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Can't recover from exercise.. cortisol issue?

by (1649)
Updated about 18 hours ago
Created June 16, 2014 at 1:51 PM

So, I composed this long detailed post last week and apparently the Gods of Paleohacks thought it was too long and decided to not approve it. So, let me make this short and sweet. I have a 6 year love affair with exercise. I have done many things over the years, but over the past 1.5 years I have been distance running and toying with the idea of triathlons while also weightlifting a few times a week. I have done 2 marathon training blocks over the past year and haven't taken a break in 1.5 years. That is, I workout 5-6 days a week and have not taken a break from this sort of schedule during that time. I have found that I just can't recover. I have this nagging shoulder/pec issue that just won't resolve, I am sore for days after a hard workout and I just sort of feel crappy after working out??? but continue to do it, bc I get that initial shot of endorphins. Anyhow, my chiro has suggested this might be a cortisol issue. Like excess cortisol is contributing to inflammation and not allowing my muscles to recover. In my mind though, people with cortisol issues are tired all the time, but I am the opposite.. I am wired most days and have a hard time sitting still.

Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

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1649 · June 16, 2014 at 11:10 PM

… did you want to complete that thought?

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14877 · June 16, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Okay gotcha. Then yeah I'm out of ammo. Sorry i couldn't help. Well at least now you know it's probably NOT that you need more protein or carbs :) Good luck though I hope this problem resolves itself or you find the solution soon

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1649 · June 16, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Well, to be clear, I only ate that many carbs in the few days leading up the marathon.. so not a real clear picture of how many I would eat on a regular day (150-200 grams). And yes to the protein. Thanks for your thoughts.

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14877 · June 16, 2014 at 9:55 PM

I don't know what to telly you. I gave it my best shot. 450 to 600 grams of carbs is more carbs than a 200 lb bodybuilder takes in on a bulk. The answer is not eat more carbs, then. More protein would be the next bet. Are you eating AT LEAST 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight?

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1649 · June 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Ha. I like the sound of all of your suggestions. The general advice being, chill the eff out. Thanks for your thoughts!

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1649 · June 16, 2014 at 9:48 PM

As long as we are discussing food I will say that I have suspected I under eat for my activity level. There are a few reasons I suspect this, but chief amongst them is simply that when I eat with abandon, I lose weight. For example, in the build up to my last marathon I was coached to try and consume as many carbs as possible… somewhere in the ballpark of 450-600 grams for 3 days leading up to the race. This was in addition to my regular intake. My understanding is that if you do the carb load correctly you should gain about 4 pounds, but instead, I lost 3.

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1649 · June 16, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I do consume carbs in the pre-training phase, yes. Generally that consists of bananas. In the post workout phase, I had a period where I consumed whey protein shakes with honey and cherry concentrate, but I don't recall feeling significantly better during that period. I am always sort of skeptical of the quality of whey so that is why it is not a standard practice, but I do always consume protein + carbs in the 30 min post workout window.

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4 Answers

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0 · June 17, 2014 at 9:21 PM

@thegiantess continuing the thought. The examples you are giving are classic signs of over training. In your explanation you did not give your age, or workout style. Age plays a major factor in recovery. the older you are the slower the recovery. The shoulder/pec problem could be caused by a number of things, torn muscle, rotator cuff or ligaments. something simple as a strain or your hips out of alignment. The first step to recovery is take some time off. stop training for 7-10 days Lay off the weights for 2-3 weeks. Tough I know. See doctor about shoulder/pec issue. Use this short break to define your goal. Are you going to do triathlons or marathons? They require different types of training and nutrition. I have a 53 year young training partner and she does marathons and only lifts twice a week. since she changed her lifting style she has improved on her running times her average marathon mile is 7:13 not bad. she has also competed in two tough mudders this year. the key is to set your goal.

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Okay now for the ugly truth. Both of the previous posts are correct. Your nutrition is off and you need to take a break from the workouts. I'm willing to bet that you're also unable to sleep along with the soreness that happens along with your being wired. These are

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1649 · June 16, 2014 at 11:10 PM

… did you want to complete that thought?

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14877 · June 16, 2014 at 8:22 PM

All you talk about is symptoms but you say absolutely nothing about your actual pre/post workout protocol. Are you utilizing proper pre and post-workout nutrition?

Virtually every successful, consistent trainee- be it your typical "bro" or your elite olympian- makes strategic use of proper peri workout nutrition. 9 times out of 10 this consists of carbohydrates in the pre training phase and easily assimilated protein/carb combination withing 30 minutes of finishing training (typically whey based shake with some form of fast digesting carboydrate/blend like dextrose, maltodextrin, honey, bananas, waxy maize, etc). Then a balanced, solid food meal (proteins/carbs/fats) shortly after.

Do you do any of the above?

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254
1649 · June 16, 2014 at 9:48 PM

As long as we are discussing food I will say that I have suspected I under eat for my activity level. There are a few reasons I suspect this, but chief amongst them is simply that when I eat with abandon, I lose weight. For example, in the build up to my last marathon I was coached to try and consume as many carbs as possible… somewhere in the ballpark of 450-600 grams for 3 days leading up to the race. This was in addition to my regular intake. My understanding is that if you do the carb load correctly you should gain about 4 pounds, but instead, I lost 3.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254
1649 · June 16, 2014 at 9:48 PM

I do consume carbs in the pre-training phase, yes. Generally that consists of bananas. In the post workout phase, I had a period where I consumed whey protein shakes with honey and cherry concentrate, but I don't recall feeling significantly better during that period. I am always sort of skeptical of the quality of whey so that is why it is not a standard practice, but I do always consume protein + carbs in the 30 min post workout window.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc
14877 · June 16, 2014 at 9:55 PM

I don't know what to telly you. I gave it my best shot. 450 to 600 grams of carbs is more carbs than a 200 lb bodybuilder takes in on a bulk. The answer is not eat more carbs, then. More protein would be the next bet. Are you eating AT LEAST 0.7 grams per pound of bodyweight?

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0 · June 16, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Tired/wired/achy is a good bed it's cortisol, and I'd bet that a doctor knows what he's talking about (since you've seen one). Keep in mind endorphins are stress hormones, not pleasure hormones. They remove the pain so you can keep going while your body is being injured... so you can hunt some food and not starve. That's the Paleo perspective. But the assumption your body is making is that you're going to catch that food, eat it and then take a long rest to recover before hunting again. In modern terms, your training is your hunt.

You maybe should take a one or two week total rest from training. Eat lots, gain 10 lbs, maybe do some non athletic swimming and sit in saunas... watch sunsets, etc... pet a dog/cat... get intimate with your favorite human, tell tall tales in a bar.... all that stuff you haven't been doing lately.

06bf7b92d77f1ac1d8e3dc9d539d8254
1649 · June 16, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Ha. I like the sound of all of your suggestions. The general advice being, chill the eff out. Thanks for your thoughts!

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