Winnie Colleano 1939
Elena Panova 1988
Stephanie Gasparoli 1998
Emma Henshall 2009 performing at the 30th Festival Cirque de Demain, where she took home the Gold Medal.
I constantly grapple with the effects of adrenal exhaustion. On any given day, I coach private clients, conduct aerial classes, teach energetic children, and finally, hit upon my own training and choreography. Then, with any last hope of energy, I head off to my night shift.
To make ends meet, I wait tables long into the night in a busy restaurant just off of Haight Street; pretending that I haven’t been up since dawn. At best, I stay inspired and energized, keeping lists on restaurant note pads of new fitness pathways to research or upcoming performance leads; at worst, I struggle through my serving shift as being drained, depleted, and severely grumpy. This strain seems worth the greater achievement of creating and maintaining my own small business, but I do see the big picture; some day it will involve sleep.
Those of us who lead active lifestyles rarely have time to completely relax and replenish. Adrenal fatigue becomes our commonality. The primary function of the adrenal glands is to assist with stress response : physical, emotional, and psychological. They work together with the pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the brain to produce various hormones – needed to maintain blood sugar levels, electrolyte balance, and testosterone production – and are highly responsible for every tissue, organ, and gland in the body. Adrenal activity affects the way we think and react – are the key to focus, endurance, and immunity – and without their support, the entire body struggles to adapt.
Symptoms of reduced adrenal function include a relentless fatigue that is not relieved by rest, uncharacteristic depression, very low energy in the early morning in conjunction with the inability to sleep at night, insulin resistance, and hypoglycemia.
A specialized B vitamin complex with extra B5 and vitamin C are vital for optimal functioning and the health of adrenal glands.
To heal extreme depletion, raw royal jelly* supplements are effective due to their easy absorbancy; even within a weakened system. Manufactured by bees to feed the queen, royal jelly has amazing health benefits due to the concentration of B-complex vitamins; vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), B1, B2, B6 (pyridoxine), biotin, folic acid, and inositol. It also contains many trace minerals – such as calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, and sulfur – enzymes, antibiotic components, and trace amounts of vitamin C.
For a daily supplement, a liquid extract of Eleuthero will help adrenal glands properly calibrate to stress. Known as Siberian Ginseng, Eleuthero is not a true ginseng or a stimulant, but rather lends properties adaptogenic to our systems. In 2009, Swedish researchers proposed one way it does this is by increasing the specific molecules we typically release to protect the body against physical and emotional stress. These molecular assistants help treat and repair damaged proteins during times of intense physical demand. In Australia, another team demonstrated how Eleuthero inhibits the binding of stress hormones to their receptors allowing us to navigate through stressful situations with a clear, calm, and alert mind.
* Royal Jelly is a raw bee product, and to be avoided by those with severe allergies. A great pasteurized source of bee products is one from Y.S Organic Bee Farms that blends Royal Jelly and Honey in conjunction with Bee Pollen, Propolis, Korean and Siberian Ginseng.
As professional athletes, we have committed our lives to the development of our brains, vascular systems, organs and muscles. We are obsessed, driven, and inspired to reach peak athletic and artistic balance. There isn’t a choice.
What does this competitive drive cost our bodies? Besides the more obvious depletion of electrolytes and major minerals, we are at risk of adrenal depletion, hypoglycemia, protein deficiency, and hormone imbalances. Extra maintenance is required to experience faster recovery rates and improved endurance, mood, and performance.
Out of necessity, I have noted accessible methods of replenishment for a strong, consistent path of health. I will share products, foods, and tonics that aid in my personal regiment of repair. I offer these suggestions as a friend and athletic cohort – and encourage the use of this text as a guide towards your own research, on your path to indestructibility.
It was because of the circus that I went running; full of sawdust and grenadine.
The steam engines rumble closer to your town; restless ramblers with stories to tell.
This circus of life has got a brand new bag, and is premiering on a word press near you.