Could it be cortisol?

Asked on June 12, 2014
Created June 12, 2014 at 2:51 PM

So, here's the thing. I am an avid, some would say extreme, exerciser. I am just one of those people that find something they like and then do the shit out of it. So, like 6 years ago I started working out on a daily basis (before that I did a lot of walking, like up to 50 miles per week, but no weight bearing to speak of). I started with the typical, cardio warm up and then circuit style training. I did that 4 days a week and on other days I would do just cardio or intervals or whatever. Anyhoo.. I did that for a good 2 years? That's 5-6 days per week. So, then about 3-4 years ago I got into Paleo and hacking the diet and the whole heavy lifting thing. I started doing lean gains style lifts and HIIT and blah blah. I noticed some gains, but got beefcake-y and got bored. Then I transitioned into running marathon type distances, which really suited me bc the workouts are long and anti-social. So, roughly 3 years ago I began distance running. I would do 4 month blocks of distance running and then I would jump out of that and get back into heavy lifting. Then 2 years ago I started doing both. I would run about 25-30 miles per week and also lift 2 or 3 days, heavy. Then 1.5 years ago I trained for 5 months for my first marathon but was also still lifting 2 days a week, but running much more. Ran my first actual marathon 9 months ago. Did not rest afterward. Transitioned into thinking I wanted to do triathlons so took up swimming and cycling while still running and doing weights 2 times per week. Sometimes I would lift heavy and sometimes I would do a WOD. Then 6 months ago I decided that open water swimming is for people with way bigger balls than me and dropped the idea of tris, but kept swimming and lifting and then started training for the Minneapolis marathon which was 2 weeks ago. So, I ran between 120-170 miles per month while also lifting 2 times a week and swimming once per week for the past 6 months. Then the damn marathon was cancelled due to weather.. so instead of taking a week or two off (like I should and planned on doing) I just jumped back in to distance swimming, lifting, WOD, cycling. Just whatever, Often close to 2 hours of exercise per day. I actually just ordered the 8 weeks to SealFit book. Wtf is wrong with me??

Ok, so we are getting to the actual question here, I swear. I have over the past 1.5 years had this nagging pec minor/shoulder issue/injury. I have seen gazillions of specialists and it gets a little better, but always comes back. Additionally, I have cycling digestive issues that of course get worse under stress. And in the past few months the damn pec minor thing has just maintained its level of unresolved.. and my guts are just not happy. On top of that, I just don't recover well. I tell myself it is because of the amount of work I put in, but I am not sure that holds up. I do self massage, foam rolling, mobility work, see a chriro/physical therapist and yet??? So, I thought about it today and realized I have not taken any time off of training for 1.5 years. That is for the past roughly 600 days I have worked out 5-6 days per week. So.. maybe its cortisol? Have I fried my precious adrenals?

I will say that as much as a I workout I have not seen any changes in body for over a year. About 2 years I dropped a few pants sizes, but since then, nada. I store fat remarkably well too. However, the other thing that makes me think it might be cortisol is that when I am not working out like crazy, but am eating like crazy I drop like 3-4 pounds. Example, in March I was in Poland for a week and was not maintaining my usual workout schedule. I would try and workout at the gyms at the hotel, but Polish gym goers are odd and it was often overwhelming.. so I would do like 30-45 minute intervals on an elliptical and get the hell out of there. But I was eating like a 14 yr old boy. I wasn't tracking my calories, but I truly ate constantly and without regard and was likely consuming close to 4k calories per day for a week and weighed 4 pounds less when I returned home. Additionally, in the 2 weeks leading up to this past marathon I upped my carbs to a number that would make most of you Paleo types shudder and instead of gaining 4 pounds do to glycogen stuffing like you are supposed to.. I LOST 4 POUNDS! All I can think is that I have been overtraining and under-eating and that when my body gets a chance to chill a little and eat a lot it relaxes and lets go some weight. A few more little details. I cannot stop moving. My lovely sig other likens me to s shark and says I would probably die if I stopped moving. I get fidgety when I attempt to sit still and have to get up and move around a lot. I try and sit on the couch for a few hours at the end of the night bc I will have been on my feet since 6 am, but even then.. I fidget. Also, I don't need coffee to wake up, but I drink it bc it tastes good and if I drink more than 2 cups I start to tweak.. that must mean something? Around 7 pm I get giddy.. like dance around the house and annoy the shit out of everyone giddy. What else? Oh bc I know someone will ask, I eat PHD style.

I have ordered a saliva cortisol test, so in due time I will have an actual answer, but just wanted some thoughts or insights or whatever in the mean time. If you have made it this far, I congratulate you and look forward to your thoughts.

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