Recently, a very “beat up” triathlete showed me the results of his saliva testing for hormones.
They were really low. Even cortisol was low. Cortisol is the stress-release hormone we churn out when exercising and living, and when that drops low, it’s a real warning sign that you’re so beat up that your adrenal glands simply can’t keep up with your extreme endurance lifestyle anymore!
So what did I recommend to this triathlete to “take care of his body” and bounce back from overtraining and adrenal fatigue?
1. Eat a ton of really nutrient dense foods. No caloric depletion or “going hungry” for at least 4 weeks. Some of my favorite nutrient dense foods include:
1. Eggs, with the yolk
2. Sea vegetables
3. Organ meats
4. Bone Broth
7. Dark Fruits/Veggies
8. Fermented Foods
10. Coldwater Fish
11. Grass-Fed Beef
2. Get rid of items that tend to aggravate the adrenal glands and make fatigue worse. This includes:
1. Banana, dried figs, raisins, dates, oranges, grapefruit (high potassium fruits)
2. Fruit and juice in the morning
3. Refined flour products such as pasta,white rice, bread, pastry and baked goods.
4. High amounts of fructose from honey, syrups, and soft drinks, as well as dried fruits and concentrated fruit juice.
5. Adrenal stimulants such as coffee,tea,black tea,hot chocolate, alcohol, colas, and chocolates.
6. Heated oils and fats, especially vegetable oils
7. Rushed and hectic meals
3. No fasted workouts or intermittent fasting and going “hungry” during workouts. Instead, eat a big breakfast with lots of proteins and fats and don’t try to lose lots of weight during workouts, which can be stressful to your body during a state of overtraining or adrenal fatigue.
4. 2-4 weeks of easy, aerobic workouts only (no hard intervals or “monster training sessions), along with some kind of yoga, meditation, or very relaxing movement each morning.
5. Consider using the following supplements:
1. Chinese adaptogenic herbs
2. High electrolyte intake, preferably with liquid trace minerals and/or Himalayan sea salt
3. High dose vitamin D at 35IU per pound of body weight and huge amounts of morning sun exposure
4. Taking 2,000 to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C each day
5. Supplementing vitamin E with mixed tocopherols (i.e. from a good fish oil)
6. Taking B-complex supplements that are high in B6 and pantothenic acid, which tend to be depleted during adrenal fatigue
7. Red ginseng at around 6g/day
8. Adding licorice root extract to dietary supplement regimen. 200-400 mg a day of a licorice extract standardized to contain 5 percent glycyrrhizic acid.
Overtraining and adrenal fatigue can significantly affect your performance, your hormones, and even your libido and fertility (which is a serious issue for lots of endurance athletes!).
If this is something that you’re interested in or concerned about, and you (or someone you know) is worried about overtraining or adrenal fatigue, you may also be interested in a free hormones video Q&A that I’ll be teaching this Tuesday night at 6:30PST.
To get in on the call, to ask your questions now so I can answer them during the Q&A, or to view the replay after the workshop, simply click here.