All right all you hard core fitness athletes, military men and women, industrial athletes, and plain fitness fanatics, I want you to do something for yourself if you're not already doing it....
GET YOUR BLOOD WORK DONE REGULARLY!
That's right, blood work needs to be done roughly every six months. Why? Because you're output is tremendous, your intensity is high, and the duration of your workouts range from 20 minutes to several hours.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR / REQUEST IN YOUR BLOOD WORK
- Complete Blood Panel (or CBC)
- Liver function
- Kidney function
- Thyroid hormones
- Hormones in general
ALSO REQUEST A 24 HOUR CORTISOL TEST (Saliva Test)
This is a must for anyone involved in Extreme Fitness. Why? Because you're placing your body under a tremendous amount of physical stress everyday. Add in your other daily stressors, be it work, deployment, lack of sleep, not the ideal diet, relationships, finances, etc., and you could be looking at a case of adrenal fatigue.
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT ADRENAL FATIGUE?
Plenty. There are three stages to adrenal fatigue.
Stage One: A person is exposed to some traumatic event which sets off the adrenal fatigue OR it's brought on through a Type A lifestyle: Go, go, go and go some more. I call it the See John run, Run John Run, syndrome. These people are always on the go, always over-planning, over-committing, multitasking, tackling everything that comes their way, type of people. This initial onset is either a blast of fight or flight, or repeated low level continual doses of fight or flight.
Stage Two: The adrenals are in the fight or flight mode, regularly. This stage can for 15 years or so. Talk about adrenal endurance. It all depends on the individual. Some can hold out for five years, others 34, it just depends. The main thing you need to know is this: At stage two, the adrenals can hit exhaustion at any given time. Exhaustion means just that, they can no longer put out.
Stage Three: Adrenal Exhaustion, something like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. You DO NOT want to hit this stage! You see, once the adrenals hit exhaustion some people never come back, they're fatigued the rest of their life. I don't mean feeling a little tired, I mean everything they do, even daily activities becomes an exhausting event, as the energy has been zapped. Generally, adrenal fatigue takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to recover from, it depends on how severe the case is. Save yourself from this stage by making the necessary changes NOW with PREVENTATIVE maintenance. What changes are those? The items listed further down under, "What If I Have Adrenal Fatigue".
WARNING SIGNS AND ITEMS THAT POINT TO ADRENAL FATIGUE
2. Insufficient recovery time
3. Lack of rest
4. Lack of sleep (Yes, rest and sleep are two different areas)
5. Poor nutrition
7. Hair loss
8. Dealing with stress poorly
11. Lack of focus / concentration
12. Sodium and potassium levels are off
13. Low blood pressure
15. Lack of energy
16. You wake up un-refreshed
17. Crave salt
18. No sex drive
19. More frequent illnesses
20. Dizzy / Light headed
21. Memory problems
22. Can't seem to keep up with things
23. Weight gain (Particularly, belly fat)
If several of these sounds like you, I suggest you start taking action to turn it around.
If you suspect you have adrenal fatigue, look into the following areas:
1. MAKE THE NECESSARY LIFESTYLE CHANGES
These changes range from quitting smoking, no alcohol, no refined sugars, no junk food, no coffee, no caffeine, no stimulants, to getting more rest, sleep, toning things down a bit, and learning how to manage stress.
2. CHANGE EATING HABITS
You'll want to eat as clean as can be. Period. Feed yourself wisely: Whole foods, nutrient dense. Be sure you're taking in enough calories to support your training and activities. Eat every 90 minutes to 3 hours maximum! Be sure all your nutritional basis are covered, and last but not least...chew your food thoroughly.
- Fish Oil (Be sure it is of the highest quality, no pollutants)
- B Complex
- B3 (Niacin)
- B5 (Pantothentic Acid)
- Vitamin A (From food sources)
- Vitamin C (Food sources, as well as tablets)
- Vitamin E ( Both food and capsules)
FEED YOUR ADRENALS
- Swiss Chard
- Beet greens
4. REST SLEEP:
Both rest and sleep are vital for :
- Muscle building
- Muscle recovery
- Recovery from illness
- ADRENAL FATIGUE!
5. NEGOTIATE YOUR WORKOUTS
Rather than pushing yourself through your training, consider the following:
- Your skill level
- Energy level
- How rested you are
- Time allotment
ADRENAL FATIGUE AND HYPOTHYROIDISM ARE TWO DIFFERENT CONDITIONS WITH SIMILAR SYMPTOMS
Many times a person will be told their thyroid is low, be put on medication, and still have symptoms that just don't make sense. Unfortunately, many doctors stop at the thyroid and miss adrenal fatigue, when adrenal fatigue is in fact, the main culprit. The adrenals have far more impact on the human body than most people realize. The nervous system requires a delicate balance to function at it's prime, and keep you outputting at the Extreme's you desire.
DOES ADRENAL FATIGUE AFFECT ATHLETES ONLY?
Certainly not. Adrenal fatigue can take hold of anyone suffering from extreme stress, be it mental, physical, or emotional. I know of athletes who have hit adrenal fatigue strictly due to their Extreme workouts. Others poor nutrition played a key role, as they were not supporting their body with proper nutrition which is a stress to the body in and of itself. Moms with children can experience fatigue, as well, running all day with kids, multi-tasking, rides, errands, meals, work, and other commitments all weigh heavily on a persons ability to cope day in, and day out. Individuals with long, unpredictable hours such as military, fireman, police, doctors, (parents too for that matter!) etc., all are in a position where both rest and sleep are continually compromised, and much of the time, healthy, regular meals, as well, add to this the emotional stress that comes from the job and bingo....adrenal fatigue. This is a point where people who never used caffeine or other stimulants will consider taking some in, to try to manage their energy.
STAY AWAY FROM STIMULANTS LIKE THE PLAGUE!
Stimulants are unnatural. If your body is running on low, it's
COMMUNICATING SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU, LISTEN!!!
Going to stimulants to 'fix' it, might appear the solution for short-term results, but in the long run you'll pay at least triple in ill effects to your health. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about the occasional cup of coffee to stay awake, I'm talking about the daily use of such substances, this includes:
'NATURAL' STIMULANTS (Such as herbs)
and several other products athletes are lured into buying through deceptive advertising. Don't buy into it. Energy comes from eating a healthy diet, managing stress in a healthy way, hydrating properly, exercising, getting the proper amount of rest and sleep, and enjoying life...meaning being happy, whether that comes from adventures with your loved ones, to a quiet hike in the mountains, or watching a funny movie. Just as there are no shortcuts to a dynamite physique, we must realize there are no 'products' that are healthy for us if they're forcing the body to run in unnatural ways.
I hope this has been helpful for you.
Have a terrific week!