exhausted all the time

Discussion in 'Health Tips for the Martial Artist' started by Flea, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    This may be MA-related or not. I've noticed over the past few weeks that I've just been dragging myself around. I tend to wake up an hour or two before my alarm goes off, but then I'm not very rested. On my days off, I've gotten into the habit of taking a 2-3 hour nap. I feel much better when I do.

    Getting into the MA has made me something of an exercise junkie. I have a 2-hour class twice a week, and I manage to make it to the Y another once or twice a week on top of that, usually for an hour of yoga. That, and as spring warms up I've been commuting by bicycle more.

    My diet is obnoxiously healthy, I don't drink or smoke, and I work a desk job. As far as I know I'm in excellent physical health. Am I just wearing myself out? Should I be worried here, or should I just go to bed earlier?
     
  2. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Two thoughts, Flea:

    • You may be overtraining. The sleep pattern is consistent with that.

    • You may have developed anæmia. Get that checked out.

    A lot of people have undiagnosed anæmia. But my guess is, you're probably just overdoing it a bit. It can happen, very easily...
     
  3. Ronin74

    Ronin74 Brown Belt

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    Hey Flea. I'd say, first off, listen to your body. If you're feeling tired earlier, then perhaps an earlier bedtime might be in order. An acupunturist I went to see once told me that if you feel like you need a nap, then take one long enough to get you refreshed, but not too energized not to sleep.

    Also, you may want to take a step back and see if you might be reaching a burnout point.
     
  4. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    Medications? Lots can have this effect, including common ones like blood pressure meds.
     
  5. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Best advice go and see your doctor and make sure everything is OK.
     
  6. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Amen to that. It's not alarmist to go see your MD when there's some very noticeable change in normal bio-patterns. Almost always it'll be something transient and unimportant that will fix itelf... but if it's an infection, or some other nontrivial issue that needs to be dealt with, you want to get it licked as soon as possible.
     
  7. Ronin74

    Ronin74 Brown Belt

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    I guess if you really want to get specific, a doctor might help... lol, j/k.

    That should've probably been the first response. Even if he/she ends up telling you something mentioned here, I'd agree the better option would be to seek a professional opinion.
     
  8. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Thanks all.

    Here it is 4:30 and I'm up nursing a cup of chamomile. I had training this evening and it was really cathartic. It's so good for my soul I really don't want to cut back at all. I guess I could limit my other workouts though. I'm sure it's over-exercise now that I think of it. A couple months ago I worked out every day and I was deliciously sleepy all the time. I cut back and my energy level improved a lot. The thing is, the workouts just feel so darn good it makes me sad to stop! If I weren't so passionate about food, one might be tempted to consider me a candidate for an eating disorder diagnosis.

    I will go to the doctor. It's been a while, so I should go on general principle. I'm way overdue for a meds management checkup and some other routine stuff anyway.
     
  9. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    I went through this too. Depression and stress can do that, and I also recently realized I have allergies. Once I removed the source of the allergen, I have begun to get some energy back.

    And as was mentioned, side effects of certain meds can be an issue, as can anemia. Get to the doctor and please keep us posted. :asian:
     
  10. girlbug2

    girlbug2 Master of Arts

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    Flea, what kind of supplementation are you taking? Even with a good diet, a hard training regimen requires supplements, so I assume you have at least a really good multivitamin that includes iron.

    The reason I ask is that I noticed major improvements in my own sleep patterns when I began taking a calcium/magnesium supplement. Then I added vitamin D3 and sleep improved even more.

    This time of year, few people have really been getting enough D3 through sunlight, so supplementing with 5,000 ius of D3 is strongly recommended. Low D3 affects ability to sleep as well as appetite and the ability of the immune system to function. Low D3 is also a major factor in depression.

    If you see your doctor about this, it may be good to ask if your D levels could be tested.
     
  11. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Flea
    First my apologies for my delay in responding to this thread, it was not intentional.

    Second, you have been given some great advice above which since the advice to check with your MD, anemic and such already given will allow me to approach from a slightly different flight path. One thing that I would add to the above advice is that I strongly advise you to check with your doctor or inform your pharmacist of your desire to take multi-vitamins or supplements of any kind before doing so. They can interfere with and inter-act with any of your prescribed medications and even though sold over the counter should not be taken lightly.

    Finally, by now Flea you should be realizing that training in Systema is effecting your whole body system. If a student is not cleansing themselves completely during and after training they may have a difficult time sleeping and the added tensions make the all the body systems work harder (think electrical systems that have poor connections and resistance at different points and how much more juice is needed than a nice solid clean connection and clear clean pathways.) Facing your fears, working multiple opponents and working with (sometimes live)weapons and dealing with deep strikes will add tensions and chemical reactions into your system that you will have to learn to understand and counter/control. Even if you are just observing your fellow students doing the work for instance giving and receiving deep strikes and not doing the work yourself, you may still encounter some of the reactions (think of those that are witnesses to an act of violence and how they have reactions perhaps even long afterwards even if they were not directly involved) The trick Flea is to become aware of the possibilities and sensitive to the goings on inside of your body on all levels and to begin to cleanse right away even before the chemical reactions and the tension start. If you think of stopping an avalanche Flea, if we wait until it is starting and the rocks, mud and trees are already falling it is very difficult to stop or control, but, if we can catch that very first pebble as it slips how much easier it might be to stop the avalanche from happening. The understanding of breathing, dousing, massage and the other tension management tools taught will give you the means to often stop that pebble. I highly recommend you talk to your instructor and tell him you are constantly exhausted and see what advice they might offer.

    One method that I have used that has become my favorite is when having trouble sleeping or when I have that realization usually followed by a weary sigh of how tired I am is to get into the push-up position. As I get into the push-up (plank) position I am already breathing purposely (for me I say the Lords prayer over and over as both a breathing exercise and praying exercise) and I hold that position as long as possible (and again in my case I am repeating the Lords prayer over and over while doing so) others may want to simply inhale thru the nose and exhale thru the mouth in nice long extended full breaths. For those that know how they can find those areas of tension with-in (physical, mental and/or spiritual) and breathe thru those areas to release what tension that they can. Doing the tense and release drills while in this position also is a good means of cleansing and discovery. These help me. Your and others mileage may of course vary.

    I also recommend reading the book "Sleep Thieves" by Stanley Coren when you get a chance. Very educational.

    Good luck
    Warmest wishes
    Brian King
     
  12. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    I train everyday, weights and running six – seven times a week, with iaido and jodo thrown in two or three times a week.

    Absolutely see your doctor and get checked out.

    My advice? If everything checks out with your MD,

    • Make sure you are eating enough. Maybe you need to crank up the calories a bit? Complex carbohydrates, rice, potatoes, pasta will help keep your energy high.
    • I know it’s hard, but don’t nap. It’ll just mess up your sleep cycle.
    • Don’t be afraid to take extra time off from exercise. A few times every couple of months I will force myself not to exercise, we get worn out very often and don’t even realize it.
    • Don’t be afraid to over indulge with food. Same as above once in a while eat too much of whatever. Don’t stick to a strict diet all the time, it too can wear on you. Even when I was competing in Bodybuilding, I would allow myself to indulge somewhat every Saturday, just to keep my sanity intact. Six weeks from the show, that stopped. But you’re not bodybuilding.
    • Sauna before bed are great at relaxing.
    • Hot showers before bed.
    • Massages before bed.
    • and of course Sex.

     
  13. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Thanks so much everyone.

    Brian, I hadn't thought of the static pushup as a springboard for meditation. Interesting! I'll have to give that a try. I've found meditation to be my best resource for insomnia; I have a string of Tibetan beads and I try to do at least one "round" before hitting the sheets. It makes a huge difference in downshifting the mind. My dreams are of a higher quality too - slower, clearer, and more instructive.

    I hadn't thought of the stressful effects of being party to the drills in class either, but that makes perfect sense. The other day I was paired with someone who kept grabbing for my throat for some reason. I thought of sitting out because (go figure!) it produced a lot of anxiety. It would have made sense to ask him to ease up on that, but ... I'm just getting tired of feeling like a shrinking violet all the time. Instead I worked on my breathing and concentrated on how I could work with it - different kids of evasions, wrist locks, and so on. It was a good experience, but I know some of that anxiety followed me home.

    Could you be a little more specific on "cleansing?" I'd imagine that means drinking lots of water and maybe the occasional fast, but I'm not sure what else.

    Girlbug, excellent point with the D3. Every spring I get an overwhelming compulsion to sun-worship as much as I can, even when it's dreary out. I'll seize every opportunity to take a blanket out to the park with the dawg and a good book. Even when it's chilly enough to bring a sweater it's worth it. :) I guess my body is trying to tell me something?

    As for supplements, I'm not too scientific about it. I tend to adjust those to whatever is happening in my body at the time; when in a depressive cycle, I'll take B-Complex. I have to stop when I come out of the downswing though, because it has a tendency to push me into a manic phase if I'm not careful. When I'm not eating very well for whatever reason, I bump it up with an off-brand multivitamin. If I'm not concentrating, it's an E. And so forth. I could be regular with all those, but it would add up to a LOT of pills. I don't like that feeling either.

    I'm pretty sure the doctor won't find anything, but I have enough maintenance stuff that I'm overdue on that I should go anyway. I'll check in with an update if anyone's interested.
     
  14. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    If your exhaustion continues for awhile, and nothing you try has a lasting effect, then please get your thyroid levels checked out (simple bloodtest at your doctors). Hypothyroidism is chronically underdiagnosed (I'm concerned because it runs very strongly in my family though I don't appear to have it), and the results of medicating (with a synthetic version of the natural hormone produced by your body) can be very dramatic.

    Just one more thing to look into (especially if they're already taking some blood to check for enemia).
     
  15. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Flea wrote:
    Flea, the next time you are nearing the end of your class or even after class let your instructor know that you still have some of “that anxiety” inside. Your instructor will show you different ways of removing (cleansing) it. This is important work for both you and your instructor to do. Flea, it might be that with your experience you are very good at hiding your anxiety burying it deep so that no one notices, perhaps that has even become a survival method, bury and block out. So many people do this. It might also be that your instructor has noticed your anxiety but has also noticed that it is a button for you and to talk about it increases the anxiety and/or that you are working on it and they may feel that giving you more might over whelm you at that moment causing more harm than good. Your being honest and open with your instructor if you are able will answer many of your questions and speed up your progress. If at this time you do not want to or can not yet be that open and vulnerable it is OK. Likely your instructor has noticed the tension and has started the cleansing without you realizing it. By structuring different drills and exercises during class time we can have our students working on cleansing excess tensions from their bodies even without them realizing that they are doing so, often even during brutal combative type of work they are also healing themselves and/or their training partners. Have you noticed Flea how the energy of the students feels after a class, even a brutal class? As the students become more aware they can add the “cleansing” to any movement drill/exercise or combative moment that they face…it becomes so ingrained that after a short while it happens automatically so that the student does not even have to think about it and is barely even conscious of doing so.

    Fasting on a regular biases is healthy and can be found in many health and spiritual paths. There is a reason for this. It is good for both the body and the spirit. It can teach you many things about yourself, help you to discover and better understand your pride and your self-pity, your strengths and your weaknesses and helps to teach you to give permission to accept and to forgive. It is interesting work and highly recommended although not exactly what I was referring to when I posted above thread.

    People carry excess and nonfunctional tension in their bodies. You can get amongst any crowd Flea and see it written on so many bodies. Next time you are out driving around take a moment and look at the drivers in the cars around you. Both hands on the steering wheel squeezing so hard that the hands are white and practically leaving indentions on the hard plastic. Their shoulders are raised so much that they are almost higher than their ears making them look like some creature out of the star wars bar scenes. Focused straight ahead with grinding teeth and clinched jaws working furiously to get to their next stop or home. Think that when they get to that location that they are relaxed or that the drive rejuvenated them? Get on a bus or subway often? Look at those passengers beside you. Notice how that one flinches and tenses when someone bumps into them or is seated to close, notice how their face changes and the eyes seem to change.

    (*off topic flashback memory* One of Vladimir’s comments to me, made while walking by and observing me work with some training partner or partners, was “good work Brian but you MUST relax your eyes.” This happened at many seminars over likely 8 or 10 months. He showed exercises and drills and made comments and told stories and it wasn’t until I finally felt what he meant that I better understood what he meant, and all the prior work he did made much more sense. He was so very patient with me and I was so stubborn LOL but really who ever heard of relaxing your eye LOL For me one of the first noticeable exterior expressions of tension was through my eyes and face.

    Flea everyone gets stressed and/or injured but not everyone notices this tension/stress/injury right away or even at all. They let it accumulate little by little then watch in helplessness as it either explodes outward or inward in destructive behavior. Many people try to cleanse this tension (either consciously or subconsciously) by self medicating with the use of alcohols, with caffeine, with nicotine, with narcotics and pharmaceuticals, to you know “take the edge off”. Those are certainly methods of dealing with life’s little daily stressors but hardly ever work out for the better long term (or even short term) There are many on the board that when stressed will go home or to the gym and try to beat the stuffing out of a heavy bag, or lift heavy weights till exhaustion removes the daily stress and tension, and again this is a method of dealing with those stressors and tensions. Not sure how well they work on their own especially if you are injured or as you age or if they are done with aggression or other self destructive behaviors. It is far better to cleanse these stressors and tensions right way the very second that you become aware of them. The use of breathing is paramount in doing so. I could continue this thought here but the post would become as long as a book and I would still do the subject injustice especially when there is already an affordable book written and easily available.

    Flea have you yet read the book “Let Every Breath by Vladimir Vasiliev? I remember in another thread you were going to get the book from your library or something. This book will make a huge difference in your Systema training and your life. (For others that might be reading this thread you DO NOT have to be a Systema student or even a martial artist to benefit from the reading of this book) The entire book can deal with the subject of this thread and of becoming aware of the tension and the cleansing of it.

    From the book-
    Basically Flea we try to become aware of these tensions right away. The sooner the better (see avalanche in my prior post) and we use breathing and tension to cleanse tension.

    Specificity would require a book length post, and while you are worth it, I just do not have the free time right now, LOL especially as Vladimir and Scott have already written it and I am lazy and you have an instructor available to help guide you in person. Think on some of the drills I have given you in other posts and some of the drills and exercises you have done in class. ALL drills and exercises done in a Systema class will be working on many different levels Flea. Think back on some drills and do them again but open your mind to what else might be going on. Forget how you did them last time and now do them differently, have a different focus, a different intent, a different goal. Discover yourself.

    Warmest regards
    Brian King
     

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