Burnout [burn-out] Noun
1. A fire that is totally destructive of something.
2. The termination of effective combustion in a rocket engine, due to exhaustion of
3. The end of the powered portion of a rocket's flight.
4. The breakdown of a lamp, motor, or other electrical device due to the heat created by the current flowing through it.
Also, burnout: Fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress,
overwork, or intense activity.
Whatever you would like to interpret it as, we all have experienced burnout. Maybe you have experienced it in the middle of climb; you just couldn't hold on any longer. Maybe you have experienced fatigue or soreness when you have not taken a rest day. Maybe you have experienced it at your job, where you just feel so stressed that you cannot work any longer. Or maybe you have experienced it like I have...where you wake up in the morning and feel like you have gotten absolutely no rest, where a 45lb bar feels like 150lbs, where your fingers hurt so bad from climbing the day before that you cannot even open a jar.
Yes, this amount of fatigue is what the word burnout means to me. I feel burnout like this much more often than most people. And why? Well, that is what I am trying you figure out.
You see, last year I took off 6 months from climbing because my fingers we in so much pain that they would give out when I tried to crimp. I searched for answers, seeing three different hand specialists that were ranked among the very best in Boston. All they could give me as an answer was chronic swelling with a side of rest, rest, and more rest. Which is fine because after that six months, I was able to climb again! And since then I have been making so much progress (slow and steady of course). I got to a point in my climbing where I felt confident enough to compete at the ABS National Championships (Feb 2013), which I did. And I felt pretty good about it because I have not been able to compete in awhile.
Unfortunately, I have not really been able to climb since Nationals. In fact, I felt so burnt out after, it took a whole 8 days for me to get out of bed and back on track with my life. But here is where things get interesting: I have had five, 8 day burnouts just like this in the last 10 months. I realized this just recently, and now I want answers.
I have been tracking my workout and dietary habits since June 2012. I decided to take a closer look at what I've been tracking after my nutritionist suggested I may have "endocrine burnout". Without even really realizing it, I would rest for exactly 8 days, workout for a month or so, have another 8 day rest, then have no such rest for 2 months. Then again I will have two months with 8 day rests, and 2 months without.
It's an odd pattern. Whats more odd, is on day 9 I feel like a completely different person. I feel great, alive. This is evident in my workouts as well. If I compare my crossfit and climbing workouts from the week before the burnout to the week after, I improve almost double! It's funny, I just thought I was tired from working out often. But to have a pattern like this so cut and clear, I feel that I need to investigate further.
So what am I going to do? Well the next step (unfortunately) is to take the rest of this season off from competitive climbing. My fingers are in pain just looking at climbing holds, so any climbing I do will just be for recreation (and my sanity). So far crossfit has not made any of my joints hurt, so I am going to continue with that.
Lastly, I am going to find some answers from professionals. I am now regularly seeing a nutritionist who has me eating gluten-free, cutting out nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), and cutting out artificial sugars (my taste buds hate me for that). This should, in theory, reduce the inflammation in my body. I am also meeting with my endocrinologist and a rheumatologist. I have this creeping feeling that I may have rheumatoid arthritis, but the only way to know is if I see a specialist. I gotta thank my parents for the good health insurance they have me under to cover all of this.
I am really hoping that this helps. I'm young, I shouldn't have problems like these. At this point I just need answers. I don't like feeling burnt out, I don't like the fact that I cannot work to my full potential, and I absolutely hate the fact that I cannot climb hard.
Hopefully I will get answers...good ones. "Chronic tenosynovitis" does not cut it, especially if I cannot do the sport I love.
Burnout definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/burnout?s=t