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Running on Fumes – Fueling For Athletes
Are you running out of gas?
Have you ever felt run down? Constantly sick? Stomach pains without eating? Lose your period? Weak?
Recently, I’ve discussed the role of energy availability and the importance of menstruation in the female athlete. If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, here.
I want to shift gears and look at this issue with a wider lens.
Energy deficiencies are often discussed amongst the female athlete population. What people need to know is that they can also exist in men too.
So, what is an energy deficiency?
Energy Deficiency: a state in which our body does not have adequate energy to support physiological functions needed for health & well-being.
Basically, we run out of fuel to keep us performing optimally and our bodies start pulling from energy reserves. What is often forgotten, reserves only last so long until failure.
The reserves our body begins to pull from include muscle, bone and fat. Unlike most people think, fat is not the first choice of reserve fuel. Fat is not easily broken down into energy. Instead, our bodies look for the easiest way to create a new energy source. Unfortunately, easy energy comes from places like the building blocks of muscle. So, our bodies begin to breakdown lean muscle tissue to fuel our bodies. That doesn’t sound good, does it?
Just like a racecar on a racetrack, our livelihood depends on proper fueling strategies. Without adequate energy within our bodies, tissues can not heal, bones can break, and our brains go haywire. Our immune systems weaken, our stomachs ache, and our hearts may flutter. Our bodies become inefficient and fragile.
So how do you recognize if your body is running on fumes? The signs of an energy deficiency are not always clear and often go unnoticed. Energy deficiency not only affects our performance and fatigue. It can affect our metabolic, hematological, psychological, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal function. It can impede healing, delay weight loss, impair bone growth and negatively impact your immune system.
So, here are some things to look out for.
- Poor sports performance
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain Fog
- Decreased endurance
- Decreased muscle strength
- Decreased coordination
- Decreased training response (abnormal heart rate related to exercise)
- Delayed healing
- Loss of Menstrual Cycle
- Stress Fracture
- Regular illness (colds, etc.)
- Low BMI
- Stomach Discomfort
- Heart arrhythmia/flutter
Remember, energy deficiencies can affect men & women of all ages. Whether you are an endurance athlete, dancer, soccer player, someone trying to lose weight or a sedentary office worker, it can happen to you.
If you are experiencing any of the following, it is possible that you are experiencing an energy deficiency. Please note that some of these symptoms listed above should warrant a visit to a medical provider.
Let’s stay energized folks. Make sure you are listening to your body and checking your gas tank. Let’s not run out of fuel.
If you have any questions about this topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Yours In Health,