Health and Performance Risks of Underfuelling

Health and Performance Risks of Underfuelling

A new study* has found that stress fractures are a whopping 4.5 X more common in athletes suffering from RED-S, or relative energy deficiency in sport, due to inadequate nutrition. 

Over time, underfuelling leads directly to depleted energy levels, menstrual cycle irregularities in females, low testosterone levels in males, stress fractures, and for many, repeating cycles of injury and recovery.

What to drink during exercise

Water = First Drink of Choice

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·      For < 60 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise

·      Not a source of electrolytes

·      Heavy sweaters may need additional sodium from an electrolyte supplement  (see below)


Electrolyte Supplements

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·      Contain sodium, chloride, potassium and other minerals (amounts vary)

·      For moderate to hard intensity exercise, 30 minutes to multi-day

·      Good choice for heavy &/or salty sweaters

·      Good for warm/hot environments

·      For exercise > 60 minutes of moderate to hard intensity, use in conjunction with fuel from food 


Sports Drinks

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·      Contain carbohydrate (5-7g/100ml) and electrolytes (amounts vary)

·      Good for > 60 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise

·      Provides fuel 

·      Good for warm/hot environments

·      Heavy sweaters may need additional sodium from an electrolyte supplement or salty food   


For an individualised approach to your hydration plan, come and see us for some expert advice.

Xterra Hydration Advice

Xterra Hydration Advice

Hydration needs are highly individualised due to variations in sweat rates between people, and even for the same person exercising in different conditions. Sweat rate is influenced by a number of factors including:

  • Body size – larger body sizes tend to sweat more

  • Fitness level – fitter athletes generally start to sweat earlier

  • Genetics – some people naturally sweat more than others

  • Temperature – hot and humid conditions increase sweat rates

  • Wind – air flow over the skin improves body cooling and reduces sweat rates

  • Exercise intensity – as intensity increases, so does sweat rate

Xterra Fuel on the Go

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Fuelling your body and brain during trail running can help with the following:

·      Support blood glucose & energy levels

·      Support concentration & mental focus

·      Assist with technical aspects of the trail & decision making

·      Assist reducing muscle fatigue & loss of balance

*How much fuel your body needs will depend on factors like the distance, intensity or work rate, and what your goals for the session are e.g., enjoyment or training competitively.

A good starting point is about 20g of carbohydrate per hour, with a top end range of over 60g carbohydrate per hour. Generally, the longer the event, the greater the advantages of using foods also containing some protein and fats. Short distances may only need a little fuel in the form of carbohydrate.

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There are plenty more real food ideas you can use. One of the key things with using any nutrition product during training is to practice, practice, practice. This helps to improve gut tolerance and allows your digestive system to adapt to the fuel it is being provided with.

For more ideas or to explore recommendations for you, come & chat to us