Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Toni M. Torres-McGehee

Second Advisor

David F. Stodden


A plethora of literature examining the physiological consequences associated with deficits in energy availability (EA) for female athletes exists, however literature examining male athletes is sparse. Purpose: To determine the effects of high exercise energy expenditure (EEE) on Male Triad symptoms (EA with or without an eating disorder [ED], reproductive hormones Testosterone [T] and Luteinizing hormone [LH], and bone mineral density [BMD]) and other metabolic markers (Insulin, Leptin, Cortisol and Interleukin-6 [IL-6]) in endurance-trained male athletes. Methods: We utilized a cross-sectional design on 14 endurance trained male athletes (age: 26.4 + 4.2 yrs.; weight: 70.6 + 6.4 kg; and height: 179.5 + 4.3 cm) whom were recruited from the local community. Two separate training weeks (low [LV] and high [HV] training volumes were collected including: dietary logs, exercise logs, BMD, and blood concentrations for 6 hormones (T, LH, Insulin, Leptin, Cortisol, and IL-6). Anthropometric measurements (height, weight, and body composition) were taken prior to data collection. Results: Overall, EA presented as 27.6 + 12.1 kcal/kg FFM·d with 35% (n=5) of participants presenting with increased risk for ED. Examining Male Triad components: 1) 32.1% presented with LEA ( ≤ 20 kcal/kg FFM·d ) with or without ED, 2) Reproductive hormones T (1780.6 + 1672.6 ng/dL) and LH (813.7 + 314.2 pg/mL) were within normal limits compared to normative data, and 3) BMD was not compromised at 1.31 g/cm2. Of those participants at risk for LEA (< 20 kcal/kg FFM·d ), 41.2% (n = 7) (HV: 50%, n = 4; LV: 33.3%, n = 3) demonstrated increased T levels (p = 0.20) while, 21.7% (n = 5) (HV: 18.2%, n = 2; LV: 25%, n = 3) presented with low Leptin levels (p = 0.01). Significant regressions revealed T levels from EA (F(1, 24) = 4.8, p = 0.04); RMR (F(1, 23) = 16.2, p < 0.001); EI (F(1, 24) = 6.7, p = 0.02), and DXA_BFP (F(1, 24) = 51.9, p < 0.001) and leptin levels from DXA_BFP (F(1, 24) = 27.2, p < 0.001). Conclusion: This study is the first to examine all 3 components of the Male Triad. We found 1 compromised component of the Triad (LEA with or without ED risk), however both reproductive hormones (T and LH) and BMD were not compromised. Resultant LEA demonstrated a significant negative relationship with Leptin. Relationships between body fat percent and the hormones T and Leptin demonstrated clinical uses for monitoring weight to assess hormonal profiles in males. More research investigating negative physiological consequences associated with the Male Triad, decreased EI and increased EEE is needed in the male population.