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Female Athlete Nutrition


Mar 3, 2022

In this episode, I talk with Olympic finalist in the steeplechase Val Constien. Val is not a professional runner despite being one of the best athletes in the world: she balances elite sport with a full time job. We discuss the financial reality of how Val funds her athletic goals without a sponsor, juggling training, nutrition and recovery around a normal work week. Val reminds us to believe in ourselves and not give up on our dreams regardless of whether others, including sponsors, see that potential. 

Val shares how despite being recruited to run steeplechase in college at the University of Colorado, Boulder, her start in the event was not promising. With persistence, trusting in her training and in her coaches, Val explains her steady progression. While on the track she kept chipping away, off the track was much rockier; throughout college Val faced a constant string of injuries and sickness, eating disorders and mental illness.

This episode is raw and unfiltered: Val bravely opens up about her battles with suicide and severe depression. Val shares how she became caught up in a vicious cycle: her eating disorder was fuelled by anxiety and a desire for control, restricting her food led to low bone density and injuries and illness, time off running led to weight gain and low mood which sent her back into a spiral of depression, poor body image and disordered eating. 

While college teams can be cutthroat and toxic, they can also be incredibly supportive and empathetic: Val’s experience at CU falls into the latter. We discuss how she coped being on a top NCAA D1 program, the influence of her coaches and teammates, and how it was the support of others alongside therapy and medication that ultimately saved her life. 

We discuss recovery and maintaining good mental health, understanding that these struggles don’t just disappear and diet culture exists all around. Starting her day with cookies and coffee, Val gives us insight into what fuels an Olympian (hint hint, it’s not all plain chicken and salad!).

Follow Val on Instagram @ valerieconstien

Val’s Official Bio:

Val graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in environmental engineering. Val’s first year out of college was 2019-2020 and it was a really hard year. Her second year out of college she got a full-time job and now works 40 hours a week and trains full time as well. Val’s dreams came true when she made the Tokyo 2020/21 Olympic team! Now nothing much has changed for Val and she still works full-time and trains hard. Val is hoping to run fast again this year and stay happy and healthy! 

Learn more about Lindsey's Services and the Team at Rise Up Nutrition:

www.RiseUpNutritionRUN.com

Worried that you have RED-S? Curious to know how we could help or how you can recover fast?! Download the RED-S Recovery Race & see how you place for more support: www.RiseUpNutritionRUN.com/REDS