I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I should write about this here. Part of me (a large part) would rather just deal with it on my own and move on. However, this is suppose to be a place where I share the truths of my life as a fitness instructor so in the end I felt it would be dishonest of me not to share it. Furthermore, a lot of people have been asking what is wrong with me (as I’ve mentioned a few times that I haven’t been well) and have expressed concern so I decided it was best for me to share it.
In a nut shell, I’m suffering from overtraining syndrome.
I’ve been teaching 10+ classes/week consistently for over 5 years now. In those 5 years I calculate that I’ve taken about 6 weeks off from teaching – total. There was a period when I was teaching 19 classes/week (we’ll call that the walking zombie era), and most recently I’ve been teaching 14 classes/week.
But apparently they weren’t.
In the end, it seems like the sum of all of those hours of exercise took their tole on my body. Perhaps I’ve been feeling it for a while and didn’t notice, some of the early signs of overtraining include insomnia, exhaustion, and muscle/joint pain – all things I regularly experience due to my Fibromyalgia so I would have no way of knowing the difference.
And then I started to have heart palpitations (which were scary).
My resting heart rate was higher than normal.
I started having respiratory problems.
I had no appetite (and anyone who knows me, knows that is a big deal!) but was super thirsty all of the time.
There were a number of other symptoms too but you get the idea.
The long and short of it is I have adrenal fatigue and a hormone imbalance. I think that one sort of follows the other (when your adrenals get tired your hormones go wonky) but I don’t really know.
That is why I am taking a week off from exercise. It wasn’t a planned vacation, but it is a happy accident that my time off is at the same time J had booked a week of vacation time so I get to hang out with him (which doesn’t happen that often). I’ve also been doing/taking a few other things to help bring everything back into a normal balance and am happy to say that as of a couple days ago the heart palpitations have stopped and my respiratory issues seem to be gone as well. However, I’m still going to be in super rest mode for the week and hopefully that means when I got back to teaching on the 18th I’ll be good. to. go.
With all of this in mind, I’ve cut back my class load once again. I have been teaching a few classes that weren’t profitable but I had continued with them simply because I liked teaching them. When it became clear I needed to cut back again, unfortunately those classes were the ones that had to be cut. It always makes me sad to cancel classes, but I know that in the long run it’s not only better for me personally, but for all of my participants. I’m a much better instructor when I’m not totally exhausted!
I’ve said in the past that I will take more time off, and last year I did take 3 weeks off, but two of those weeks were when I went to Disney and to NYC (and neither of those trips were physically relaxing, if anything I was more exhausted from those trips than if I had been teaching!). Going forward I will be taking more vacation/relaxation time like I should have been all along in order to prevent this from happening again.
Over the summer I’ll be down to 3-5 classes/week. I had thought about picking up a couple extra classes but since all of this has come to light I think I’ll be better off just sticking to the smaller number of classes for the summer to really give my body time to recoup before going back to 8-10 classes in September.
It’s funny, when I think of stress I think about mental stress, not physical stress. So when I think of stressful jobs I think of doctors, stock brokers, lawyers, etc. not a fitness instructor. And I guess, that is where I went wrong.
I may pop in with a post or two next week, but I expect it to be a bit quieter than usual around here. I’m going to be busy watching movies 😉