Any experience with recovery from deep overtraining syndrome? Help...
Hi, I just joined the forum at a generally low point in my exercise life,
The quick story: 33 years old. I have always been very active.
For the last 10 years I have been about 215lbs at 6'4", exercising about 5-7x a week with 3-5x crossfit/weights, the rest basketball, biking, etc.
At the beginning of 2012 I had the first 3 of 6 foot surgeries. I decided if I wanted to be able to ski in 20 years it could help if I lost weight. Recovering from the foot reconstructions meant for over a year I could not bend my foot- so no basketball, running, etc. However I could deadlift, squat, bench, row and spin bike--anything where my toes did not have to bend.
I got strict on my diet and went from 215 to 173lbs. At 173 I was deadlifting 450, could do 35 pullups, etc... the leanest and strongest I had ever been. However my lifting was high volume, to failure, no deloading, progressively increased weight and was monotonous. Eventually I started to feel creeping fatigue but I kept lifting because I wanted to be in peak shape for when my feet healed and I could play sports again. As a result I lifting and doing cardo both 6x a week in calorie deficit... and pushing through the fatigue. Since my lifts kept creeping higher and higher I told myself I was not "overtrained."
Then the fatigue became meaningfully worse... so I tried moving to lower volume, adding rest and cutting cardio... but it was too late. Suddenly my body shut down. My heart rate would jump just mowing my lawn and going grocery shopping my legs felt like they were made of cement like I had just run sprints. I had probably not gone 24 hours without exercise since the 1990's and now have not exercised for 3 months.
I have gone to multiple doctors, had a LOT of blood work, had a stress echocardiogram and, hardest of all, rested for 3 months. After ruling out blood/thyroid/kidney/vitamin/etc... deficiencies and disorders it looks more likely that I am "overtrained" (a vague diagnosis). I went on an incredibly strict 6 week elimination diet to rule out food sensitivity, tried acupuncture, Chinese herbs... am trying meditation... and I feel 0% better, maybe even worse as I have lost a lot of muscle and that makes you feel sad.
There is a lot written about how to AVOID overreaching (when you recover with 1-2 weeks of rest) and overtraining (when you do not respond to rest over a period of months or longer).
...and there is very but very little written about what to do if you ARE ALREADY overtrained.
Does anyone have any advice?
Has anyone been through this?
A. Nutrition: Foods/supplements to avoid or overload?
B. Specific eastern medicine-Acupuncture, meditation, etc... to pursue?
C. If I am overtrained and need to recover is any exercise okay? Beneficial? Can I play casual tennis? Can I avoid squats but do 30 minutes of CNS-light pushups, pullups, situps 2-3x a week, never going to failure?
D. Are there doctors or specialists (nutritionists, etc) that you know of who have worked with overtrained athletes (bodybuilders, triathletes, etc) that someone would recommend (in L.A. but I can travel)?
E. Any idea what the timeline to recover is...? I am shocked to not feel recovered after 3 months? Should I reset expectations to 6 months? 1 year?
F. If I start to feel recovered, when can I start to deadlift again or take a set to failure without setting back progress by a month with 45 minutes in the gym?
G. Any other advice I am not even considering?
Any help/guidance you have to offer would be wonderful. I am really struggling here...