I get it. It can be so damn frustrating because all you want to do is get back to doing what you love but it feels like you’re body is betraying you post competition.
You feel like you’ve stopped making gains in the gym and you are feeling a serious lack of energy in your life.
So many of my clients tell me they noticed so many health problems start right after or soon after their show. Things like:
- Weight gain
- Gut problems
- Crazy mood swings
- …(the list goes on)
If someone starts experiencing one or more of these shortly after a competition, I like to call it “post competition syndrome.”
What to do next.
After competing in a show, you’re supposed to “take a break.”
But do you?
You’re supposed to take a break from the extreme dieting + workouts to allow your body to fully recover….but you don’t. You keep grinding out workouts and depriving yourself.
You’re supposed to “reverse diet” and slowly add carbs back in…but you don’t. You think that since it helped you “cut” it will help you stay ripped long term.
You’re supposed to be including healthy fats…but you don’t. You’re scared that eating even good fat, will make you fat.
You’re supposed to include nourishing foods after months of being “tough” on your body…but you don’t. You start binging on a bunch of crap like pizza and cookies and the ever so popular donut.
The two most common things I see are chronic fatigue and adrenal burnout (HPA Dysfunction).
Chronic fatigue in athletes
Did you know that chronic fatigue is something that I see plaguing so many high-level athletes that forces them to take a seat on the sidelines?
It’s often not talked about in the world over high-performance because there’s this mentality that you should just “push through.”
What are some symptoms of chronic fatigue?
- Do you feel like you NEED coffee every morning in order to be a normal functioning human being?
- Are you using stimulants as a crutch to just get through your day?
- Feeling tired and wired?
- Need something to help you sleep at night?
- Not being able to work out anymore because you’re too tired?
- Can’t lose weight despite eating right and exercising?
If you answered “YES” to even one of those questions, there’s a good chance that something is going on below the surface that we need to take a look at.
Adrenal burnout in athletes
Adrenal burnout (the real term is Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Dysfunction) is all too common for physique competitors, bodybuilders, ex-college/professional athletes, crossfitters and bikini competitors.
If you’re not training correctly OR if you’re simply overtraining OR not supporting your body through proper nutrition, it can start to take a toll.
Many athletes come to me after a large competition or a period of intense training because they find that their body just isn’t “right.”
Adrenal exhaustion begins to occur when stresses become chronic in nature, meaning that they are present day after day.
Although the decline in adrenal function occurs in a progressive fashion, three “stages” of adrenal exhaustion are commonly used to describe a patient’s condition.
The causes of the adrenal exhaustion range from…
- Skipping breakfast every day and only eating a salad for lunch
- Exposures to mercury (and other toxic substances)
- Infections in the digestive tract
- Conducting life at a frenzied pace each day
- Over exercising and undereating for long periods of time
It is extremely important to address whatever is causing your adrenal exhaustion, so that the treatment protocol that you have been given can successfully restore proper function to your adrenal glands and the systems they impact.
Bottom line: now what?
I’m not going to tell you to never compete if that’s what you love.
You may have read / heard many naturopaths or functional medicine practitioners tell you that you should stop doing crossfit or bodybuilding competitions because it’s hard on your body.
I will never do that.
What we do by working together is come up with a plan that helps you optimize your body so that you can continue to do the sport you love in a sustainable way that may just even help you get that next PR.
In fact, I believe that crossfit and bodybuilding can be good for your health…IF you’re doing them with healthy insides (aka gut, hormones, etc). BUT you must find out what’s going on inside.
Test, Don’t Guess.
By testing how your hormones and gut are doing you can plan out how to maximize your performance…and get back to the sport you love, energized and ready to take on a new challenge.
What types of testing do I do and recommend?
- Adrenal/hormone testing
- Organic Acids testing
- Gut health testing
With your results, I can work closely w/the coach you have to modify your training plan if needed (my background is in strength and conditioning for college athletes).
Ready to get your energy and life back post-competition?
Schedule an introductory 15 min call with me so we can cut through the bullshit and get to the root of your problem. (I work through virtual consultations and can work with you from anywhere!)
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.