Under-fueling for the amount of energy you are expending is going to do more harm than good when it comes to your fitness goals. Your body needs the energy that food provides to refuel, rebuild and recover. Here are 5 key signs to pay attention to, that may be a signal from your body that you are under-fueling.
1. feeling dizzy or nauseous during a workout: this one is especially common during endurance workouts such as running, biking or swimming. If you frequently feel dizzy or nauseous during a workout, it's time to take a look at your fueling strategy. You may need more food throughout the day, or more calories during your workout with gels or chews.
2. headaches: headaches that occur during or after a workout are another sign that you may be under-fueling. However, it could also indicate dehydration. Not only is it important to be eating consistently throughout the day, but it's just as important to be drinking water all day long. Be sure to always have a water bottle with you during a workout!
3. not seeing or feeling any progress: when you are not eating enough to make up for the energy you use while working out, your body does not have what it needs to recover. This means you're a lot less likely to see any progress, even if you're putting in the work. Whether it be lifting weights or working on speed, your body needs food to adequately recover and rebuild the muscles you are using during the workout. Adequate fueling before and after workouts is key to reaching your fitness goals!
4. fatigue or low energy: maybe you get the adrenaline rush at the end of a workout, but then once it's gone, so is your energy for this rest of the day. The key here is to remember that food is energy! Not eating enough before or after your workout is starving your body from energy. Eating every 3-4 hours (meals and snacks) is a great place to start to try and combat the fatigue after workouts.
5. loss of period: if you're not eating enough for the amount of energy you are expending, your body is going to start reserving energy. For females, your menstruation is often one of the first things to go if you're consistently under-fueling. This can cause a lot of harm in the long run, such as low bone density (increased risk of injury) and impaired immune function. If you've lost your period for 3 or more months in a row, consider reaching out to a physician or Registered Dietitian.