Mary Cain & RED-S

December 23rd 2019

By Matt Hill
Categories: Athlete Resources

Mary Cain & RED-S

Podcast by The Real Science of Sport Podcast

Going back to Prof. Ross and Mike for another important discussion surrounding one of the worlds leading sports performance centres and the issue of imbalance in sporting application and health.

Many of you will have read about or seen the videos on the internet regarding Mary Cain’s abuse at the prestigious Nike Oregon Project. Mary was a talented young runner, being headhunted and taken under the wing of Alberto Salazar, the “legendary” American run coach.

His programme at the Nike Oregon Project was one of the western world’s most sort after running academies, with many World and Olympic champions being trained there. However, it has since transpired that there were many unethical events happening under the instruction of Alberto. Alberto has now been banned from coaching for doping offenses, but not a lot has been done for all the abusive actions he dished out over the years – scaring young people’s minds and impacting their confidence for life.

Subsequently, the Oregon Project has also closed, 2 weeks after Salazar’s sentencing.

Mary’s experience and the health issues associated with under fuelling – to satisfy Salazar’s direction to reduce weight – and the associated under effects on hormone imbalances are discussed with exercise physiologist and scientist Dr Trent Stellingwerff and his wife, former elite runner, Hilary Stellingwerff. This state of extreme fatigue is Relative Energy Deficit in Sport (RED-S) – once associated with just women (known as the Female Athlete Triad), but now known to affect men, but in slightly different ways.

Listen to the signs and symptoms of RED-S and be aware of your own wellbeing – do any of them resonate with you; now or in the past? Remember you are all working athletes – balancing life, work, families and training. Overdoing it is easily done, knowing what to look out for will keep you adaptive and avoid tipping into chronic states of fatigue, hormonal imbalances, etc.

We highly recommend you read the IOC’s statement on RED-S here, or you can refer to the copy in the athletes resource folder.

If you want to hear more about Alberto’s disgusting coaching ethics, use of drugs (for decades) and abuse of non-banned substances, and how Steve Magness (Magness & Marcus podcasts) was the whistle blower on Salazar when he was assistant coach at the Nike project check out their previous episode.

Keep looking after yourselves – you know we prioritise rest, recovery, fuelling and hydration over training in times of high stress (work hours, life/family events, etc). This should reinforce this, especially knowing the IOC has addressed the topic because of its presence among all sports and sporting levels.