The Burnt Out Athlete

Apr 2018

When training versus recovery has a severe imbalance, the athlete will experience a burnout and can result to depleted adrenal hormones. Short overtraining periods are beneficial in a healthy training program, but when they are over the extended period of time, it becomes what’s commonly known as “chronic overtraining”. And an “overtraining” syndrome can have serious repercussions on an active athlete’s health (like adrenal depletion).

“Overtraining” is associated with symptoms of weakness during the performance, a weakened immune system, tiredness, and a negative mood. The chronic, elevated levels of cortisol (caused by stress) can cause atrophy (muscle breakdown) as well as a compromised pituitary gland function.

What does burnout mean?

Burnout simply means physical exhaustion.

What happens during burnout?

During burnout- the muscle fibers are not capable of firing properly and all the way (a.k.a you are not at top form) energy levels can decrease, there is tension (muscle tightness) due to the excessive load on the muscles. These can affect sleep and can result in reduced immunity. Burnout can also cause overuse injuries like shin splints, stress fracture, and damage to tendon, muscle, or bone.


What is adrenal burnout?

Also known as adrenal fatigue. This is a result of chronic stress and inadequate sleep. This concept goes hand in hand with physical burnout.


What happens during adrenal burnout?

A general feeling of tiredness, just not feeling “quite right”.
A higher susceptibility to respiratory infection, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
A difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.

This not only affects mood, and the energy level but every organ in the human body. Metabolism decreases of carbohydrates, fat, and protein metabolism.

What happen to soft tissue during burnout?

Burnout and overuse can cause microtrauma and an inflammatory response, can trigger pain and tissue dysfunction.The connective tissue can stretch and tear and as a result can form adhesions. The ramifications would be tightness, pain, and a lack of flexibility. Increased adhesions put tendons at a greater risk for tearing up during training or worse.

Many athletes are being pressured to specialize in one sport at a very young age. This can be harmful to both the body and mind if the athlete does not get time off to recover. This does not necessarily mean to cease from all activity, but instead, they could take a day off of practice and work on flexibility, foam rolling, meditation and stress management techniques. The athlete can also try other sports on the side. If they do not practice on weekends, swim a few laps in the pool, or play tennis as a family for fun.


Role of testosterone and growth hormone:

Growth hormone is one of the main hormones released by the pituitary gland. It is an anabolic hormone (meaning muscle growing). This is critical to athletes, especially during training. Testosterone is another naturally occurring hormone in both men and women. Testosterone helps us build muscle as well. This hormone can be tweaked during workouts by performing high intensity and heavy lifting with short breaks in between reps, and this will build muscle in both males and female athletes.

What can I do for this? First and foremost click here and fill out the symptom survey; fax this to Dr. Susan 7038583876 and go to “Make An Appointment” (put in the link for making an appointment) for a nutrition consult.



The Role of Testosterone for the Female Athlete

Overtraining, Exercise, and Adrenal Insufficiency

Adrenal Fatigue and Overtraining the Athlete

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Dr. Susan Clark


Dr. Susan Clark
My name is Dr. Susan Clark, I am a licensed Chiropractor with a sports background. My niche is sports performance to include medically engineered products to get patients up and moving. Products we have designed are based on real cadaver and chronic patient injury patterns over the last 12 years.