The Hidden Performance Killer: Adrenal Fatigue and Burnout
By Daniel Wernikoff, Certified Sports Nutritionist
While exercise and athletic training is typically a good stressor on the body, it is still stress. The body’s stress response is centered in the adrenal glands, which are located on the kidneys and produce the “stress” hormones: epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol, among others. During training and competition, the adrenal glands react by increasing our heart rate, sending more blood to our muscles, and organs to cope with the increased stress.
As training and competition demands increase and periods of rest decrease, an athlete’s adrenal glands are constantly stimulated to produce stress hormones. This continued stress leads to the adrenal glands having difficulty keeping up with the demands placed upon them, and their production and effectiveness decreases. This is called adrenal fatigue. If the adrenal glands continue to be stressed, the Adrenal Fatigue will continue to worsen and lead to Adrenal Burnout. Adrenal Burnout is a serious imbalance of the body’s energy-producing system. It kills your athletic performance and will hinder your results. If the adrenal glands continue to be stressed without treatment, Overtraining Syndrome will ensue, which can take 6 to 8 months to recover.
The symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue and Adrenal Burnout include:
- Excessive fatigue and exhaustion
- Difficulty Sleeping / Non-refreshing sleep
- Feeling overwhelmed with school, sports, and home responsibilities
- Craving salty and/or sweet foods
- Decreased stamina and / or endurance
- Slow to recover from injury or illness
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
- Poor digestion, constipation, diarrhea
- Sensitivity to temperature, hot flashes, or cold flashes
- Competition Anxiety
- Irritability, impatience, quick to anger.
If you are having some or all of these symptoms, you should see a professional trained in the diagnosis and treatment of Adrenal Fatigue and Burnout. Athletes from all over the country have to come to Champion Athletes’ Nutritionists and Sports Physiologists for the diagnosis and treatment of Adrenal Fatigue, Adrenal Burnout and Overtraining Syndrome in athletes.