Post 77: Adrenal Fatigue

One of the biggest things I have come to realize about fitness is that there is an exception to every rule. In terms of getting fit and dropping fat, there may be more exceptions to the rule than you thought.

In my experience by eating a better diet and exercising more almost everyone can build muscle and drop fat. As a trainer, the question always is ” Are we maximizing this process? And what about the client that is not losing weight?”

In the past the basic answer would be that the person isn’t working hard enough. I now realize that is the wrong answer. If you get past the basic generic drivel that you find in fitness magazines, infomercials and certain tv shows, there are valid reasons some people are working hard but not getting results.

Adrenal fatigue is one of these reasons. If you are not losing weight and feeling stressed out all the time, take a look at this. I first found out about this through Dave Asprey of Bullet Proof coffee fame.

Here is a link to a quiz to see if you may have this.

Here is a great description I found online at

Strategy to Manage Adrenal Fatigue

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a “syndrome” that results when the adrenal glands function below the necessary level. Most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress, it can also arise during or after acute or chronic infections, especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia. As the name suggests, its paramount symptom is fatigue that is not relieved by sleep. You may look and act relatively normal with Adrenal Fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or “gray” feelings. People suffering from Adrenal Fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going in the morning and to prop themselves up during the day.
Adrenal Fatigue can wreak havoc with your life. In the more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that you may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day. With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ and system in your body is more profoundly affected. Changes occur in your carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. Many other alterations take place at the biochemical and cellular levels in response to and to compensate for the decrease in adrenal hormones that occurs with Adrenal Fatigue. Your body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.

How can you tell if you have Adrenal Fatigue?

You may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue if you regularly experience one or more of the following symptoms:
  • Tired for no reason
  • Trouble getting up in the morning even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour
  • Feeling rundown or overwhelmed
  • Feeling weak or shaky
  • Can’t bounce back from stress or illness
  • Crave salty and sweet snacks
  • Feeling best only after 6 PM
  • Allergies
  • Environmental sensitivities
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

What causes Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal Fatigue occurs when your adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress. The adrenal glands mobilize your body’s response to every kind of stress (whether it’s physical, emotional or psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond. If they don’t, or if their response is inadequate, you will experience some degree of Adrenal Fatigue.
In Adrenal Fatigue your adrenal glands retain some level of function, but not enough to maintain your normal, healthy homeostasis. Their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished by over-stimulation. This over- stimulation can be caused either by a very intense single stress or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.
Circumstances that can lead to Adrenal Fatigue include:
  • Prolonged stress or a severely stressful event
  • Nutrient deficiencies or poor dietary habits
  • Excessive use of caffeine, sugar, and refined carbohydrates
  • Environmental pollutants or toxins
  • Food allergies
  • Excessive use of cortisone therapy

Who gets Adrenal Fatigue?

Anyone can suffer from Adrenal Fatigue at some time in his or her life. An illness, a life crisis, or a continuing difficult situation can drain the adrenal resources of even the healthiest person. However there are factors that can make you more prone to Adrenal Fatigue. These include certain lifestyles (poor diet, substance abuse, too little sleep and rest, or too many pressures), a chronic illness or repeated infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia, or a mother who suffered from Adrenal Fatigue around the time of your birth.

Are there other health conditions related to Adrenal Fatigue?

The processes that take place in any chronic disease, from arthritis to cancer, place demands on your adrenals. Therefore, take it as a general rule that if you are suffering from a chronic disease and morning fatigue is one of your symptoms, your adrenals are likely fatigued to some degree. Also anytime a medical treatment includes the use of corticosteroids, diminished adrenal function is most likely present. All corticosteroids are designed to imitate the actions of cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenals, and so the need for them arises primarily when the adrenals are not providing the required amounts of cortisol.

Can people with Adrenal Fatigue ever fully recover?

Yes, with proper treatment most people can fully recover from Adrenal Fatigue. What follows is a program to help in that recovery, including nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and supplementation.


People suffering from adrenal fatigue tend to consume caffeine and sugary or refined carbohydrates to give them an energy boost to get through their day. This contributes to the underlying fatigue of the adrenals by stressing and depleting them even further. Dietary improvements can have a major impact on overall energy, strength, and well-being.

General Meal and Eating Principles

  • Eat breakfast before 10:00 a.m. It is critically important to replenish your blood sugar in the morning, so preferably a full meal, but at least a healthy snack, is needed to support your adrenals. Eat lunch before noon, have a health snack at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m., and eat dinner between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. Have a small, healthy snack just before bedtime to maintain blood sugar through the night.
  • At each meal, consume sufficient high-quality protein and fat to stabilize blood sugar until the next meal. Having an intake of sufficient protein (and fats, see below) helps to balance out energy levels and reduce the stress on the adrenals.
  • When consuming carbohydrates, substitute more complex carbohydrates for simple, refined carbohydrates, such as natural grains in raw form, instead of refined grains.
  • Make fresh fruits and vegetables a daily staple of your diet.
  • When snacking, avoid high-sugar and refined carbohydrate snacks, which spike blood sugar and aggravate Adrenal Fatigue.
  • Try wherever possible to eat foods that are in a whole, unprocessed state. You want them to be as close to their “state in nature” as possible. So organic, raw almonds are better than conventional, dry-roasted, salted almonds (which are highly processed).
  • Reduce exposure to toxic substances, such as pesticides, chemicals etc. in food, by eating organic foods whenever possible.
  • Consume 8 glasses of high-quality water (spring or highly-filtered water) throughout the day. Replace soft drinks with water, herbal teas, and fresh vegetable juices.

“Super Foods” for Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Celtic sea salt
  • Olives
  • Vegetables, especially brightly-colored
  • Fatty fish, e.g. wild-caught salmon
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Beans
  • Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds
  • Seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower
  • Avocado
  • Kelp and seaweed

“Foods to Elude” for Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Soda
  • Sugar
  • Fructose and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit juices
  • Chocolate
  • Trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, french fries, fried foods, baked commercial baked goods)
  • High-potassium foods, such as bananas, dried fruits, potatoes, asparagus
  • Oranges and grapefruit
  • White bread (bagels, rolls, muffins, pancakes), white rice, white potatoes and white pasta
  • Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), Splenda/Sucralose, Saccharin (Sweet and Low)
  • Artificial preservatives, additives and colourings

Physical Activity

Regular, moderate exercise is very important to gradually rebuild strength and endurance. Begin with light exercise, such as a 10-minute walk, and work your way up to more moderate physical activity.

Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine consumption.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption.
  • Stress is a primary component of adrenal fatigue, and it is critical to lower your stress. Control stress levels through relaxation techniques, such as relaxation, visualization, meditation, breathing techniques, or yoga or other activities. Exercise also helps to reduce stress levels.
  • Take short, horizontal rests during the day, 15-30 min. if possible, especially when drained or stressed.

Visit me at Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |

Post 30: Are You a Dieter or Athlete?

 Hopefully I have you thinking about this. The actual title of this was going to be ” Are you a dieter trying to lose weight or an athlete trying to lose weight?”

And there really is a difference. A big difference. So I am going to take this blog time and try and distinguish between the two.  As part of full disclosure, I should tell you I don’t train dieters. Dieters cannot be trained. They are mere slaves to a scale and will not take my advice. Make no mistake about this, M Factor Fitness clients are athletes. They may be accountants, Doctors, housewives, moms, dads, CEO’s etc… but when they start training they are athletes.

This is why my success rate is 95% and dieters have a failure rate of 95%.

 1. Dieters are slaves to the scale. As long as that scale goes down they are happy. Athletes don’t care about the scale. They know with proper training they will reach their goals and they measure this by bodyfat analysis.

 2. Dieters don’t care how they lose weight, they just want to weigh less. Athletes need to know if they are losing fat or muscle. This is where body fat analysis comes in. If you are keeping your muscle and dropping fat, then your nutrition is perfect. Start losing muscle mass you need to eat more. Body fat goes up, eat a little less. Isn’t that easier?

 3. Dieters drive their metabolism into the ground and crawl away from the ruins. Cutting calories, especially drastically cutting calories will actually slow down your metabolism. Metabolism is the speed you burn calories. If you have a slow metabolism you are going to have a hell of a time losing weight. Athletes by working out with weights actually hype their metabolism so they burn calories during the workout. The better your metabolism the more calories you will also burn at rest. This means you can lose fat while sleeping.

 4. Dieters will reach a breaking point. Either they get tired of drinking shakes, eating bland food and missing out on the stuff they like to eat or they get sick or they don’t see the results they want. So they quit. Now with a slower metabolism, they will gain all their weight back and then some. For most people, following a diet just doesn’t work. It doesn’t fit into their lifestyle. It just isn’t realistic. Athletes, once in shape, can eat pretty much anything they want. By training hard you learn how your body works. When you body is working efficiently you can get away with a lot. And have fun doing it if I may say so.

5. Dieters want to be smaller. Athletes want to shape their body. I have clients from 15 to 62. It is never too late to change the way you look. Lifting weights is actually the best thing for you as you get older. it keeps your bones strong, heart healthy and keeps your muscles in balance.

6. Dieters are always looking for the next best thing. High carbs, low carbs, paleo, Atkin’s they will try them all. They are mesmerized by weight loss commercials and especially infomercials. Athletes eat normally and don’t have to worry about what cavemen ate or how Kirstie Allie lost all that weight.


6. Dieters will never be happy and will get old and have aches and pains. Athletes will age slower, look better, feel better and continue to do the things they want to do far longer than their non-active counterparts.

So what are you waiting for? If you are in the south Denver suburbs I am waiting for you. If you aren’t or if money is tight, join my newsletter. I will turn you away from the evils of dieting and turn you into an athlete.

You may not like or agree with the information on this site. All I ask is that you try it and see for yourselves.

Visit me at Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |

Post 6: Can you Be Healthy and Still Eat Fast Food?

Here is an interesting article I ran across.
Just another reminder that nutrition and fitness is not a black and white issue. Actually I enjoy fast food as a cheat meal. It is a great guilty pleasure but I don’t overlook the damage it causes and I try to keep it to a minimum.

The one thing I would argue is the old calorie versus energy argument. Most clients who are unsuccessful in dropping fat have internal issues they need to fix and you can blame most of those issues on a poor diet and lifestyle. Until they fix those issues, they are just not going to lose weight. Period. 

If this is you, click on this link for a short presentation on “leaky gut syndrome” and what you can do about it. In my opinion, this is the most overlook cause of obesity and illness in modern life.

I advocate 3 things.
1. Find a way to exercise that you like.
2. Learn how to eat.
3. Learn how to fix the damage you have done to your body.
4. Enjoy life.

 This is very simple and effective. The end result is that you will gradually adopt a healthier lifestyle, one which will be much easier to maintain the rest of your life.

Here is the article.

Can You Diet And Still Eat Fast Food?

Exclusive MNS Library Article

You’d imagine the answer to that would be ‘no’, but the cold hard facts about dieting show us that we *can* still enjoy fast food – read on to see why…

It’s important to point out from the start that putting dieting and fast food together is not one of those ‘eat and get thin’ plans. It has nothing to do with Atkins, or anything like that.

No, it comes from 2 angles – firstly the facts about dieting, and secondly some facts about self improvement and goal achievement.

When most people go on a diet, they have a mindset of hardship and deprivation – after all, they are fat because of the way they eat, so losing weight must been cutting out all the goodies, right?


Any diet that promotes cutting out entire foodgroups should be given an immediate red flag in my view. The only sensible way to diet that is healthy, workable, and sustainable is to combine a reduction of your calorie intake combined with an increase in your calorie burning. Bear those 2 in mind and you’ll never have to buy another diet book again!

The main reason that diets don’t work for people is that they are too rigid, too much of a lifestyle change, so people don’t stick to them. Also, people get the idea that they can lose the weight they target, then go back to how they ate before and the weight won’t go back on!

It’s amazing that people convince themselves of this kind of nonsense, but great for the diet industry that continues to make huge sums from it!

I’m a firm believer in life of ‘everything in moderation’. If you follow that mantra you can follow a diet which is less a diet, but more a way of life. This means it will have permanent effect.

Fast food contains saturated fats and loads of calories, we all know that. If you have 3 fast food meals a week, you will put on weight more than likely.

However, you don’t have to cut them out totally to maintain a lower weight – all you need to do is be aware of the calorie count of a fast food meal, and work it into your eating plan. That doesn’t mean you have 2 fast food meals and call that your daily allowance!

What it means is that if you have say 1 fast food meal a week, you have to factor in those extra calories – they will have to be countered elsewhere, either by extra calorie burning, or missing some other calorie packed treat.

As you carry on down this path, your brain will get used to the idea of recognising fast food as full of calories, and apart from the odd treat, you’ll end up seeing it as more trouble than it’s worth!

So that’s how you can diet and still eat fast food – simple logic and quality of life lessons.

All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright  2001 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved.

These materials may not be copied or redistributed for commercial purposes or for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from M Factor Fitness Inc. If you have questions about these terms please email us.

Copyright 2001 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved.