What is RED-S?

RED-S stands for Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport and is exactly what the name implies: a shortage of energy available to keep up with the demands of exercise, on top of essential daily functions. When the delicate balance between energy intake and expenditure is tipped in the direction of low energy availability over a period of time, it can negatively affect almost every system in the body. This incredibly common issue among male and female exercisers can carry serious health and performance consequences. As an athlete, or someone who supports one in any capacity, we recommend getting to grips with the signs and symptoms, alongside common causes, and how you can play your part in prevention.

What's our mission?

Our mission is twofold: 1) to raise awareness of RED-S and the dangers it poses to an athlete’s health and performance; and 2) to provide a platform that signposts athletes, their coaches and loved ones to the right support. We know this issue can feel overwhelming, but we want you to know you are not alone - far from it - and together, we can be a force for change.

Who are we?

Pippa Woolven

GB Athlete & RED-S Mentor

2x English Schools & 4x British University Championships titles
Commonwealth Games, European XC Championships & World XC Championships competitor
University of Birmingham & University of East London (UK) and Florida State University (USA)
MSc Positive Psychology & Coaching (IT)

I’ve been a competitive athlete for over a decade, experiencing my fair share of highs, lows and RED-S. I ticked off the initial (and artificial) performance enhancement, swiftly followed by extreme fatigue, a stress fracture, an eating disorder and the identity crisis that accompanies being cast out of the sport you love. I know how it feels to be stuck in a rut with no idea why or how it happened, but now, from years of trial, error, research and experience, I know what it takes to get out too. My goal with Project RED-S is to increase awareness of this frighteningly common problem and help others find the answers they need to solve it.

Holly Brooks

USA Olympic Cross-Country Skier, Professional Counselor

2x USA Cross Country Skiing Olympian (Vancouver 2010 & Sochi 2014)
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Alaska (USA) 
Member of the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee Athlete Advisory Council (2017-2021) 
National Team Member, then Board Member for the US Ski & Snowboard Team (2012-2021) 

As a former pro athlete and now advocate and therapist for athletes, I often describe my work as operating at the intersection of mental health and performance. I'm intimately aware of the sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance that athletes leverage to improve in their sport and how close many athletes associate results with their identity and self worth. Over the years I have seen too many teammates, competitors, friends, and clients be ruined by the "win at all costs" mentality and I believe that something needs to change. My personal experience with RED-S led me down a long & painful road of infertility to start my family. Today my passion revolves around helping athletes to avoid these traps and find sustainability and joy in sport - even at the highest level. 


Rich Peters

Fast runner, RED-S supporter

Rich is a retired international athlete (3:56 miler and NCAA 1km record breaker no less!) and software engineer who has both witnessed and experienced the effects of RED-S countless times. Rich understands the rest-recovery challenge that comes with competing at the highest level. He's also aware of the impact this issue can have on the friends and family members of those struggling with RED-S and is keen to help provide support.

Dr Emily Todd (nee Dudgeon)

Doctor, ex-GB runner, RED-S Researcher

Emily is a British junior doctor, specialising in paediatrics, who competed at the World Junior Championships and Commonwealth Games as an athlete herself. She has witnessed the effects of RED-S on close friends, becoming increasingly shocked at both its prevalence and the lack of action taken towards tackling this issue within sport. Emily's now passionate about raising awareness and working with governing bodies to improve early recognition and management.

Dr Rachel Langbein

Behavioural Scientist & RED-S Researcher

Dr Rachel Langbein is an ex-endurance athlete who has published two papers on the topic of RED-S (find them here). Now working as a Behavioural Scientist/Researcher, Rachel maintains a strong interest in sport and exercise psychology while continuing to push RED-S research to the fore.

Jessie Diggins

Olympic Gold Medalist & Professional USA Cross-Country Skier

Jessie Diggins won the United States' first ever cross-country skiing gold medal at the 2019 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the women's team sprint. Beyond skiing, Jessie loves skydiving, cliff jumping and dancing and has written an autobiography, Brave Enough, about her athletic accomplishments and personal struggle with bulimia nervosa as a teenager. Jessie is also an ambassador and spokesperson for so many important causes beyond Project RED-S, including the Emily Program, WithAll and Protect Our Winters.

Andrew Walling

Manchester United First Team Physiotherapist, former British Athletics Technical Lead Therapist

BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, PhD (History), MCSP

Andy is currently employed by Manchester United football team as a First Team physiotherapist, having previously served as British Athletics' technical lead therapist through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As a physio, Andy has covered numerous other major athletics competitions, including the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2016 European Youth Olympic Games and 2012 World Juniors.

As a qualified and passionate athletics coach, Andy has guided athletes to national titles and regular international representation. To top it all off, Andy qualified with a first-class Physiotherapy degree from Salford University, after having a previous academic career in History where he gained a PhD from the University of Wales, Bangor. A man of many, many talents who we're thrilled to have on board.

Kate Avery

GB runner and RED-S role model

Kate Avery is one of Britain's best distance runners. Often dubbed as the 'Queen of Cross Country', she's won 11 European medals - 3 individual and 8 as part of Team GB. Across the pond, Kate became the first British woman to win the NCAA Women's Division I Cross Country Championship in 2014, running for Iona College. She isn't too shabby on the track either and has competed in a World, European and Commonwealth championships.

Kate has spoken openly about her experiences of RED-S and by doing so, helps raise awareness of this all-too-common condition among distance runners. Still at the top of her game, Kate is a shining example of overcoming setbacks and still striving for the top.