Performance Effects of Overtraining Syndrome

May 16, 2020

Balancing energy intake with expenditure.

Overtraining syndrome is more common amongst runners than you would think. Often an enthusiasm for running, improving performance and body composition can lead to runners being overzealous with their training plans. Many focus on training and neglect to pay attention to their requirements for good nutrition and adequate rest. Balancing energy intake with expenditure is key.

The inter-play of chronic over exercising with insufficient energy intake (from food) and insufficient sleep/rest may lead to a prolonged and unexpected decrease in performance and deterioration in both physical and mental health.

We discuss the Sports Performance Triangle, Female Athlete Triad (FAT) and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs).

Fascinating insights into the importance of balancing energy intake with energy expenditure to promote running performance and overall great health.

LISTEN HERE Episode 6: Performance Effects of Overtraining Syndrome



What is the definition of overtraining syndrome and how does is manifest in runners?


What are the triggers for this overtraining syndrome and the links to the sports performance triangle?


An overview of overtraining syndrome, Female Athlete Triad (FAT) and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs).


The Female Athlete Triangle and the inter relation with low energy availability, menstrual dysfunction, and low bone mineral density.


Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs) and how it encompasses the health male and female athletes and the impact on poor health and sporting performance.


The importance of adjusting food/energy intake to meet increased energy expenditure as your endurance training increases.


The links between REDs and Disordered Eating, Eating Disorders and reduced athletic performance.


How to notice the early signs of overtraining syndrome and how to guard against the development of REDs.

33:01 Key Takeaways from this episode


  • RED-S
    • Hormonal disruptiong. The suppression of oestrogen and progesterone
    • Menstrual dysfunction – as a result of suppressed oestrogen and progesterone
    • Increased risk of stress fracture – as a result of reduced oestrogen.
    • Reduced basal metabolic rate – as a result of reduced T3 thyroid hormone production
    • Compromised muscle function – a daily protein intake of less than 30Kcal per Kg of free fat mass is known to reduce muscle synthesis (production).
    • Compromised immune function – leading to increased risk of infection inflammation, and injury.
  • Female Athlete Triad
    • Low energy availability
    • Menstrual dysfunction
    • Low bone mineral density


  • It is important for a runner to consider training, nutrition, and sleep/rest in equal measure to help prevent the development of Over Training Syndrome
  • Remember that it may occur in men as well as women, so be aware of this with running colleagues and partners
  • Important to take on sufficient food to fuel the amount of exercise you are undertaking
  • Insufficient energy intake will result in a deterioration in running performance and may lead to other health issues
  • Consider working with a sports nutrition professional to ensure you are fuelling appropriately and taking onboard sufficient nutrients overall

Related Episodes:

Sports Nutrition Foundations for Female Runners

Macronutrients to Help Runners go Faster and Longer

Plant Based Eating For Female Runnerss


The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.

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