What does underfuelling mean?
Underfuelling means that you are not consuming enough energy to support your body’s demand to sustain your daily life activities (cleaning home, going to the office, play with your kids, hangout with friends…) combined with your training sessions (whatever these are).
Underfuelling can happen to anyone – whether you identify yourself as a man, woman or not, whether you are an elite athlete, dancer or gym goers.
What are the main sign of underfuelling?
These are 8 of the main sign of underfuelling:
- Feeling fatigued most of the time
- Experiencing poor recovery
- Being often sick with colds or other illnesses
- Getting injured frequently
- Hitting a performance wall – you feel as if you can’t improve further
- Having irregular or absent menstrual cycle
- Experiencing gastro-intestinal issues, along with other red flags
- Having low libido
Overtime, being in an energy deficit can lead to Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S), a clinical syndrome caused by an imbalance between excessive energy output (training load or lifestyle) and inadequate energy intake (not eating enough). This syndrome can affect key physiological processes with a negative impact on both health and performance. The underline cause is also known as LEA (Low Energy Availability).
LEA represents a state in which the energy left in the body is not sufficient to support all physiological functions to maintain optimal health. Other consequences that could be linked to LEA are:
- Impaired performance
- Reduced training adaptations
- Sleep disturbances
- Low mood/irritability
- Compromised immune function
- Feeling low in energy
It is crucial to understand how to optimise nutrition and adequately fuel our body to support our health and trainings.
NOTE: If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are in a LEA state as they could be linked to other root causes. Always speak to your GP if you are concern.
Your training and health will benefit from nutrition support and working with a registered nutritionist can help to formulate strategies that work. Overall patterns matter most and small habits can build lasting improvements to your performance and health.