Adrenal Fatigue, Running
What A Mother Runner Needs to Know
Fatigue, cravings, inability to sleep, and mood swings as a mom are REAL!!!
- Are you running and running and running and still struggling to lose fat or get faster? OR maybe struggling to find the energy or motivation to even get started?
- Are you tired all the time but having difficult falling asleep or waking up each night thinking about your to do list and then having difficulty getting up in the morning?
- Are you anxious, overwhelmed and STRESSED a lot of the time?
- Are you holding onto extra pounds and no matter how little you eat or how much you workout they won’t disappear?
- Are you addicted to tons of coffee to get you through the day?
- Are you getting sick over and over again?
- Are you wondering why you have NO sex drive?
- Are you frustrated and border line depressed trying to lose weight?
Adrenal fatigue may be to blame if you are feeling this way but running and running, limiting yoru food and beating yoruself up are not going to help. In fact, are all strategies are only going to make you feel worse.
In this article I want to talk about what you as a mother runner need to understand about adrenal fatigue and the impact it has on your training, your performance and your fat loss potential.
Let’s dive in.
What mom doesn’t have stress right??!!
So What Is Adrenal Fatigue and Why Should You Care?
Adrenal fatigue (or “HPA Axis Dysregulation,”) is the result of over worked and dysfunctional adrenal glands.
Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. In response to physical, emotional and exercise stress (yes, your body treats exercise like any other form of stress) these important glands produce your stress hormones to handle it.
Basically, when your body feels stress of any kind, the adrenals light up and prepare the body for "fight or flight". During this natural response adrenalin and cortisol are released, speeding the heart rate, slowing digestion, shunting blood flow to major muscle groups and changing various other autonomic nervous functions, giving the body a burst of immediate powered up energy and strength.
Now think of the sources of stress in your life (distance running, exercise, work, kids screaming, husband yelling, being late for work, worry about finances, weight gain, what's for dinner... you know, ALL THE STRESS OF MOM LIFE). Cortisol is released to make energy available to deal with that stress. When the stress goes away, cortisol and adrenaline levels go down and systems are designed to return to normal function via the relaxation response.
Unless the stress doesn’t go away...l ike in mom life.
These can be tough years and if you are experiencing worry, anxiety and tough life situations, your systems are not being given the opportunity to return to normal function. The adrenals are on over drive all the time pumping out cortisol and causing damage to your entire body over the long term….that is adrenal fatigue.
What I usually see in my runners is they are chronically stressed, sleeping less than 7 hours per night, running tons for sanity (thinkingand feeling like running will solve all their problems) and under eating nutrient dense food. Essentially, these ladies are running on empty. Many more still think that more running and strict dieting is the answer to fat loss and improving fitness. So when life feels hard, they push harder. More miles, harder work outs, stricter dieting.
This way of thinking is making them miserable and causing their bodies to actually hold onto unwanted fat becuase of chronically elevated levels of cortisol in the absence of any real stressful situations the body needs to protect itself from.
Chronically elevated cortisol has been associated with increased fat storage, especially belly fat, poor sleep, extreme fatigue, difficulty falling asleep despite that fatigue, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, weight gain, the inability to lose weight and it even lowers your immunity. In addition, cortisol prompts cravings for “comfort food,” which are typically high in carbs and saturated fat. Routinely acting on these cravings can also lead to weight gain.
Willpower and more miles are no match for chronically elevated cortisol.
How Does Constant Stress Affect You Training, Performance and Fat Loss?
When you are running long or pushing your body hard, most days of the week, you are placing your body under an extreme amount of stress. That amount of stress can be be completely fine, assuming the rest of the stress in your life is well under control and you are practicing really solid recovery practices like sleeping 7-9 hours per night and strictly eating enough nutrient dense and macro balanced meals.
Seriously, can you say with confidence that your stress level is "in check" between your workouts, you are sleeping well and your nutrition is dialled in so you are fully letting your body recover and perform at its best???
When you pair those intense workouts with not eating enough nutrient dense food in the right macro portions at the right times and 7-9 hours of sleep, you can really mess with your adrenals, your metabolism and your bodies abbility to burn fat the way it is supposed to. You will likely find yourself exhausted, sick over and over, injured, having trouble staying motivated, gaining weight despite increasing mileage and over all just feeling frustrated, heavy and stuck in a training rut.
You cannot lose weight because cortisol is a very powerful fat storage hormone that is no match for will power or any amount of effort or time put into your workouts.
The more you workout and the longer you run in this condition, the more fat your body is going to store, mainly in the abdominal area, and the worse you going to feel.
The solution to fat loss and improved performance is not going harder and longer, it is reducing your cortisol levels. It is focusing on recovery strategies like nutrition, sleep and juicy self care.
This is so tough because as runners, when we are feeling bad, our first incliniation is to head out and crush a run. I am not saying you can;t do that, just be aware of the effect on yoru body and if you do go and push yourself, plan to eat really well, get to be early and manage the stress driving you to feel that miserable in the first place.
Are You Running With Adrenal Fatigue?
First off, I have to tell you that there aren't medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it's not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnoses of "Adrenal Insufficiency" or "Addison's Disease" may apply.
However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms)
What To Do If You Have These symptoms?
Join the RunningMoms Wellness Training Academy! Hormonal health is at the core of this life changing program created exclusively for exhausted, busy moms who love to run but are tired of feeling tired and gaining weight. In this program I teach you how to combine simple and effective physical training to build lean muscle, macro nutriton strategies to balance blood sugars and recovery strategies to reduce stress hormones and toxic inflammation for a real running, body and life transformation. I have also brought in the experts to teach you about thyroid helath, adrenal health, gut health and nutrition for both weight loss and performance exclusively for FEMALE RUNNERS.
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XO - Carey
Founder of the RunningMoms Wellness Training Academy GET THE DETAILS HERE
Helping women transform their running through simple, effective and holistic training, nutritional and hormonal re-balancing strategies so they can get fit, run strong and burn fat.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired. Excessive running is adding to the stress and only causing your body to hold onto fat and make you feel miserable.
Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms.
The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. You should also start to think about how you can adjust your running, clean up your diet, sleep more and stress less.
Stress-Reducing, Essential Self Care Lavender Bath Salts
2 cups epsom salts
5 drops DoTERRA Lavender Essential Oil
As you're running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved
Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!
Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers. Epsom salts in water, break down into magnesium and sulfate. The theory is that when you soak in an Epsom salt bath, these get into your body through your skinand just soaking in warm water can help relax muscles, ease tension ans stress from the day and loosen stiff joints.
Do you want to learn to run, get your adrenals in check and set your body up to burn fat instead of storing it??? Join the RunningMoms Wellness Trainign Academy becuase that is what we are all about, holistic training to balance your hormones and set your body up to burn fat and run STRONG. You will get the BONUS Hormonal Balancing E Course PLUS all my training plans, strength, core, speed workouts, recipes, meal plans and performance courses for hormonal balance, fat burning and performance results. If you are running and running and running, stuck in a fitness or weight loss plateau (or even worse gaining weight, getting injured or burning out), this is the Run Coaching and Fitness Program for you. Enrolment is closed but get on the wait list and join hundreds of other Mother Runners ready and excited to get back in control of their hormones to run fit, lean and STRONG again after babies. Those on the wait list will get access to a sweeeet discount!!! GET ON THE WAIT LIST HERE.
XO - Carey