Training Clients with Adrenal Fatigue
In this post I answer some questions that haven’t been “the norm” but are here to stay. It can happen to clients at any age and to both genders. It is definitely more common among women and women in midlife are most susceptible.
If that’s your target market – by choice or default – here’s what I cover in this post you’ll love:
- How do you know if your client has adrenal fatigue?
- What do you do if your client has adrenal fatigue?
- How do you suggest changes outside of sessions that will help recover from adrenal fatigue?
What do you do if your client has adrenal fatigue? Adrenal fatigue may or may not be recognized by Western medicine. HPA axis dysfunction isand they’re basically the same thing. There are two theories about adrenal fatigue you want to understand if you work with a midlife female demographic. I won’t go into the deeper science in this post.
Her: Make Me Better
Your client cares a lot less about the label than about potentially losing weight or getting her energy back. You are often the first line of defense. You may spend more time with her than any allied health professional. You can help her understand the signs and symptoms. You can also stop her from reacting with the usual “work harder get better results” mantra that lures women into further fatigue.
10 Signs Your Client Has Adrenal Fatigue:
- She can’t get going in the morning. She may have turned into that client who cancels morning sessions – last minute – or decides she need later day sessions.
- She has no appetite so IF she shows up for a morning session she hasn’t eaten.
- She’s shaky, maybe dizzy, and needs a lot of rest between sets.
- She never really gets an exercise “high” during sessions.
- She might leave feeling a little better but she’ll report (if you follow up) that she was wiped out after the workout.
- She may tell you that she feels like she could take a nap after her workout. There’s no rejuvenation or more energy. For her, it tanks.
- She might sleep through the night – even go early and get 8-10 hours – but she’s never rested in the morning.
- She might not sleep well. She’s waking up between 1 and 3 and can’t get back to sleep.
- She seems to be gaining weight or making no progress toward goals (if not weight-related) even for putting in the work.
- She probably doesn’t have a libido (she won’t volunteer, you’ll have to ask!)
What to do when your client has adrenal fatigue?
She’s not going to “snap out of it” so stop pushing. You would be digging her deeper into a hole by continuing to follow a plan or progression.
Yet, she still needs you! Yes, she should move. She’s potentially not going to get better without it. It just needs to look very different. Know this: a woman who gets adrenal fatigue is often a woman who thinks she should suck it up. Save her from herself.
Reduce the volume of exercise. Instead of an hour session, do 30 minutes.
Cut back on intensity of exercise. Instead of trying to burn fat with HIIT, for example, for a woman flirting with adrenal fatigue, HIIT will cause burn out.
Create mini movement breaks she can do instead of long workouts that will drag her through the adrenal mud.
You want to coach her to prioritize sleep if she’s not.
Coach her to change her hormone balancing and intermittent fasting plan to snacking.
If you want the deeper dive comparing conventional vs. hormone balancing vs. adrenal fatigue coaching & training, check out the Flipping 50 Specialist.
It depends. It depends on how long it’s gone on ignored. It depends on how compliant the client is to adjustments. It depends how in tune you are to monitoring type and timing of exercise and nutrition coaching as well as lifestyle habits that support recovery.
Some clients are still “recovering” for years. Others feel better within months. So you become support helping her assess where she is on the journey.
You’ll want to look at all types of clues including digestion, elimination, sleep, stress (all sources), rest & recovery, and nutrition. You want to be armed with suggestions for monitoring nutrient absorption. Does your client need micronutrient testing or fecal testing, for instance?
Need to understand lab tests? Test yourself first and know what happens. Use Flipping50 for $20 off.
What’s Your Scope?
You can inform clients of the value of these tests and provide resources to support them. If you’ve been trained to understand labs and communicate with them, you can be the source for intelligent questions for an allied health practitioner.
You have many rights within your scope of practice. More importantly, you have a responsibility and opportunity as a trainer. As long as you’re trained to know what that scope is and what options your client has, you can be a pivotal point in their health and then their fitness.
You spend more time than anyone potentially with your clients. So you are a vital part of early detection. If your client has adrenal fatigue you can help.
Adrenal fatigue is on the far right of the exercise prescription continuum. Ideally YOU have a chance to work with women before they ever get there. But if not, you can be armed and ready with knowledge of what to do. Exercise IS an important part of healing. However, it’s not the exercise that you traditionally would recommend for fat burning or weight loss.
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