Many people don’t know this, but I’ve been recovering from HPA Axis Dysfunction for about 6 months now. For those of you who don’t know, your HPA Axis is the Hypothalamus/ Pituitary/ Adrenal connection in the body. All three of these systems work together in concert to keep us happy, healthy and in hormone balance.

Last fall I took on an additional full-time job outside of coaching in my gym, building out the other side of our building, going to school, and training. Everything seemed fine at first, but the stress of the new job continued to increase as the months rolled by. In the meantime, we finished buildout on our gym, hosted our own 2-day competition and then the holiday season rolled in with all its wonderful stresses.

The late nights were piling up, the kiddos had their activities, I was still trying to train like a 22-year-old, and I thought everything was ok… until my hamstring popped. That was red flag #1. I rested “a little” went to PT and massage therapy to loosen things up and continued about life as I knew it.

The stresses continued to become more and more and the job became more intense and more intense and everything came to a head in January. For the better part of 9 days I under ate, barely slept, and the two ends of the candle I was burning were almost touching.

It’s almost over I said to myself, once I get home I’ll be able to sleep and I’ll be fine. Well then I got home, and then my septic tank backed up into my basement ruining a ton of my possessions, I was taking on more and more nutrition clients as I built my business, and then I started to try to train again…Then I got hurt again. This time it was my hip, and it was pretty bad.

I ended up hitting rock bottom at the end of January. I couldn’t bend over without assistance, was in excruciating pain from the bottom of my rib cage to my knees, I was crying all the time for no reason, my weight was uncontrollably climbing, and I hadn’t felt that mentally unstable in years.

I took 2 full weeks off from almost all activity. The only thing I was allowed to do was row or Assault bike at the lowest pace possible a total of 3-4 times. I slept as much as I could, ate as much as I could and just prayed to get better. More PT, more massage therapy, x rays, twice weekly chiropractic care, and then finally low-intensity exercise.

It was another 2 months before I started to sound like myself again and just last month before I started to feel good at weightlifting. I still don’t feel good in metabolic conditioning pieces and I have to be very careful each day not to push too hard because it makes me feel so bad for several days afterward.

Despite that, I truly thought that I was back to my old self until last Monday, June 4th when I got home from the Atlantic Regionals. The weekend was amazing, everything went off without a hitch, I got good quality sleep and despite the fact that my intake was lower than normal I felt good about food quality.

Well, come to find out it was just enough stress to have me crashing and burning again by last Wednesday. Despite having not trained for a week everything hurt, my brain was foggy, I could have fallen asleep standing up, and I was sucking it up worse than ever in workouts. Guess what that meant!?

NO TRAINING for another 5 days and an increase in carbs to assist in the recovery of my central nervous system. So as I write this, I’ve trained 1 time in 13 days, have been focusing on keeping food quality as high as possible (there might have been one incident of ice cream) and getting as much sleep as possible to get fully recovered.

I don’t know what today holds when I try to start training, but what I do know is that this road to recovery will continue to be my focus as I continue to run two businesses, raise two kids, have a quality relationship with my husband, and make a huge impact on the world around me!