You’ve probably heard of chronic fatigue yeah? It used to be known as the yuppie disease when i was a young trainer (back in my day!) and people just dismissed it. Well, its just been formally recognised as a disease by a panel of medical experts in the US. It even has a new name! it’s now called ‘systemic exertion intolerance disease’, or SEID for short.
Check it out further here
The thing with chronic fatigue is you don’t just wake up one day with it, you slide into it slowly over time, like a snowball effect. This is something i see regularly in the overworked and under rested. I like to call it pre chronic fatigue. Its symptoms are easily recognizable just like Pre Diabetes. Ive even had it myself a few times and its not fun by any means.
Here’s a common scenario
You work long hours so you go to bed late
You then wake up early but tired, so you hit the stimulants like coffee through out the day
You keep going to bed late because you’re working late and you want to feel like you have a life so you stay up late.
You shave 15 mins off your sleep here and another 30 mins off your sleep there
1 coffee becomes 2 which becomes 3 which becomes 4. You need them to get through the day
Then they stop working. No more caffeine kick
Now you drink them out of habit hoping for a kick
The stressors of life other than your job never go away but now they seem bigger than before.
You continue to go to bed late and get up early because you have to
Slowly you just start to feel more and more tired
You’re grumpy all the time
You’re not enthused about much
But now you’re having trouble even falling asleep
You’re tired but wired as i call it
You even wake up in the middle of the night thinking about your responsibilities and this disrupts your sleep more and more.
More bad food cause you cant be bothered
Less gym time
And when you do go, you’ve got nothing
If you think i’m talkng about you may be experiencing some pre-chronic fatigue. This is reversable though
What do you do?
I hate to say this but you have to start paying attention to recovery before you really get chronic fatigue or “systemic exertion intolerance disease” as its now known in the US.
You can only control the controllable. For most people your work probably isn’t going to change much so you need to control the other variables
1. Go to sleep early
Slee, rest and recovery is the corner stone of having energy. If you knew how much your favourite athletes prioritised sleep you might stop trying to live on so little and expecting to fucntion like a super star.
Going to bed early after a long day kinda sucks though right. It makes you feel like Monday to Friday you work, come home, have about 30 mins to yourself then have to go to bed. Its like being a kid again. But its better to feel rested and happy and have the energy to get through a hard day at work, than being tired and grumpy, and still have to get through a hard day at work.
If you can’t fall asleep because you’re over stimulated at night, there are some fantastic supps for you to help calm the nervous system and facilitate better sleep.
RestoREM and Gabba Centered PX
These two promote the neurotransmitters gaba and meltonin, the two neurotransmitters responsible for SLEEP.
DEEP UNBROKEN SLEEP…
I used to use a lot of magnesium, and i still do as it is good to calm the nervous system but add these two and you have quite the one two punch i’ve been looking for for years! Short term cycles with lifestyle changes is all you need to rebalance things
2. Remove any unnecessary stressors
Once you start to fall asleep and get more sleep you’ll instantly start to feel better. Now you can remove any unnecessary pressures or stressors from your life. These can be small – like not going to every single drinks night or get together so you can have some alone time to unwind and go to bed early. Or it could be large – like getting rid of that lying cheating hoe bag in your life….
Remember your body reacts to stressful situations in the same way. It doesn’t matter if it is physical, emotional or spiritual. The key is to minimize your exposure. Have you over committed yourself somewhere?
3. Don’t drink coffee after 12pm
Coffee has up to a 12 hour half life meaning it can still stimulate your poorly functioning adrenals for 12 hours after ingesting it. Yes it depends on whether you’re a fast oxidizer or a slow oxidizer of caffeine but either way, you can control what you put in your mouth more than being treated unfairly by your boss.
4. Lay off the drugs and alcohol, OZZY!
Don’t play kitten with me. I know what the “Bondi flu” is. I know what using alcohol as a coping mechanism is all about. My relatives got off convict ships too. We’re Aussies. The way to let off steam in OZ is to get right royally steaming! STEAMING! You’re probably smiling just thinking about getting loose right now aren’t you boozy?
Unfortunately it drives you deeper and deeper into fatigue because it disrupts your sleep and all those nose bangers just smash your adrenals even more..
5. Drink Plenty Of Water
Nothing causes and compounds fatigue more than dehydration. One of the best ways to make any situation in life worse is to be dehydrated too. My boyfriend is being a douche – and i’m dehydrated. My boss is a slave driver – and i’m dehydrated.
Add a pinch of colored sea salt to your water to get your own natural form of inexpensive electrolytes to help keep you hydrated. One of the lesser known pearls about stressed people is they need more GOOD SALT for the adrenals to work..
6. Do not check emails after you’ve finished work
If you’re reading your emails at 11pm or 2am – you’re not getting out of the “problem solving” frame of mind. This will keep you analyzing things and keep you stimulated. Stop it.
Have work hours and respect them. For your own sake.
7. Shorten your workouts
Working out illicits the fight or flight response the same way caffeine, out of control pit bulls and that Kardashian wannabe talking loudly on on the train does.
Because you are functioning at a reduced capacity you need to train at a reduced capacity. The no.1 overlooked aspect of training is managing the nervous system. Especially the stressed nervous system. Smash and puke trainers driving their clients deeper into fatigue pain me.
Don’t stop moving by any means as prioritizing your health is the key to getting out of fatigue but manage your training better. Every workout you do doesn’t have to be harder than navigating an Indonesian roundabout. I’ll sometime only do a half an hour workout with clients who are under the pump as i know that’s all they can recover from. Might not be a good time to be hitting any PB’s either
They get 3 hours a week with me minimum but sometimes 30 minutes is all they can deal with
8. Eat nutrient dense food
I know the feeling. You’re tired, you don’t have time to cook and because you’re tired, you’re hungry for quick forms of energy like sugar! Think about what you instinctively reach for in the morning when you’re tired? Muffin, juice, caffeine, simple sugar.. Did you know protein lowers the GI of any carbohydrate? So does fat. Jam pack your meals with protein, avocado, nuts, seeds and nutrient dense veggies.
Oh its boring isn’t it
You know what’s also boring? Being tired and miserable all the time!
This isn’t a admissible condition anymore, Its real. Its common. Take the control back. Take care of yourself first and foremost. It is reversible