High-Stress Workouts, “Unbalanced Hormones” and Under Eating

People love bashing high intensity workout, high volumes of cardio AND obsessing over the small ways we can do program around the menstrual cycle — majoring in the minors — and forgetting the biggest threat to active female health + performance.

Energy availability.

Data has fairly consistently shown it’s not the stress of training per say but the intentional or unintentional lack of energy to support it. Leading to a down regulation of hormones across the body including sex hormones (in both sexes).

In menstruating trainees this is a massive threat to reproductive health, performance & general health due to a Down-regulation of other basic physiology processes to conserve energy.

Ideally active women should be consuming 40-45 Kcal/kg FFM/ day to meet these minimums. Below 30 is where things get wonky.

I know this math is confusing for many so for example I am ~145lbs & ~113lbs Fat free mass (FFM). This is ~51kg FFM, so I want to be eating at the least 2,040-2,285 Kcal/day, if not more (for reference, I eat more).

Knowing your FFM can be tricky without access to body composition scans like DEXA or a well controlled inbody. @mymadeapp (code LITTLELYSS) is a great alternative from home! (Please contact them if you have issues with the app or scan results not me).

All this to say — you can love HIIT, crossfit, your high intensity classes, running, high volume of lifting — assuming it’s well programmed of course 🤪— and stay healthy. You just have to eat ENOUGH.


Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.