The relationship between hourly energy balance and fat mass in female collegiate soccer players


  • Christian E. Behrens University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States
  • Ashley Delk-Licata University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States
  • Dan Benardot Georgia State University & Emory University, United States
  • Brenda M. Bertrand University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States
  • Paula C. Chandler-Laney University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States
  • Eric P. Plaisance University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States
  • José R. Fernández University of Alabama at Birmingham, United States



Body composition, Sports nutrition, Athlete, Sport performance, Diet


Introduction: Soccer athletes have better performance if they maintain low fat mass (FM) relative to fat-free mass. Recent evidence suggests that maintenance of energy balance (EB) is associated with lower FM in athletes. Prior studies have used daily EB rather than hourly, but this approach does not consider duration of time athletes spend in EB versus surplus or deficit. Objective: Test the hypotheses that (1) time spent in EB is inversely associated with FM, and (2) athletes with mean hourly EB in the deficit range have lower FM than those in balance or surplus. Methods: Collegiate female soccer players (n = 20) were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. A 3-day diet/activity record was obtained and analysed to estimate EB in hourly increments. Hourly EB was categorized as: Surplus, > 400 kcal EB; Balance, between ± 400 kcal EB; Deficit, < -400 kcal EB. Total hours spent in each category and mean EB (kcals) was calculated from the 3-day period. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis was used to derive indices of FM (total FM in kg, % fat, fat mass index). Pearson correlations evaluated associations between FM measures and time spent in each EB category. One-way ANOVA with Tukey post-hoc testing was used to assess differences in FM among athletes stratified into surplus, balance, or deficit based on mean hourly EB. Results: Hourly energy deficit was associated with higher FM compared to energy surplus or balance. Conclusion: Female collegiate soccer players who sustain EB during the day, and limit time spent in energy deficit, had lower FM measures.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases


Download data is not yet available.


Basiotis, P. P., Welsh, S. O., Cronin, F. J., Kelsay, J. L., & Mertz, W. (1987). Number of days of food intake records required to estimate individual and group nutrient intakes with defined confidence. J Nutr, 117(9), 1638-1641.

Benardot, D. (1996). Working with young athletes: views of a nutritionist on the sports medicine team. Int J Sport Nutr, 6(2), 110-120.

Benardot, D. (2007). Timing of energy and fluid intake: New Concepts for Weight Control and Hydration. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal, 11(4), 13-19.

Bingham, S. A., & Day, N. E. (1997). Using biochemical markers to assess the validity of prospective dietary assessment methods and the effect of energy adjustment. Am J Clin Nutr, 65(4 Suppl), 1130s-1137s.

Bingham, S. A., Gill, C., Welch, A., Day, K., Cassidy, A., Khaw, K. T., . . . Day, N. E. (1994). Comparison of dietary assessment methods in nutritional epidemiology: weighed records v. 24 h recalls, food-frequency questionnaires and estimated-diet records. Br J Nutr, 72(4), 619-643.

Deutz, R. C., Benardot, D., Martin, D. E., & Cody, M. M. (2000). Relationship between energy deficits and body composition in elite female gymnasts and runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 32(3), 659-668.

Devlin, B. L., Kingsley, M., Leveritt, M. D., & Belski, R. (2017). Seasonal Changes in Soccer Players' Body Composition and Dietary Intake Practices. J Strength Cond Res, 31(12), 3319-3326.

Elliott-Sale, K. J., Tenforde, A. S., Parziale, A. L., Holtzman, B., & Ackerman, K. E. (2018). Endocrine Effects of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 28(4), 335-349.

Fahrenholtz, I. L., Sjodin, A., Benardot, D., Tornberg, A. B., Skouby, S., Faber, J., . . . Melin, A. K. (2018). Within-day energy deficiency and reproductive function in female endurance athletes. Scand J Med Sci Sports, 28(3), 1139-1146.

Hall, K. D., Heymsfield, S. B., Kemnitz, J. W., Klein, S., Schoeller, D. A., & Speakman, J. R. (2012). Energy balance and its components: implications for body weight regulation. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 95(4), 989-994.

Keay, N., Francis, G., & Hind, K. (2018). Low energy availability assessed by a sport-specific questionnaire and clinical interview indicative of bone health, endocrine profile and cycling performance in competitive male cyclists. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 4(1), e000424-e000424.

Ma, Y., Olendzki, B. C., Pagoto, S. L., Hurley, T. G., Magner, R. P., Ockene, I. S., . . . Hébert, J. R. (2009). Number of 24-Hour Diet Recalls Needed to Estimate Energy Intake. Ann Epidemiol, 19(8), 553-559.

Manore, M. M. (2013). Weight management in the performance athlete. Nestle Nutr Inst Workshop Ser, 75, 123-133.

Melzer, K. (2011). Carbohydrate and fat utilization during rest and physical activity. e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, 6(2), e45-e52.

Mountjoy, M., Sundgot-Borgen, J., Burke, L., Ackerman, K. E., Blauwet, C., Constantini, N., . . . Budgett, R. (2018). International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): 2018 Update. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 28(4), 316-331.

Mountjoy, M., Sundgot-Borgen, J., Burke, L., Carter, S., Constantini, N., Lebrun, C., . . . Ljungqvist, A. (2014). The IOC consensus statement: beyond the Female Athlete Triad--Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). Br J Sports Med, 48(7), 491-497.

Mountjoy, M., Sundgot-Borgen, J., Burke, L., Carter, S., Constantini, N., Lebrun, C., . . . Ljungqvist, A. (2015). Authors' 2015 additions to the IOC consensus statement: Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). Br J Sports Med, 49(7), 417-420.

Mulligan, K., & Butterfield, G. E. (1990). Discrepancies between energy intake and expenditure in physically active women. Br J Nutr, 64(1), 23-36.

National Research Council Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary, A. (1989). The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. In Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US) Copyright (c) 1989 by the National Academy of Sciences.

Nevill, A., Holder, R., & Watts, A. (2009). The changing shape of "successful" professional footballers. J Sports Sci, 27(5), 419-426.

Nicolozakes, C. P., Schneider, D. K., Rower, B., Borchers, J., & Hewett, T. E. (2017). Influence of Body Composition on Functional Movement Screen Scores in Collegiate Football Players. J Sport Rehabil, 1-21.

Ortega, R. M., Perez-Rodrigo, C., & Lopez-Sobaler, A. M. (2015). Dietary assessment methods: dietary records. Nutr Hosp, 31 Suppl 3, 38-45.

Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee report, 2008. To the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Part A: executive summary. (2009). Nutr Rev, 67(2), 114-120.

Rodriguez, N. R., Di Marco, N. M., & Langley, S. (2009). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 41(3), 709-731.

Saltzman, E., & Roberts, S. B. (1995). The role of energy expenditure in energy regulation: findings from a decade of research. Nutr Rev, 53(8), 209-220.

Schoenfeld, B. J., Aragon, A. A., & Krieger, J. W. (2015). Effects of meal frequency on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis. Nutr Rev, 73(2), 69-82.

Schroder, H., Covas, M. I., Marrugat, J., Vila, J., Pena, A., Alcantara, M., & Masia, R. (2001). Use of a three-day estimated food record, a 72-hour recall and a food-frequency questionnaire for dietary assessment in a Mediterranean Spanish population. Clin Nutr, 20(5), 429-437.

Thompson, J., Manore, M. M., & Skinner, J. S. (1993). Resting metabolic rate and thermic effect of a meal in low- and adequate-energy intake male endurance athletes. Int J Sport Nutr, 3(2), 194-206.

US Department of Agriculture, A. R. S., Nutrient Data Laboratory (2015). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Version 28.

VanItallie, T. B., Yang, M. U., Heymsfield, S. B., Funk, R. C., & Boileau, R. A. (1990). Height-normalized indices of the body's fat-free mass and fat mass: potentially useful indicators of nutritional status. Am J Clin Nutr, 52(6), 953-959.

Yang, Y. J., Kim, M. K., Hwang, S. H., Ahn, Y., Shim, J. E., & Kim, D. H. (2010). Relative validities of 3-day food records and the food frequency questionnaire. Nutr Res Pract, 4(2), 142-148.

Yuan, C., Wee Kheng, L., & Thiam Chye, L. (2012, 9-11 Jan. 2012). Automatic identification of Frankfurt plane and mid-sagittal plane of skull. Paper presented at the 2012 IEEE Workshop on the Applications of Computer Vision (WACV).


Statistics RUA



How to Cite

Behrens, C. E., Delk-Licata, A., Benardot, D., Bertrand, B. M., Chandler-Laney, P. C., Plaisance, E. P., & Fernández, J. R. (2020). The relationship between hourly energy balance and fat mass in female collegiate soccer players. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(4), 735–746.



Sport Medicine, Nutrition & Health