How Much Protein Powder Should A 14 Year Old Take One Woman’s Struggle With Marathon Addiction

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One Woman’s Struggle With Marathon Addiction

Last year I had a consultation with a 27 year old woman named Allison. She is a marathon runner who suffers from what I call “sports fatigue”.

I have treated Allison on and off for the past two years for a range of issues including hip pain, back pain and plantar fasciitis (foot pain). Lately, she has been getting injured more frequently and complaining that she has trouble sticking to her training schedule.

Here is how she described her problem:

“I feel like shit. I’m very tired and pretty grumpy at work. I’m training for Chicago (the Chicago Marathon) and it’s not going well. And my stomach is bothering me. I know you do adrenal tests, and I wanted to see if I could do it. My race is in two weeks, so can we do it after that?” I agreed. Allison was successful in her race, but she was unhappy with her time. She said she didn’t feel like herself and was completely exhausted for three days after the race. She came to get her test kit and she looked exhausted.

“Why don’t you take a few weeks off from training until we can see what’s going on with you?” I suggest.

Allison agreed. I gave him the Functional Adrenal Stress Profile test kit, to see what was going on with his adrenals. I also had her complete a metabolic assessment profile, to see if she was digesting protein properly and to see if excessive exercise had caused cell damage. Her test results showed that she had really sunk into the ground. His lab tests indicated:

  • His adrenal glands were in stage 2 exhaustion.
  • She was gluten intolerant.
  • She was not digesting protein properly.
  • His body was under some free radical stress.

When I discussed Allison’s test results with her, she asked a question many athletes like to ask: “Can’t you just tell me what supplements to take?”

Unfortunately, today there is a mindset that goes something like this: “Do you have a problem? Take a pill. While it may work in some serious situations, the truth is that health issues and athletic performance issues are rarely caused by a lack of pills; either on prescription or at an additional cost.

So in Allison’s case, the answer was a resounding no.

“Listen to Allison, we need to get your diet, workout plan, sleep and recovery under control, and then we can discuss what supplements you should be taking. In cases like yours, there’s no quick fix. , and I can tell you from experience that these problems will continue to get worse.” I told her she needed to work with me for 6 months so we could really get her back on track. She agreed and signed up for a 6-month personal program.

After taking the baseline assessment home and faxing it back to me, it was easy to see that Allison had several things working against her.

  • She was overtrained. Distance athletes tend to train too much, do too many races without enough free time. Allison was no different. She ran 4 (!) marathons this year and did a few sprint triathlons. She was planning to do a half Ironman next year.
  • Allison ate a lot of gluten grains and carbs in general. The high carbohydrate diet is still very popular among distance athletes. Allison ate a lot of pasta and cereals and also used way too much protein powder.
  • Allison was also suffering from some digestive issues. Her diet included lots of processed foods and not enough cooking with whole foods.
  • She didn’t sleep enough. Allison stayed up quite late and got up early to run. She averaged about 6-7 hours a night.
  • Allison had issues with a low libido. This is common, especially in female athletes who train too much. She had been married for about a year and a half and having children was in her plans.

So Allison’s overtraining, lack of sleep, and gluten consumption had drained her adrenal glands. We had to get this problem under control first, and then we had to look at his digestion.

The first thing I made him do was not run for a month. Yes, a full month. I even forbade him to run the Turkey Trot. Here’s why: Many runners are addicted to running. They will continue to go through almost anything. When someone starts to develop some of the issues that Allison was having, it’s essential that she takes the time to heal. She was not allowed to ski until December.

While the rest in itself would help Allison immensely, taking a month off would let her sleep in later. Sleep is crucial for the recovery of the adrenal glands.

That’s all we worked on for the first month. I’m not going to lie: At first, Allison rebelled. But after I explained to her that letting her adrenals recover now would pay off next year and told her that adrenal fatigue was the reason she felt so bad during her runs, she agreed.

During this first month, we met every week. Allison spent about a week off the runner. She had to fight the urge to go 10 or 12 miles every day. But she survived. She quickly started sleeping later and sleeping around 9 hours a night. I had told her that month 2 would focus on quitting gluten, but she stopped right away. She wanted a big project to focus her attention on while she wasn’t running.

We also put her on a supplementation program.

After her month off racing, I let Allison start over. She agreed to reduce her distances to 3-5 miles three times a week. Twice a week, she did a circuit kettlebell workout at home, for no more than 30 minutes. If she went skiing, that replaced a race day for that week.

After the first month, Allison was fine. Her digestive issues were still bothering her, so I had her see her doctor about it. The doctor gave her a stool test, and it turned out that Allison had an infection in her intestines. Her doctor prescribed her antibiotics and the problems got better within a few weeks (this was a case where “Do you have a problem? Take this pill” worked).

At 3 months, we had Allison repeat the adrenal stress profile, and it was much better. She had stuck to her schedule and had truly been a wonderful patient. After about 4 months, Allison was doing great. She was done with her supplement program. Her libido was back to normal, she was gluten-free, and she was getting ready to start training for her first marathon of the season. But something happened. Make a guess…

In the fifth month of her program, Allison told me that she and her husband were expecting their first child. She would get a long break from marathon training.

Allison’s case of sports fatigue is very common, especially among women who play distance sports. (Guys also have athletic fatigue issues, but the symptoms are different.) Taking enough time to recover, eat well, and exercise sensibly is key.

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