RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport) and low energy availability have become frequent topics of conversation in the running world over the last few years, but many athletes are still unclear on what they are exactly and how to recognize them in themselves. Next Sunday, June 27, runner and dietitian Jessica White is hosting a free webinar on RED-S and menstrual health for athletes, coaches and anyone else who is interested in becoming more informed on the topic.
White says she was very moved by Mary Cain’s video that was released a couple of years ago where she spoke about her experience as an elite athlete and her diagnosis with RED-S. “At that time, I had to look up what RED-S was as I had never heard of it before,” she says. “Looking back at my collegiate running career, I dealt with a lot of symptoms that were likely the result of under-fuelling, even though I thought I was eating enough.”
This inspired her to create a webinar on the topic with the goal of raising more awareness about RED-S and openly talk about menstrual health. White says she doesn’t want female athletes to feel like they are alone or that it’s taboo to talk about these things. “I have realized that there are likely many athletes who may be experiencing RED-S and not even know it,” she says, “so if I can help just one athlete, I feel like I have accomplished my goal.”
During the webinar, White will explain what RED-S is and how it affects an athlete’s health and performance. She will also explain what low energy availability is, the importance of having a period, the reasons an athlete might lose their period and how to get support.
“The objective is for attendees to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of RED-S, the impacts to health (including menstrual health) and athletic performance, in addition to what the next steps are in terms of getting support,” says White.
The webinar will be hosted on Zoom from 7-8 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 27, and anyone who wishes to attend can sign up here. For athletes who are unable to attend the webinar, White has also created an online self-help program to help those who are struggling with RED-S, which provides one-on-one support, brief informative videos and hands-on activities.