Low Energy Availability in Athletes

Topic: Physiology
Words: 882 Pages: 3


To begin with, one of the most influential issues that might be experienced by professional athletes during their training and preparing for competition is low energy availability (LEA). To be more specific, it is the critical energy deficit that disables the affected sportsman to lead a healthy and active life after the training process (Logue et al., 2017). Many factors come into play when it comes to the causes. One of the most widespread reasons for being affected by LEA is a diet that misleads with the training program. For instance, some athletes might prepare for long-distance competition and prescribe a long-digesting food due to the diabetologist’s lack of proficiency or information.

While the diet would be significantly effective for everyday life when a person should have a constant energy reserve, the sportsman, on the contrary, need “fast” carbs, which are critical since they give a sufficient amount of energy during the standard training. As a result, the athlete who ate long-digesting food will have less-effective training and insufficient energy balance after two-three sessions. Despite the strong decrease in training effectiveness, LEA is a qualitative signal that should prevent athletes from being seriously injured due to the enormously high-pressure training programs. Eventually, it is crucial to provide the body with a new approach for competition-preparing sessions. For instance, low load training connected with the correctly prescribed diet is one of the most effective approaches for preparing for long-distance competition.

LEA in Endurance Female Athletes and Impact on Bone Health

Due to the long-term evolution process, female athletes biologically differ from men in endurance sports. More specifically, men are more prepared for the long-distance pressure so their physical stamina is more significant (Slater et al., 2016). Consequently, women have the risk of having bone issues (Pollock et al., 2010). Moreover, low energy availability caused by a high-intensive training session only increases the injury risk (Heikura et al., 2018).

As a result, their training process should be adjusted to their strength and weaknesses to maximize the preparation effectiveness. To enforce the importance of the program adjusting, high-impact exercise might be favorable for those who are training for sprint competition (Sygo et al., 2018). In addition, some scientists provide recommendations for female endurance athletes to implement high-pressure regular, but less frequent sessions, which will increase the training outcome and prevent athletes from LEA (Hutson et al., 2020).

On the other hand, the vast majority of those engaged in endurance competitions would benefit from changing the training rhythm and program on low load training (LLT) due to the partial absence of bone injuries risk (Miller et al., 2021). Finally, when applying specific techniques with increased injury risk, it is critical to take into account medical advice, especially concerning high-impact exercise and possible outcomes of misled training programs.

Blood Flow Restriction and Low Load Training

When it comes to blood flow restriction (BRF), many individuals usually mislead the fundamental meaning and the body’s influence of this type of training. On the other hand, the main BFR function is to stop the venous blood flow while allowing the arterial blood to pursue circulating. Consequently, the blood is concentrating and flowing to the specific muscle which must be put into the active work so that the athlete will be able to increase the training outcome. To achieve successful BFR, sportsmen should be consulted with a doctor (Miller et al., 2021). When the program is approved, before the training, he should strategically wrap the body part situated upper the muscle to allow arterial blood to circulate and “restrict” the venous one (Mattocks et al., 2018). Low load training (LLT) is the other method of increasing the effectiveness of athletes’ training process.

While stressing the personal metabolism, decreasing the muscle pressure, time of exercising, and cardio activity, LLT is assumed to provide equal or even more effective muscle growth when practiced regularly. However, in many cases, athletes would double the training outcome by combining the two methods of BFR and LLT. This is since for blood restriction, the muscle must be working under a high strain, while in low load training the individual must not overextend their planned weight and cardio pressure.

Blood Flow Restriction and Low Load Training Benefit for Endurance Athletes

For most endurance athletes, blood flow restriction and low load training are the most effective methods for the beginning the ending of the competition-preparing process. The athletes should settle the strict date, time, and type of training to achieve the maximum possible result from preparation (Jessee, et al., 2018). Contrasting such types of training will be more effective than simple ones because the body prepares for different levels of pressure so that endurance athletes are the most evident beneficiaries of correctly selected BFRs and LLC.

When comparing high and low-load training for specific sportsmen, it is critical to have a long-term perspective for increasing the session’s regularity and duration, which is impossible for high-impact exercising athletes (Centner et al., 2019; Takada et al., 2012). On the other hand, when implementing low load training enforced with blood flow restriction, the competition preparing schedule becomes more flexible (Korakakis et al., 2018). As a result, endurance sportsmen might regulate the training pressure following their physical conditions, which might prevent them from low energy availability or injuries caused by excess strain.


Centner, C., Lauber, B., Seynnes, O. R., Jerger, S., Sohnius, T., Gollhofer, A., & König, D. (2019). Low-load blood flow restriction training induces similar morphological and mechanical Achilles tendon adaptations compared with high-load resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology, 127(6), 1660–1667. Web.

Heikura, I. A., Uusitalo, A. L., Stellingwerff, T., Bergland, D., Mero, A. A., & Burke, L. M. (2018). Low Energy Availability Is Difficult to Assess but Outcomes Have Large Impact on Bone Injury Rates in Elite Distance Athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(4), 403–411. Web.

Hutson, M. J., O’Donnell, E., Brooke-Wavell, K., Sale, C., & Blagrove, R. C. (2020). Effects of Low Energy Availability on Bone Health in Endurance Athletes and High-Impact Exercise as A Potential Countermeasure: A Narrative Review. Sports Medicine, 51(3), 391–403. Web.

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Miller, B. C., Tirko, A. W., Shipe, J. M., Sumeriski, O. R., & Moran, K. (2021). The Systemic Effects of Blood Flow Restriction Training: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 4(16). Web.

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Slater, J., Brown, R., McLay-Cooke, R., & Black, K. (2016). Low Energy Availability in Exercising Women: Historical Perspectives and Future Directions. Sports Medicine, 47(2), 207–220. Web.

Sygo, J., Coates, A. M., Sesbreno, E., Mountjoy, M. L., & Burr, J. F. (2018). Prevalence of Indicators of Low Energy Availability in Elite Female Sprinters. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(5), 490–496. Web.

Takada, S., Okita, K., Suga, T., Omokawa, M., Morita, N., Horiuchi, M., Kadoguchi, T., Takahashi, M., Hirabayashi, K., Yokota, T., Kinugawa, S., & Tsutsui, H. (2012). Blood Flow Restriction Exercise in Sprinters and Endurance Runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 44(3), 413–419. Web.

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