Overcoming Overtraining Syndrome in Endurance Athletes


Overtraining Syndrome is more common than you may think, and the reasons that you can’t seem to achieve the performance you want may be as simple as changing your water, recognizing your body’s nutritional needs and supporting your nervous system with herbs and homeopathic remedies. In this way, peak performance can be achieved easily with less injury, less strain and less effort... naturally. Overtraining Syndrome in athletes is more common than you may think. Many athletes assume that by following a prescribed rigorous program of aerobic workouts with increasing muscular resistance work and high levels of proteins and complex carbohydrates at regular intervals, that peak performance will be the result. But often the athlete fails to adapt to the stress generated by their training load. Symptoms of overtraining can be: * High resting heart rate * Anxiety, restlessness or irritation * Tremors or "the shakes". * Rapid bowel function with watery stools or intermittent diarrhea. * Gradually increasing heart rate while training. * Unquenchable thirst. * Easily fatigued during training. * Loss of concentration, brain fog. * Bowel movements close together. * Craving caffeine. * Lack of motivation. * Dizziness upon standing.

What is happening is that the nervous system has lost its ability to regulate body function. This happens as a result of too little rest, lack of essential nutrition and a gradual loss of neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine which is essential for muscle contraction. Often a loss of glutamine is the initial culprit, signs of which are inability to fall asleep. Once this continues for some time, a domino effect begins allowing higher levels of adrenalin to circulate throughout the body tissues. This then causes depletion of tyrosine and other precursors for adrenal hormones. Also, a lack of essential fatty acids at this point can exacerbate the adrenal fatigue that is beginning.

Endurance athletes have the highest protein requirements, generally assumed to be up to 2.0grams per kilo of body weight. One test that is suggested is to take one gram of glutamine three times daily and if a response is achieved, then protein deficiency is the culprit.

Iron deficiency is another problem for many athletes. This can happen not just from lack of iron intake, but poor hydrochloric acid production in the stomach, low bile levels from the liver which carry apotransferrin which is essential to iron absorption, and even chronic infection. I generally recommend three things: Zypan from Standard Process which is digestive enzymes with HCL, choline to increase bile flow and Ferrofood, a food-based iron supplement.

But the real difficulty is that the more overtrained the athlete becomes, the harder he will push himself to overcome the resistance his body is providing. It is a challenge to get the athlete to realize the importance of rest and to not push the edge beyond the ability of the body to adapt. Also, athletes are known to goal-set to achieve and remain in a steady state. This means that any treatment cannot stimulate nor sedate the nervous system. Instead trophorestoratives are the key that will not heat the system, nor push it further. So avoiding the typical adaptogens is essential. So avoid Panax Ginseng, Eleuthero, Withania and Licorice.

Instead, focus on normalizing the nervous system and supporting the immune system. If the resting heart rate is high then sympathetic dominance is the case and there may even be underlying infection present as well. If the resting heart rate is normal, but cannot sustain their heart rate during anaerobic training, then parasympathetic dominance is the case.

So the first thing is to give Mediherb’s Echinacea Premium Blend which is a combination of Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia. If there needs to be a stimulation to the gastric action, then chamomile is perfect. If the intestinal action is too rapid, then adding a whole food powdered fiber into a morning shake is perfect, along with Cramp Bark to reduce muscular spasms. Also homeopathic formulas can be helpful such as Heel’s Spascupreel and Traumeel. Greater Celandine is the best thing for the liver to improve bile secretion which can restore normalized digestive action over time.

But treating the nervous system is the essential piece. Yarrow Root, Hawthorn leaves, St. John’s Wort and Nettle Leaves to provide the largest mineral supply to the body in the plant kingdom. Adding homeopathic formulas such as Nervoheel or Neuroheel can also be essential. A core piece is Standard Process’s Symplex M for males or F for females. This food-based product helps to regulate the nervous system and the essential glands that control the autonomic nervous system response. Burdock is great for eliminating excess metabolic acids that can tie up the muscle fibers and create burning and fatigue during workouts.

But one of the most important pieces is hydration and Kangen Water is the key. It is antioxidant, microclustered and alkaline, making it the perfect water for endurance athletes to eliminate metabolic acids, restore immunity to the tissues and provide full hydration to muscle cells, connective tissue and joint spaces.

By identifying Overtraining Syndrome and immediately restoring nutritional balance as well as systemic balance, peak performance can be achieved easily with less injury, less strain and less effort.