Welcome back to This Week in RED-S, a semi-regular installment on Out of the RED-S that brings you media under the umbrella of RED-S. You can find websites, podcasts, and articles we have recently discovered here. Feel free to pick and choose which you explore further. Subscribe to never miss it!
Read this article from Outside Online for some of the latest evidence-based tips on how to fuel for endurance sports. Pay particular attention to (1) the extent of carbohydrates necessary for fueling peak performance and (2) the risks of consuming too many veggies, which often come at the expense of simpler carbohydrates. Do you know all of this but still struggle to implement these strategies? Fret not! Sports dietitians are phenomenal resources; they're trained to help athletes like you.
Fueling and Performance.
Listen to this Ali on the Run podcast with Meghann Featherstun to learn how eating enough, eating early in the day, and even graham crackers brought one runner from a 4 hour to a sub-3 hour marathoner. Highly recommend giving this one a listen, folks!
Recovering from Amenorrhea.
This is literature from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that documents caloric interventions that helped two female athletes regain their menstrual cycles. It is particularly insightful because these athletes continued exercising during this intervention. Remaining active while seeking menstrual recovery isn't the best strategy for everyone, but if you're committed to increasing your caloric intake for the long haul, these case reports show that it is possible. Notably, when the study participants had lapses in maintaining their increased caloric intake, they began to see menstrual dysfunction. Another interesting insight from this piece was the data on the study participants' resting energy expenditure; when the study participants began consuming enough to meet their baseline energy needs, their resting energy expenditure rose. This is in agreement with what we know happens when someone has low energy availability: their body shuts down nonessential processes to save energy. When energy availability is adequate, the body can spend the energy on fueling these processes (like menstruation, healing, training response, and more), so resting energy expenditure rises. TL;DR: Up your caloric intake consistently to regain a menstrual cycle while exercising; your body will use the calories to fuel processes like regular menstruation and adaptation to training (among others!), as reflected by the increase in energy burned while resting!
Caffeine and Sleep.
For many, coffee is a way of life. Drink it no later than 9 hours before you plan on going to bed so that it doesn't interfere with your sleep quality. This means don't have an extra cup after 1:00pm if you plan on hitting the sack at 10:00pm!