Our first coaches corner where you can see us!

We had super fun today on coaches corner; our first time using Skype and I sense that the competition is on now for best hat and mug combo. Mitch won today; with Ian in sensible grown up clothes coming in a firm second.

We have built up a real treasure trove of resources for cyclists and triathletes; so if you are interested in having a listen to other podcasts you can find there here to stream in any format that suits you best and also here on YouTube. I have also detailed many of the podcasts here: (I may have missed a few).

Here is today’s awesome podcast 🙂

Today we discussed:

  • Early (warning) signs of health crashing and tips about what to do to prevent getting sick and return to full form as quickly as possible.
  • Indoor vs outdoor powermeter and what to do with your numbers – also, if you do not have a PM outdoors – how to pace yourself?
  • Theia offers words of wisdom on “failure- or is it?” I felt like she was speaking to my soul given the personal context for me; thanks Theia! Her words are worth listening to. I really enjoyed the tip on  “what am I going to give in a race” and I learnt that for me the importance of holding my health sometimes has far greater meaning in the context of my work and home life. I need to be healthy for what matters; and crushing this in a race just isn’t worth it.
  • Concept of a “Floor” in our Training Peaks numbers – and how to use it.
  • This week in the LAB.

As promised here are my words of advice regarding what to look out for and what to do when your health starts to veer off track:

Warning signs:

I have kept it light hearted; if you wish to read the official consensus on Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment of the Overtraining Syndrome: Joint Consensus Statement of the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine click here and another topic close to this and equally concerning is relative energy deficiency in sport and here is the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Statement on Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S): 2018 update.

Normal warning signs and symptoms that I see when training stress starts to ramp up are the following – without getting too in-depth!

Respiratory tract:

  • Allergies and asthma
  • Sinus infections
  • Head colds
  • Sore/ tickly throats
  • Constant cough
  • If really unlucky chest infections or pneumonia and viral conditions (that don’t need an antibiotic) worsening into bacteria complicated infections (that may need an antibiotic).

Gastrointestinal tract:

  • IBS type symptoms
  • Looser stools
  • Greater difficulty managing nutrition and feeling like food isn’t digesting well
  • Reflux and indigestion
  • More frequent food poisoning / gastritis incidents
  • Poor nutrient absorption – iron and B12 deficiency

Recovery and adrenals:

  • Waking tired
  • Going to bed wired
  • Insomnia
  • Having an afternoon slump
  • Cravings for sugar, caffeine, sometimes fats and salt
  • Postural hypotension/ dizziness
  • Heart rate shifts
  • Light sensitivity
  • If things get bad – chronic fatigue, worsening allergies, weird inflammation type symptoms, thyroid issues, menstrual problems
  • Weight gain, muscle loss
  • Eating can often become more erratic

Moods and motivation:

  • Anxiety.
  • Not feeling the love for training; difficulty committing to sessions, skipping sessions, making excuses to drop power/ zones etc.
  • Being off form – loved ones will say we are moodier than normal.
  • Depression, low moods, not feeling yourself.
  • Feeling overwhelmed and more anxious around people, wanting to hibernate.
  • Appetite swings all over the place. Poor adherence to normal good eating patterns; issues with disordered eating and bulimia can present.
  • Low motivation for self-care.
  • Poor coping strategies can sneak in, being negative towards self.

Musculoskeletal system:

  • More niggles.
  • Sore muscles.
  • Dead power.
  • Cramps.
  • Feeling imbalanced – tight muscles have the body feeling all off.
  • many of the terms above are not strictly scientific I am using words that walk in my clinic door.

Performance:

  • Unlike the kids in the photo above having fun we start to feel like everything sucks!

Are here are 10 helpful rules to follow to restore optimal health and performance: 

1. Listen to your body – don’t fight it, work with yourself. Intuition is the most valuable asset of all in knowing when to push through and when to stop.

2. Rest more, sleep more, and consider adding in daily naps.


3. Address the training and racing load; of note the high intensity and big volume sessions in addition to their frequency. Make a short-term plan; short-term adjustments reap long-term rewards.

If you don’t have a coach then consider getting a coach if you are not good at listening to yourself. At the very least speak to someone who is subjective and understands training and body physiology in health and under stress.

Don’t forget to factor in travel and work stress, family commitments and all the other life stresses when planning your training and competition load. Be realistic.

4. Explore your mind-set, expectations and your WHYS. Re-evaluate your goals and expectations if needs be. Become more present in the moment and avoid expending unnecessary energy e.g. being over controlling or over analytical and getting caught up in training forum debates etc etc. Energy is not infinite, choose where you spend it wisely.

5. Ramp up your diet quality – this is non negotiable if you want to have a fast return to form. REAL food, lots of veggies, quality protein, low GI carbs, healthy fats, no processed food.

No meal skipping, no fasted sessions; the only extreme about your diet should be EXTREMELY healthy.

Listen to what you body is saying re cravings. E.g. salt for postural hypotension and fatigued adrenals, sugars because you are exhausted and cortisol is wreaking havoc on your blood glucose levels, chocolate because you need magnesium and LOVE, alcohol because your moods are low, caffeine because you are a train wreck etc.

6. Fuel and recover from all training sessions according to intensity and duration and in the context of what was before and what is after and how you feel.

Bring your post race recovery!! If you are travelling to events plan ahead for the travelling and the pre- and post-race. This is a weak area for many athletes. Understand the stress you are about to face re travel and different conditions. Bring a first aid kit so that you will never need it.

E.g. I was supposed to be going to SA (long story) and I was bringing the following with me:

  • Polenta the fast variety I was going to cook it in boiling water (this is what works for me pre-race)
  • All race day food and fluids.
  • Gluten free bars for the plane.
  • Usual travel kit combining medicine, herbs, aromatherapy and topical treatments for stomach issues, injuries, and insect bites.

Back to training – Aim to eat real food on the bike for longer sessions and don’t let your blood sugar levels get behind the reason for this is that we are trying to get as many nutrients in to you as possible to support healing. Eat to appetite, there is no need to stuff yourself; you should feel comfortable.

Add electrolytes/ salt to food and beverages and especially if you are having an issue with dizziness.

Strategies like juicing, broths, veg smoothies, powdered fruit/ veg and seaweed extracts and all in one medical foods like mediclear plus, medipro or similar in metagenics/ protocol for life balance, allergy research etc may be helpful.

Going gluten-free may help with immune and digestive.

Prebiotic and fermented foods, herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric etc are all super helpful.

Eating some vegetarian and fish focused meals is helpful. Limiting animal product portion sizes. A focus on omega 3 rich foods and mono-unsaturated fats over too many saturated and omega 6 fats is recommended. Processed carbs and carb only or sugar rich meals have a negative effect on the immune system.

7. Diagnostic tests – blood tests (esp (white blood cells –  WBCs, ferritin and B12), functional tests for gut (I can do this for you), adrenal and hormone tests (I can also do this for you), biomechanical assessment. Examine your work station, posture, bike fit, shoes, etc.

8. Support the mind and body – Epsom salts baths, aromatherapy, massage, healing therapies, osteopathy, myofascial release, PEMF, fun, talking it out, a break from the norm. Do what you are drawn to.

9. HERBS

Immune and adrenal supporting herbs like astragalus, reishi, shitake, cordyceps, eleuthero, rhodiola, schisandra, ashwagandha.

Anti-viral herbs like sambucus or licorice.

Specific herbs like echinacea, berberines or goldenseal

There are more!!

10. Finally support gastrointestinal health  – the cornerstone of health – probiotics, glutamine, Vit A and D, phospholipids, saccharomyces, fibres, specific products for leaky gut, stomach or colon inflammation or dysbiosis. Don’t ignore gut issues; they are trying to tell you something.

I hope this helps,
Andrea

 

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