The Tired & Wounded Athlete
You go to your primary doctor and complain of fatigue, but they roll his/her eyes at you when you quantify your fatigue as not feeling up to doing your weekly long run of 10 miles, or squatting 125% of your body weight use to leave you sore for 2 days and now it takes 5 days before that soreness is gone.
Your doctor may even tell you its a function of aging.❌
You insist your doctor please do some labs to make sure your not anemic, have low B12, vitamin D or have thyroid disease. These all come back “normal.”
However, you know something is not right, but are not sure what it is or how to correct it.
You tried taking a week off of working out...
You tried altering your macros...
You tried sleeping more…
BUT this fog of low energy and prolonged recovery is just not budging.
I know how it is.
I get it, this was me!
While I had recovered from the frequent bouts of vasculitis attacking my various organs, I just couldn't kick my booty in the gym without it coming with flaring fatigue and excessive soreness.
It wasn’t until I addressed my mitochondria and my adrenals and created a modified my exercise plan to avoid lactate accumulation was I able to kick my post exertional fatigue to the curb.
I’ve mentioned before, besides thyroid disease, nutritional deficiency, and chronic autoimmune disease there are two commonly underlying factors contributing to fatigue: adrenal & mitochondrial dysfunction. And you must know what is/are your specific trigger in order to effectively resolve the fatigue.
Time and time again, I find that for high performing athletes, adrenal dysfunction is the more common root cause. However, I also see this alongside imbalances in thyroid & sex hormones in conjuction with the adrenal dysfunction. Addressing all components is important to resolving fatigue.
The mito piece is generally undervalued or examined component to those “wounded athletes” who can’t seem to recover from fatigue. Those who are impacted by mitochondrial dysfunction may the person who has an autoimmune disease, has impairments in detoxification and has had a history significant for exposure to environmental or medication related toxins. I also suspect there is often a genetic/epigenetic predisposition, however the research in this area is still emerging.
Adrenal Dysfunction is caused by overproduction of stress hormones caused by excessive chronic emotional, physical, or psychological stress, as seen in the common condition known as mommyhood or high performance athletics. Adrenal dysfunction is the collumination of oftens years of inadequate amount or quality of sleep, chronic stressful job and/or personal life, and night shift work, and or over training.
Common Symptoms of Adrenal Dysfunction:
Mild depression or anxiety
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia
Low body temperature
Dry thin skin
Central weight gain
Low sex drive
PMS, irregular or heavy periods, amenorrhea, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and PCOS
Craving salty &/or sugary foods
Chest pain and palpitations
TOP TIPS TO IMPROVE ADRENAL FUNCTION
1. Make time, every day for restorative or relaxation practices. None of these need to be for a long period of time, but it does need to be a regular practice for your parasympathetic nervous system to be activated and to heal the adrenal dysfunction.
Deep breathing 3-5 deep breaths before you start to eat each meal
Taking 5 minutes to meditate
Allowing yourself time to take an epsom salt bath
Spend time in nature
2. Avoid caffeine, smoking, processed foods, high carbohydrate and sugary foods.
3. Laugh, do something fun everyday.
4. Sleep as much as your body craves (8-12 hours if need be)
5. Eat regularly and make sure meals and snacks have some protein or fat and fiber in them to keep blood sugar level.
6. Consider taking adrenal adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, and holy basil.
7. Correct any nutritional deficiencies or imbalances common deficiencies include omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin C and D, selenium, and the B vitamins.
8. Manage stress, get a counselor, change jobs, delegate tasks or ask for help.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is commonly driven by: oxidative stress, inflammation, total body burden of toxins.
Common Acquired Conditions Associated with Mitochondrial Dysfunction:
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
Cardiovascular diseases (hypertension, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis)
Diabetes (type I, II, & III)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
TOP DIETARY TIPS TO IMPROVE MITOCHONDRIAL FUNCTION