I was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and it’s forcing me to change the way I train right now. I thought my experiences in the healing process would be helpful to some of you out there, whether you’re a trainer or trainee, whether you’ve got full blown adrenal fatigue or just run down from the daily grind.

I love lifting heavy weights and I cycle my training. I was diagnosed after my usual weights suddenly felt like they were 2 bell sizes heavier and my fatigue turned to exhaustion. I originally felt my best following a workout, but that suddenly changed as well. It was a wake-up call that in order to heal I need to dial back my training A LOT more.

I had a training plan with some easier workouts from my amazing trainer, Val Hedlund but some still felt too hard. So I decided to give Josh Hillis’ System Six: Easy Fat Loss program a try. The basic principle is on reducing stress in your workouts so it seemed perfect for my needs.

One of the hardest things I’m finding with being a trainer with specific strength goals, is knowing when enough is enough. I find that I constantly have to fight the urge to do what I really want, and constantly remind myself to do what I need.

I did the first 2 strength workouts of System Six with much lighter weights and I focused very clearly on my form, making sure every rep felt perfect. I felt like I could have done more perfect sets. Mission accomplished!

On the first of the 2 cardio days, I chose the Level 2 interval of 30:30 for swings. I was very used to it, so it seemed reasonable to use the 20kg (44lb) bell for 8 minutes. I admittedly didn’t read the guidelines closely enough to see “If you had a great day, everything is going your way, you feel amazing, rested and ready to go: You do kettlebell swings for eight minutes.” On this particular day, I was very tired and hadn’t slept well. My swings were good but I definitely overexerted.

This brings me to the lessons I learned. I realized that my judgment is a little skewed on what is too much and what is just right. I’m having a hard time separating myself from what used to be vs. what I should do now. Add to that, all of the posts I see from others who are accomplishing feats of strength that are on my list of fitness goals and it makes it that much harder to stay the course some days.

The other lesson I learned is that I must listen at a deeper level. I know I can do 8 minutes of good swings with a 20kg bell even when I’m exhausted, but that doesn’t mean I should. That’s the whole point of my recovery, the whole point of having chosen the System Six program.

I admit I will veer from the program slightly, because I want to continue training with Val, but we are focusing our sessions on technique and not reps. My strength goals may be on the back burner for now, but I will come out the other side stronger in many other ways.