Workout Wednesday: What is Adrenal Fatigue, REALLY?

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.



Tired for no reason?


Have trouble getting up in the morning?


Need coffee, colas, energy drinks, sodas, salty or sweet snacks to keep going?


Feel run down, easily anxious or stressed?


Not “feeling like yourself” lately (from chronic headaches, to chest pains and shortness of breath or dizziness, unable to complete tasks or daily to-dos that used to be easy)?


Difficulty making any ‘progress’ towards personal goals? (fat loss, mass gain, performance in the gym)?


Easily susceptible to allergies or illness—low immunity?


If you answered “yes” to a handful of any of these questions, you may be experiencing Adrenal Fatigue…


“Adrenal Fatigue”, or “Adrenal Insufficiency”, has become one of those buzzwords within health circles that gets tossed around nowadays just as easily as “green juice”, “bone broth” or “digestion.”



But what the heck is Adrenal Insufficiency though anyway?!


Adrenal Insufficiency is a collection of signs and symptoms, known as a “syndrome” that results when the adrenal glands (hormone regulators in your body) function below the necessary level.


In other words: STRESS.


Adrenal Insufficiency is most commonly associated with intense or prolonged stress to be exact.



  • Constantly wound up or on edge in ‘getting it all done’;
  • Burning a candle at both ends;
  • Hating your job or life circumstances, but going through the motions anyway;
  • Saying ‘yes’ to everything all the time;
  • Relationship woes;
  • Excessive exercise or chronic sedentary lifestyles;
  • Toxic exposure;
  • Packaged, processed, or poor-food-quality diets;
  • Overwork;
  • Depression, anxiety, negative emotions;
  • Light-cycle disruption; night-shift work;
  • Long-term use of medications (prescription/non-prescription);
  • Over-reliance on stimulants and sugar
  • Acute or chronic infections (especially respiratory infections such as influenza, bronchitis or pneumonia);
  • Traumatic events (such as a car accident or loss of a loved one);
  • Post-surgery.



These stressors pull and tug at your body’s physiological balance and can reach an edge that sets you OVER the edge.


One of the primary symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency is fatigue (physical and/or mental) that is not relieved by sleep but it is not a readily identifiable like the chicken-pox or a sunspot on your skin.


In fact, you may look and act “normal” with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, but you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness, “grayness”, feeling “off”, anxiety and/or stress.


Other classic signs and symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency include:

  • Fatigue and weakness, especially in the morning and afternoon
  • A suppressed immunity
  • Increased allergies
  • Depression
  • Cravings for foods high in salt, sugar or fat
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Muscle and bone loss and muscular weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic headaches
  • Skin problems
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Increased PMS or menopausal symptoms
  • Low sex drive
  • Lightheadedness when getting up from sitting or lying down
  • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • Trouble waking up in the morning (despite a full night’s sleep)
  • Dizziness




People experiencing adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas and other stimulants to get going/keep going; or find themselves trying to ‘manage’ their varying symptoms through ‘whatever works for them’ (from smoking to deal with anxiety, popping NSAIDs to cope with headaches, calling in sick whenever a cold strikes all of a sudden, craving and reaching for some form of sugar throughout the day, drinking alcohol to calm stress, trying to sneak in naps whenever they can, ‘just dealing’ with feelings of unrest and unease, etc.).


It’s not just you: an estimated 80% of people will go through a chronic bout of stress, or adrenal fatigue, in their lives—and unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, they settle for it ‘just being their norm’ in their life as they try to function and get by…best they can.



The reality?


It’s NOT (normal)…


“But I’ve been this way for so long…” you say. “I don’t remember the last time I ______”:

  • Didn’t crash every afternoon around 3 p.m.
  • Didn’t get a headache most days
  • Didn’t neeeeed coffee to get me going in the morning
  • Didn’t get wired and tired at night
  • Didn’t struggle with my weight
  • Didn’t have an appetite
  • Didn’t feel anxious or stressed
  • Didn’t feel like I was just running on fumes every day
  • Didn’t have allergies or a cold at least once or twice this time of year


Unfortunately, many of us have become complacent, dependent or even forgotten what it actually feels like to…feel good.


Unsure or skeptical?


Try taking the insightful online assessment (BELOW) as a baseline measure for at least considering what life was like ‘before’, compared to now.


While this quiz is only a glimpse into some insight that you may be ‘under the weather’, it’s a good baseline to begin to dig a bit deeper into questioning:


“Hmm…what I’ve been feeling may not be so normal after all.”


The GOOD news is that natural treatments are very effective for this syndrome, and with time, patience, and the tips that follow it is possible to recover.


Often times, treatment begins with first uncovering the primary stressors that have led you to this condition (lack of sleep, mental stress, overexercise, undereating, eating a poor quality food diet, your people-pleasing nature, etc.) and addressing those.


Some changes could be as simple as:

The answer to seemingly everything!?!


  • Making the extra effort to get better (and more) sleep;
  • Addressing your gut health and healing your gut (when our guts are stressed, everything else goes haywire!);
  • Exercising regularly, while also listening to your body;
  • Eating a healthy nutrient-dense diet;
  • Avoiding stimulants like coffee and soda;
  • Eating small protein/fat/veggie based meals and snacks throughout the day;
  • Drinking half your bodyweight in ounces of water;
  • Readjusting and aligning your schedule to do less/promote balance back into your life;
  • Cutting back from taking on too much;
  • Carving out time for YOU;


Sexy? Nope. Pretty straightforward.


In addition to taking care of the basics, working with a Nutrition Therapist or other integrative healthcare professional can help you on the physiological front:


  • Providing clinical testing and potentially a hormonal panel to bio-individually design a healthcare recovery plan for your body;
  • Getting the RIGHT supplemental support for your body;
  • Giving you guidance and support throughout the recovery process;


With this smart, targeted approach to recovery, you can generally expect:

  • Six to nine months of recovery time for minor adrenal fatigue
  • 12 to 18 months for moderate adrenal fatigue
  • Up to 24 months for severe adrenal fatigue


In other words: You DON’T have to feel this way FOREVER.


And there’s no time like the present than to STOP SETTLING and START LIVING.


Connect with THRIVE today for a free consult to discuss your symptoms or address your questions and concerns. You can easily shoot me an e-mail at [email protected] and I will get back to you within the following 24-hours.


Take the Adrenal Fatigue Assessment here:


Workout Wednesday



It is Workout Wednesday! Here are some workouts for the week to incorporate into your training—mix it up! Above all…as noted in this post…LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Somedays you just need a walk with a friend…a yoga class…a group class…a bike ride…something that just moves you and inspires you outside your usual home or gym routine.


Dare I say: Spice it up?



 5 Rounds for Time:

50 Double-Unders (100 Single Unders)

20 Wall Ball @ 20/14

10 Hang Power Clean



100 KB Swings, for time

*Every time you stop swinging, you must perform 5 Burpees


Cash Out:

100 Flutter Kicks

100 Scissor Kicks

100 Leg Lifts



 5 Sets:

Shoulder Press x 3-5 reps

Romanian Deadlifts x 8-10 reps (with dumbbells)



12-Minute AMRAP

6 Deadlifts

9 Box-Jumps

12 Hand-release Pushups




Dumbbell Bench Press x 10-12 reps

1-Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – 8-10 each arm



20-Minute AMRAP

20 Pull-ups

20 Thrusters

20 Burpees



 Row 2000 meters (or Run 1-mile)


5-Minutes Max Squat Cleans (use barbell or dumbbells)






10-5-3-10-5-3 (try to add weight each round down; then the second round, go a little heavier on each 10-5-3)



1 minute rounds of each exercise x 3 rounds:

Dumbbell Snatches

Box Step-Up (with weights)

Sumo deadlift highpulls

Hand-release Pushups

Renegade Rows




Strict Pull-ups x 3-5 reps

Dips (rings/parallel bars=3-5; bench=10 reps)



3 Rounds for time:

30 Wallballs

30 Sit-ups

30 Burpees



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