In my opinion, the most important thing when looking for a personal trainer is finding someone that understands you.
Someone who has been on your journey and truly gets who you are and what you are going through.
Someone who has walked through your shoes.
Today I thought I would tell you my story so that you can see where I've been and how I got to where I am today.
Twenty years ago I became a certified personal trainer. Working downtown Toronto in the business district. My clients were busy professionals who were very goal driven. I loved it as I loved to set goals and push boundaries to achieve them.
After a few years of training I decided to compete in fitness competitions. There wasn’t as much research then about how to eat and train. I just did what my coaches told me.
1.5yrs of training and 2 competitions later, I decided enough was enough. A life of weighing food and denying myself a social life to look a certain way for one day wasn't for me.
Little did I know that the stress I had put on my body had permanently affected my health.
• Digestive issues
• Not being able to sleep
• Or when I did have a great sleep I always woke exhausted
• Overheating when I would try to work out or do any exercise
• Feeling like a brick was on my chest sometimes and it was hard to breathe
• Going through my day feeling like I was walking through a fog of cement as my arms and legs felt like they were 100 lbs
• My brain also had days where I had trouble focusing and thinking because it was also in a cement fog
• Moody and short with people closest to me
• Low energy – where I’m sure if I could handle the smell of coffee I would have had an IV of it dripping in my arm
• I became intolerant to gluten and dairy intolerant
• Crazy sugar cravings
• Low blood sugar
My doctor just looked at me.
I was lean and looked fit and she said I was fine.
It got to the point where I stopped advocating for myself as I hit a wall every time I tried. I was angry and frustrated and felt defeated.
For 14 years I lived with these symptoms
They became a part of my life.
For 14 years I could not work out. I would try. I hired a colleague to train me. My body could handle moderate workouts for a week or two and then it would crash and I would end up in such a cement fog that I could barely train my clients and walk up the stairs of the subway on my way home.
I felt like such a fraud as a trainer.
Over time I learned ways to manage it.
I’ve been gluten and dairy free for 20 years. I’ve learned which exercises I can do and where my limits are physically. And I’ve incorporated a lot of stress relieving techniques that I can throw in my day as I feel my body shutting down.
I’m not one to stop, so I just pushed through.
I pushed through the cement fogs and didn’t complain. Some days I have no clue how I got things done, but I did. When I had a good day I would do the task that needed lots of concentration or physical strength and bad days I would do the easier things. I learned to live with it.
Through the years there wasn’t anything that I came across to explain all of my symptoms.
Until recently that is…
When I read the symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue, a stress related condition.
Now there are so many articles out there on the topic, like this one.
These are the symptoms:
• Tiredness and exhaustion
• Difficulty getting up in the morning
• High levels of fatigue each day
• Trouble falling asleep at night
• Higher energy levels in the evening
• Salt and sugar cravings
• Needing stimulants like caffeine to get through the day
• Weak immune system – always getting flus and colds
Less common symptoms
• Asthma, allergies or respiratory complaints
• Dark circles under the eyes
• Extreme tiredness an hour after exercise
• Frequent urination
• Joint Pain
• Lines in your fingertips
• Loss of muscle tone
• Low Blood pressure
• Low Blood sugar
• Low Sex Drive
• Lower Back Pain
• Numbness in your fingers/poor circulation
• Weight Gain
As much as I saw myself in these symptoms I could also see many of my clients that I have trained through the years.
My stress came from pushing myself day in and day out with dieting and over training.
My clients were pushing themselves at work and at home. Working crazy hours, deadlines, trying to move up in their company or run an entire company.
We are always connected to our phones and never get a mental break. Add that to family responsibilities, pressures and schedules and stress if through the roof. Throw in a move, job change, wedding, divorce and you have the perfect cocktail for adrenal fatigue.
Stress surrounds us everywhere nowadays.
Two years ago, I found a naturopath that helped me to the point where I can work out good days. But my body still crashes from time to time.
The past year I finally had the brain power and energy to research ways I can reduce stress in my body to make sure I never get back to that place again.
My life is busy, so I need things that can be incorporated quickly and easily into my day that don’t take over my schedule.
Now when I start to get stressed and life gets overwhelming try one of the techniques I learned and the stress decreases, my heart rate slows down and the world seems like a happier place.
Recently I was listening to a podcast of which gave me that spark to start advocating for myself again. I found an amazing functional medicine doctor who has won many awards and recognitions for is work.
The lab results confirmed that what I have been feeling all along was not in my head. My adrenal glands (part of your body that deals with stress) was damaged beyond repair. I’ll be on medication for life. Had someone helped me sooner I may have been able to have corrected my adrenal glands naturally through lifestyle changes.
As I am going through treatment I am documenting my journey in hopes that others who are experiencing the negative effects of stress on their body will advocate for them self sooner than I did.