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Christopher Rosimus

The body composition of a squash player may affect athletic performance as carrying excessive body fat may increase injury risk and impair agility and speed. This case study outlines the effect of a nutritional intervention on body composition, vitamin D status, and physical performance of a female squash player. A structured, 6-week, moderate energy–restricted diet (70–78% of estimated energy requirement of 2,300 kcal) was implemented with weekly support. A daily supplement of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and a multivitamin and whey protein was used. Full blood count, vitamin D status, body composition, and physical performance assessments were carried out at baseline and Week 6 of intervention. Body composition changes were measured using the BOD POD™ and skinfold calipers. Body fat was 23% at baseline and 22% at Week 6. Mean sum of eight skinfolds was 127.4 ± 2.2 mm at baseline and 107.3 ± 0.4 mm at Week 6. Lean body mass-to-fat mass ratio improved from 3.4 at baseline to 3.7 at Week 6. The greatest increments compared with baseline in serum markers were 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (68%), ferritin (31%), eosinophils (20%), and triglycerides (16%). All physical performance measures improved, with reactive strength index (4.8%), and on-court repeated speed (6.0%) showing the greatest improvements from baseline. This intervention demonstrates that structured energy restriction alongside appropriately structured strength and conditioning training is an effective way to gradually reduce the body fat and improve the body composition of a female athlete.