Photo of Dr. Riley Nickols
REDS, or Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, is a condition that athletes experience when there is an imbalance between energy consumed and energy expended. The REDS framework expands the Female Athlete Triad and can have far-reaching health implications. A persistent, longstanding state of low energy availability can negatively impact an athlete’s physical, physiological, cognitive, psychological, metabolic, cardiovascular, endocrine, bone, hematological, and immunological health and well-being. Early identification and treatment of REDS are important for supporting and prioritizing athletes’ health.
Dr. Riley Nickols of Mind Body Endurance has written a comprehensive summary of REDS for the National Eating Disorder Association, including suggestions for how sport personnel can help prevent this condition in athletes:
Sport personnel can prioritize an athlete’s health by having enough water, sports drinks, and food available to athletes before, during, and after practices and competitions. Finally, it is important for coaches and trainers to consider having required team rest days and to address if/when an athlete is exceeding recommended training parameters. In addition to inadequate fueling to meet energy needs, training that is above an athlete’s training plan increases energy demands , making an athlete more likely to be in a state of energy deficiency .
Looking for someone who understands the unique needs of an athlete? The sport psychologists and sports dietitians at Mind Body Endurance can help.