Podcast Episode 198: Dr Nicky Keay: ‘RED-S, Hormones health & performance’

In episode 198 of The Physical Performance Show I share a conversation with Dr Nicky Keay: ‘RED-S, Hormones health & performance’ in this expert edition.

As a research fellow at St. Thomas’s Hospital, Dr Nicky Keay was part of the International Medical Team that developed the test for growth hormone in the doping of athletes. It was during this time, the penny really dropped for Dr Keay when she recognised the importance of hormones in dictating athletic performance. With sports medicine grants, Dr Keay went on to research the training effects on the endocrine system resulting in publications in sports and dance and Endocrinology. Dr Keay’s recent work has looked at Endocrinology in competitive male cyclist. Dr Keay has published the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine’s educational website health and performance in order to raise the awareness of relative energy deficiency in sports. Dr Keay is also involved in the #trainbrave campaign and currently works in the first NHS RED-S dedicated clinic in London, the EN:SPIRE clinic.

During this episode, Dr Nicky Keay shares why hormones matter for athletes, the role that hormones play in mediating training adaptations, why energy availability is so paramount for athletes and performers, the consequences of low energy availability or relative energy deficiency in sports.

Fascinating findings from Dr Nicky Keay’s research in elite cyclist looking at their energy availability status and the surprise findings of their mineral bone density tests. The role of training loads, nutrition and recovery on hormone health and performance. How and why energy deficiency can be both intentional and unintentional, why athletes need to fuel for the work required, why lighter is definitely not better when it comes to sporting performance and how to move towards reversing relative energy deficiency in sports and the associated health consequences.

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To listen to Episode 198:


Click the icon to listen to the interview on iTunes or listen using the soundcloud player below

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Listen in as we delve into the following:

  • Why hormones are important in training
  • How hormones work during adaptation and recovery
  • Factors that affect hormone health
  • How to determine when an athlete is sleep deprived
  • How to utilise energy availability for athletes
  • Effects of unintentional actions for energy availability
  • Athletes with enough energy state and their performance
  • Differences of hormones in athletes, dancers and others
  • Concept of RED-S for male and female
  • How to diagnose RED-S
  • Bone density results with Cyclist in Dr Keay’s research
  • Severity of fractures with cyclist
  • Risk of bone stress injuries in athletes

For questions and comments about this Episode

Send to the show host @Brad_Beer (Twitter)

The Physical Performance Show Brad Beer