How do I know if I have Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs)?

Who is at risk for developing REDs?

Anyone can develop REDs, which is a syndrome caused by under-fueling. Not eating enough to match your activity level can cause REDs. Athletes and active people are more at risk, especially athletes where the sport may require (or the culture requires) a thin body, such as ballet, gymnastics, climbing, rowing, and weight-class sports (wresting, boxing, etc.).

Can you recover from REDs?

Absolutely! It will take a team of knowledgeable professionals to help you through the recovery process, including a sports dietitian, sports physician, coach, and sometimes a therapist or sports psychologist. REDs recovery usually involves complete rest or dialing back training, coupled with increased food intake.

Is REDs serious?

Yes, if left untreated in can lead to injuries such as stress fractures, long-term damage to your organs, hormonal imbalances, infertility, and even cardiac issues. REDs should not be self-diagnosed or managed on one’s own.

How do I know if I have REDs?

If you suspect you have REDs, seek medical help immediately. The physician can assess your heart, labs, menstrual status, and more to make a thorough assessment to decide if you have REDs. You can use our free RED-S symptom tracking tool to monitor yourself and make sure you are not suffering from any signs of REDs.

For more resources on REDs:

RED-S in climbers

11 things that impact your climbing besides your weight

The difference between eating for sports performance and disordered eating

My article in Climbing Magazine about RED-S

My interview on Training Beta Podcast about RED-S

REDs and Disordered Eating 101 on-demand course