A long season of training and racing can leave your body feeling worn out. But extreme fatigue can have lasting effects and shouldn't be ignored or accepted as a side effect from spending long hours in the saddle.
Adrenal fatigue can be an underlying cause of overtraining syndrome, an umbrella term used to explain a decrease in performance and motivation. If left untreated, adrenal fatigue can spin your hormones out of whack, making you feel tired, depressed and lacking the energy you need to get on the bike to train.
Fortunately, you can improve your adrenal health by recognizing the symptoms and changing your diet.
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
Retired professional cyclist Amy Moore understands adrenal fatigue all too well. After a career filled with a packed race schedule and constant traveling, Amy is finally able to reflect on the signs and symptoms of what was happening to her body.
"After a full year of racing in Europe, my body pretty much shut down before the end of the season," she says.
Amy was in a race in Italy and as soon as the pace went up, she couldn't even push on the pedals. There was just nothing left. She dropped out of the race and literally sat in a hotel room and did nothing for five days.
"I didn't have the symptoms of being sick with a cold or fever. It was just a general feeling of being tired. I barely had the energy to get up and go outside for short walks. I was exhausted in a way I had not experienced in all of my years racing professionally," she says.
"I attempted to race Worlds after a week in bed, but had a very short race and was dropped early on. For months after the season I tried to work out, but even for a short ride of an hour I wanted to stop and cry. The smallest things put me over the edge. It was an emotional time. I was so used to being so active. My body was telling me to stop."
When someone as vibrant and full of energy and life as Amy gets to a point like this, it's not just "being tired." Adrenal fatigue goes beyond needing a nap and a sunny day to perk you up. It's rooted deep into your hormonal system and can get worse with time.