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How to recognise if you have adrenal fatigue and exercises to overcome it

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 07 April 2014
Hits: 6944

As a fitness trainer for nearly 10 years now, seeing people suffering with Adrenal Exhaustion is extremely common. However knowing what to do with regards to exercise can be quite tricky.  When I first started as a trainer I did not even know what that meant. And I was supposed to be an expert in all matters regarding health and fitness. So it is no wonder that most of our clients are actually suffering with Adrenal Fatigue yet are quite oblivious to it. I dont know how many times I am confronted with a client who turns up late, suffering anxiety, stress levels to the max, not sleeping much, putting on weight etc etc.And only for them to say “ lets go hard at it tonight as I will feel better after this workout”

Most fitness trainers would do just that believing that is the best thing for the client. And I used to think that myself too.

I myself was like that for a very long time. Although I was remarkably fit, I was extremely unhealthy. I developed Psoriasis which is a skin condition directly related to stress. I could fall asleep anywhere anytime within 5 minutes! It wasn’t until I began studying as a CHEK Practitioner that I realised what I was doing to myself and also to my clients! I read an article by Catherine Carrigan about Adrenal Exhaustion and thought that is exactly me and began putting into practice some of the things she discussed.

Check out her website articles archive at

Things that Catherine discussed to find out about much adrenal fatigue the client has were to apply a 3 step process

  1. Remove
  2. Replenish
  3. Repattern

For many Personal Trainers this all sounds like silly and fluffy stuff but I regularly use these strategies with msyelf and my clients and get amazing results.

Remove stage

I use a lot of the CHEK HAQ tests that Catherine refers to as I am also a Level 2 CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach and these give me great detail about where to start. Look at

But if you don’t have these tests or access to a CHEK Practitioner begin by asking simple questions such as

  • Do you lash out at others?
  • Do you avoid socialising with friends?
  • Do you find things you enjoyed doing you dont want to do anymore? etc etc
  • Do you drink water?
  • Do you eat fresh organic foods?
  • Do you skip meals?
  • Look at how much toxicity is in your body from coffee, alcohol and devise a strategy to remove it. ( By the way Coffee can have disastrous effects on the adrenal glands, it is like taking a whip to tired horse )
  • What are your sleep patterns like?
  • Are you in bed by 1030pm?

Once you have a lot of these answers then you need to begin devising a strategy to overcome that

Replenish stage

This is where rest and repair is essential. Getting to bed on time is crucial. Read this short article to see why This is where you change your workouts to "Working In". Watch this video by Paul Chek to see what I mean by that

Tai Chi, YOGA, stretching are all great forms of exercise for Adrenal Exhaustion or "working in". I regularly do Tai Chi myself and went to several courses to learn how to do it and teach it to my clients. Since making it a part of my life I feel much better and at ease and able to do harder workouts. Does that mean you can no longer workout? Not always. But you do need to change how you do it. If I am seeing a client a few times per week I won’t only do working in exercises as I still need them to move and I would put all of my focus with that client towards WEIGHT TRAINING

Depending on the circumstances I would do something like this: My workout would involve really heavy weights with 3-4 minutes rest. Example: 5 sets x 3-4 reps


Because the hormonal response is massively anabolic, especially in males with the release of testosterone. Anabolic hormones are the Yin to the Catabolic Hormones of Yang. Anabolic is rest and repair, Catabolic is destructive. The worst type of workout you could do is Cardio or circuit training. Anything that gets them puffed ( which is fight or flight ) Crossfit would be a disaster as it is massively catabolic. The client’s stress levels are off the charts and the adrenal glands cant keep up anymore and stop producing the stress hormones leaving you exposed to illness, injury, depression, treat with anxiety etc. If you have low stress levels and plenty of reserves you can afford to do cardio, but for the person who is under too much stress, exercise is now counter productive. I know this for a fact, because remember that is exactly what I used to do! Some people will tell you they use running because of the endorphin release it gives. “They feel better”. But this is just like a drug addict taking a hit to get short term relief. And if you are their friend do you give them more drugs or try to get them off it? In addition to that the drugs power becomes less effective as time goes on so they have to do more and more to get the same hit. They have then become addicted. Bad news my friend!

Repattern Stage

Catherine recommends many different approaches to this which I have found to be essential in getting on top of things permanently. Left brain and right brain exercises such as cross crawl are fantastic. For me I was too left brain dominant and stuck in the analysing mode, making me anxious and stressed. I needed to become more creative.I tried drawing and painting for a while, I read a great book “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron but could not get into it as much as I did when I was a kid. What worked for me was building plastic models. It was so fun and allowed my right brain to balance out. I even bought several books called “Mind Gym” to get some ideas and explore my creative brain. In addition to all of that the most important part was establishing a clear Vision or Dream and then setting goals to achieve it.The very first thing we do with any new client is to find out their Dream, Vision as when you are working towards your dream you no longer have a crisis.

Read this to find out how to find your dream

I use plenty of books too, here are some of my favourites

  • "How To Get From Where You Are And Where You Want To Be" By Jack Canfield
  • "Kiss That Frog" by Brian Tracey
  • "Control Stress" by Paul McKenna ( has a hypnosis cd to help repattern your subconscious mind)
  • "I Can Make You Sleep" by Paul McKenna
  • "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Dr Joseph Murray

In summary I highly recommend you check out to see all there is to know about the importance of Adrenal fatigue and how to overcome it. I feel much better and more healthy for knowing this about my body. And my stress levels this year have never been higher, yet I am not breaking down with illness, injury and my skin is improving not getting worse. Adrenal Exhaustion exercise tips are much different to what many people would think but highly effective if you put it into practice.