September 13, 2015

This article originally appeared on MIMIBy Kelly Bryant 

Your body could need more fuel than you're consuming.

According to a new study, women who work out regularly may not be offering their bodies the calories they need to properly function.

The research, which ran in The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, asserts that low calorie intake partnered with rigorous exercise is becoming the new norm, and it's not okay. In fact, you're more likely to develop the condition Female Athlete Triad, which boasts such unpleasant qualities as low energy, low bone density, and irregular menstruation.

If you're looking for a target number of calories to hit each day to avoid the condition, the answer isn't so cut and dry. It really depends on the individual person and your preferred method of exercise.

"The answer isn't a specific number, but about achieving the balance between caloric intake and calories burned," says Bert Mandelbaum, M.D., in an interview with Shape. A sports medicine specialist at Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group in Santa Monica, CA, he suggests wearing a heart rate monitor during a workout to get a better idea of just how many calories you've burned.

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