I read an article in a waiting room once that, in a nutshell, was poking fun at celebrities for taking public breaks for illness or “exhaustion.”
The snarky author ended it with something along the lines of “Take a vitamin and get moving, like the rest of us.” I read the article with a smirk, knowing all too well that life doesn’t stop for the commonfolk when sickness or exhaustion sets in.
We still have to go to work because we still have bills that need to be paid. We still have to feed and water the offspring. Those of you who have kids know what I mean, they demand nourishment in excess of FIVE times a day sometimes.
The article was intended to get a laugh, but there is truth behind the idea of burnout and the need for recovery.
Let me paint you a picture. A little Bob Ross version of what it’s like to be inside my head, if you will. I’m a bit of a type-A. I liken it to Monica on Friends. Slightly neurotic, but totally in control of it. For those of who aren’t familiar, a quick google search produces this definition:
Type A personality: A temperament characterized by excessive ambition, aggression, competitiveness, drive, impatience, need for control, focus on quantity over quality and unrealistic sense of urgency.
Yep, that’s me. Attempting to be the next Erin Brockovich, I recently took on a new job, in a new field, with a very steep learning curve, in addition to maintaining the classes I teach for Barefoot, while still being the best wife and mother I could be.
I was also training to earn my SFG certification at the same time. I had never trained for a specific event before. Hearing the stories from my fellow instructors of how difficult the SFG weekend was, I did the only thing my brain knows how to do: I launched into full-on panic mode, which quickly turned into I-can-do-this-no-matter-how-hard-it-will-be mode.
As Ronda Rousey would say, “I am not a do-nothing *****.”
I approached my training like I do everything else, knowing that I will succeed, because I’m willing to work for it.
I dove headfirst into everything. More work, more training, look at the baby, look at the baby.
Eventually the stressors piled up. I was fighting back-to-back upper respiratory infections–a nightmare for a highly asthmatic individual like me. I couldn’t seem to kick the wheezing, which was making it difficult to train well.
I was starting to panic that I wouldn’t be prepared when the time came, but I was. By the time I left for the cert, I couldn’t do a 40 lb get-up, but I could do 100 snatches in well under 5 minutes!
After the cert, I was motivated by what I learned my body was capable of. I wanted to continue to push myself in the gym, but I knew there had to be a smarter way to do it. My body was having a hard time keeping up with my mind.
My brain was like Flashulk (yes, there are people who dream this stuff up), but my body was more like… who? Aquaman? (Sorry, Aquaman fans.)
I was burning out.
I wasn’t sleeping well, couldn’t turn my mind off at night, and the inadequate recovery was killing me in the gym, at work and at home with my family.
I’ve taken supplements before, but never consistently, for three reasons: Most of them taste horrible, many carry unwanted side effects or don’t contain what they claim to on the label, and I’ve never experienced the results that they promised.
I just didn’t think they were worth it.
However, Abby had just started carrying Exos supplements in the gym, and when Precision Nutrition backs a product, I figure it’s worth a try. I was burnt out and looking for options. I knew I needed something to help me recover better, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
I started taking B Vitamins each morning, Relora at night before sleep, and also using amino acids to fill in the gaps in my eating habits.
I noticed the Relora immediately – on the first night I slept deeper than I had in months. I was a happy camper, and as the days and weeks went by I started to see the difference better sleep was making.
My biggest limiting factor in my performance in the gym wasn’t my training, it was my ability to recover between sessions.
This combo seemed to be just enough to address that limiting factor.
Supplements like this are only a small piece of the overall puzzle, but in my case, a little help in the sleep and recovery department during a particularly demanding time in my life really paid off in my training.
After three or four weeks, I was consistently getting in 5 days of training a week–something I had always strived for in the past, but never seemed to accomplish. Neat-o!
Shortly after that, I hit a new milestone: I crushed a 45 lb get-up. Bonus! Just a month prior I couldn’t even do 40. I used to feel absolutely drained after workouts. Now, when I log a session, I notice that I still have energy left when I’m done.
A week ago, I went to the gym early so I could get my own training in before I taught back to back afternoon classes.
The last class of the day turned out to have only one client. I sensed he was feeling a little awkward, being the only person there. When I joined Barefoot as a client, a huge draw for me was having comrades to help motivate me during the classes. Wanting to give him that same feeling, I opted to do the workout with him.
I wouldn’t normally recommend doing the same workout twice in one day, but hey, it was for a good cause. I wanted my client to have a good session with a workout partner.
A few months ago, this would have left me totally drained. But, because my body has been recovering faster, I had the energy to get through the session and still felt good the next day.
Aside from the physical effects, I’ve experienced some mental ones too. I largely attribute this to the B Vitamins and Relora. I seem to be better at managing mental stress. In my crazy mind, I have a need to do it ALL- house must be clean, work must get done, you know the drill. But lately, I’m a little more relaxed.
So if you want to find me, I’ll be outside making memories with my family, because hey, it’s summer, and I’d rather be savoring this precious weather than inside scrubbing the floors.