So you're an athlete, welcome - we're so glad you're here. Chances are, you have a problem you want to fix. Maybe you’ve been having trouble adapting to training lately; you might feel generally fatigued; or perhaps your period's been missing for a while now. At first, maybe you were okay with that...but recently you can’t shake the feeling that something’s just, ‘not quite right’. If that’s the case, you’re right (it isn't) and we want to explain why and what you can do about it.
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 (e.g. growth, respiration and digestion).
'Low energy availability’ describes the negative balance (whether intentional or unintentional) between energy intake and expenditure (i.e. food consumed vs physical exertion). When this balance is tipped over a period time, the body goes into 'energy saving mode' which negatively affects almost every system in the body.
One concerning effect of RED-S is suppression of hormones within the reproductive system which can result in one big red flag among females: irregular or missing periods. That said, RED-S can affect athletes or exercisers of any age, gender, ability, size or weight and carries serious long-term health and performance implications.
Wherever possible, the information and advice offered on this site is based on the leading scientific research to date. Although the aim is to provide you with some support and advice, this resource is no substitute for the diagnosis or treatment from a medical professional. Head here to find them.