Hatty Bates |

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport

RED-S is something that all rowers, coaches and support staff should be aware of, as it can lead to impaired health and performance. Hatty Bates, Performance Nutritionist for British Rowing, provides an overview

First things first, what is Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport?

Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) can affect both males and females and can have detrimental effects on both health and performance.

Low-energy availability underpins the concept of RED-S. This occurs when there is a mismatch between an athlete’s energy intake (diet) and energy expenditure (including both training and resting metabolic processes). If an athlete is in a state of low-energy availability for a prolonged period of time the body switches into “energy-saving mode”. Here, physiological functions such as cardiovascular health, menstrual function and bone health, begin to shut down causing both health and performance to deteriorate.

It is also important to recognise that RED-S can occur with, or without, disordered eating or an eating disorder. Below, we explore the signs and symptoms of RED-S, plus who may be at risk of RED-S and where to get help.

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