May 21st 2013

Burn OUT! Part 1

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Are you thinking you might be getting burnout from your current workout routine?  Maybe you’re a competitor and you’re just starting not to care as much about competing. How can you know that it’s burnout? How would that feel? Many people blame themselves, thinking they have lost their dedication, their drive, and on top of that, the folks around them at the gym just encourage you to keep going – harder, faster, more. It is exactly the wrong thing to do, and frankly a bit dangerous.

Having been an athlete for many years and burning myself out at one level or another, I am finally able to see my own symptoms clearly, now and in retrospect. Avoiding burnout would have been such a better path – like preventative medicine in that if you see the signs early, you can take action and steer clear of trouble. My adrenal stress panel is one of the worst I’ve seen! It wouldn’t have been a big deal to pull back on the training a little bit. I would have lived, especially knowing how hard it is to recover once you have hit rock bottom. If I had known earlier, I would have avoided burnout to begin with, and now it will take me one, two, or more years to recover. It’s no joke.

The following are some typical signs of “burnout”:

  • You are not excited about going to the gym.
  • You are in pain in one place or another.
  • You are injured.
  • Your workouts are wiping you out. You can’t recover well.
  • You can’t sleep.
  • You experience moments of deep exhaustion.
  • You have mood swings.
  • Your skin is getting dry. You feel like you are aging at the speed of light.
  • Your productivity is generally low.
  • Your general enthusiasm is low.
  • A new injury or soreness haunts you weekly.
  • The only thing that makes you feel better is working out again, but you get really tired a few hours later.

If you have a few or all of these symptoms, it is a sign that you might be overtraining or worse –  burned out. The first line of defense is to take a week off, then get yourself tested. An adrenal stress panel is a great place to start because the status of the adrenals affects so many other systems including thyroid regulation, hormone balance, joint inflammation, and brain function to name a few.  If you have had a blood test recently and have values for your thyroid, hemoglobin A1C, and blood sugars, etc., some “off” numbers may just be a result of a burnout on the move! If you catch it early, a short break can bring you back to normal. Otherwise, it can take a year or more to return to your normal, balanced state. So, the earlier the better in terms of reversing this dysfunction, avoiding disease and optimizing health down the line. If you are wondering about your hormonal balance, it is very important not to guess. Instead, find out exactly where you stand!

It is surprising how little training we need to keep our body composition constant, and our bodies fit for life. It takes a lot less than you think. Recently I watched a video by Dr. James O’Keefe that reminded me of these three things.

1) Addiction. Sometimes we exercise excessively to cope with addiction and sometimes excessive exercise IS the addiction. There are many forms of addiction, so if there is someone in your family with this problem, ask yourself if you are addicted and to what.

2) Early detection.  The chambers of the heart can be overly stretched to accommodate the extra load dealt it by excessive exercise. For your heart’s sake, it is important to catch signs of overtraining early.

3) Dosage. It is the minimum effective dose (MDME™) of exercise that will keep us safe and healthy for the long run.

If you are dragging, not feeling as excited about things as you used to, the first step is getting some chemistry values in order to know where you really stand. This will help you avoid further damage and start you on a path to healing. Burnout has serious consequences that we can mitigate if caught early. I urge you to contact me or another practitioner if you think you might be heading down this path. The test is simple and inexpensive with the big plus of helping you stay Strong, Healthy, and Happy.

NEN WORKOUT:

*Run 1 Mile and do 5 push ups every minute until finished.

*Please Warm up Appropriately

 

5 Responses to “Burn OUT! Part 1”

  1. Awesome. I need an HRV and an adrenal panel. You rock.

  2. [...] you read my last article, you’ll know that burnout is a syndrome. It is not just one symptom, but many that are linked [...]

  3. [...] it only takes one out of balance body system to start a syndrome of problems. Earlier I wrote about the symptoms of burnout and its vulnerable personality types. Now I am going to explain some of its contributing [...]

  4. [...] have reviewed the symptoms of burn out, personality types, and the nuts and bolts. Now let’s get to fixing this! There are two ways [...]

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