluid needs:

Weight (pounds) x 23 = number of calories needed on a daily basis
Weight x .67 = minimum number of ounces of fluid per day

According to these equations, a 120-pound female tennis player needs approximately 2,760 calories per day and a minimum of 80 ounces of fluid.

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She should eat the higher number of servings for each food group on the food guide pyramid to achieve 2,200 per calories per day. Follow these guidelines to achieve this caloric level: Meal Calories
Breakfast 600
Mid-morning 200
Lunch 700
Mid-afternoon 300
Dinner 600
Evening Snack 300

Each meal or snack should include:
carbohydrates ( rice, pasta, bread, cereal, fruits, vegetables or sweets)
protein ( poultry, fish, meat, eggs, cheese, soy, dried beans or nuts)
fat (oil, nuts or nut butters)

Many athletes experiment with different eating patterns, including the latest fads. Energy for exercise is derived primarily from carbohydrate-containing foods. To ensure adequate energy for practice and competition, each meal should be two-thirds carbohydrate, whether in a solid or liquid form. A meal of salad and chicken without bread, crackers or fruit will leave an athlete tired and weak during practice and competition.

Sample Meal Plan — 2,700 Calories
Cinnamon-raisin bagel with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
8-ounce glass of orange juice
8-ounce glass of water
Sports bar (with at least 30 grams of carbohydrate)

12-ounce glass of water
Tuna salad sandwich with 3 ounces of tuna and 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise on 2 slices of whole grain bread with lettuce and tomato
Piece of fruit 12-ounce glass of cranberry juice and seltzer water

8-ounce flavored yogurt with Ѕ cup of cereal mixed in 12-ounce glass of water

2 cups of pasta with sauce

Salad with a 3-ounce chicken breast and 2 tablespoons of dressing

12-ounce glass of low-fat milk
1 cup of frozen yogurt or sherbet

12-ounce glass of lemonade or other non-caffeinated beverage

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