Othella Feroleto: How to Use Protein Supplements as a Female Wrestler

By Othella Feroleto

Photograph by john sachs

Photograph by john sachs

Othella Feroleto is a former athlete for the US Army World Class Athlete Program, has an extensive wrestling resume, and is now pursuing her masters degree in human-nutrition and dietetics. We are thrilled to have nutrition advice from someone who has wrestled and traveled the world. That kind of experience helps you advise younger wrestlers who are looking to reach a new level of training. 

The world of supplements can be vast, and it's important to do your research and have the correct information that best suits your needs. We asked Othella four of the most asked questions when it comes to how to start supplementing with protein.

What should I look for in terms of a good protein?

When selecting a protein supplement, it’s important to determine the reason for using it. Using protein primarily for recovery is smart, because these nutrients are best absorbed in liquid form. Vegetarians and vegans will obviously choose supplements derived only from plant sources. Dairy and animal proteins can contain more calories, and is something to consider. Pay close attention to the list of ingredients, and specifically avoid added sodium and sweeteners when possible.

The nutrition of female athletes should include those nutrients lost during natural occurrences following puberty.

When should I be taking protein?

Supplements should be used in addition to whole foods, and not as a replacement. Protein supplements are a convenient substitute for individuals with restrictive diets, when traveling for competition, or for those seeking creative ways to incorporate more protein into their diets. Protein should be consumed throughout the day, as well as within 90 minutes following vigorous physical activity.

How does it benefit a female wrestler?

It is imperative for wrestlers to have a consistently well balanced diet, as the high intensity workouts are very depleting. The amino acids found in complete proteins reconstruct muscle building tissues that are broken down during training. The nutrition for female athletes should include those nutrients lost during natural occurrences following puberty. Calcium and vitamin D are two vitamins worth mentioning and should be taken together if consumed as a supplement. Eating leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables regularly is a natural way to include vitamins and minerals needed to support bone and tissue health.

How will I know when I need protein?

Protein needs change based on the level of physical activity. Some athletes enjoy weight training more than others, and those individuals should adjust protein demands based on fluctuations in their training regimen. Be aware of what’s going into your body. Read labels and refer to a registered dietitian for expert opinions on which supplement best suits individual needs.

Othella Feroleto is a Military worlds bronze medalist, University Worlds bronze medalist, Senior world team alternate, 3x University world team member, 2x College Nationals Champ, and 2x Senior nationals runner up. She has her Bachelors of Science in Public Health and is currently pursuing her Masters degree in Human-nutrition and dietetics.