The Top 3 Health Issues Affecting Functional Fitness Athletes
Athletes aim to maximize their performance and overall health, but “over-doing it” in the gym and in life can lead to hormonal, metabolic, and sleep hygiene problems. If ignored, these symptoms can develop into conditions with harmful consequences.
SteadyMD Dr. Dani Urcuyo, a functional fitness athlete and coach, discusses the top three health issues that functional fitness athletes should be aware of.
1. Over Training
Functional fitness participants have made it a regular practice to step outside of their comfort zone and reach beyond their perceived limits. Athletes tend to be the type of people who hate rest days, try to make it to class 5 or 6 days per week and even try to fit in a jog or spinning class when we can.
Intensity has tremendous benefits for improving fitness and overall physical and mental wellbeing, but only when it is countered by appropriate periods of rest and relaxation to build our parasympathetic tone. I often see the ramifications of overtraining including hormonal problems or issues with metabolism in individuals who are “burning the candle at both ends.” Sometimes these problems can take months to years to resolve.
The value of maintaining adequate sleep and taking downtime to regulate in order to prevent overtraining cannot be underestimated.
2. Insulin Resistance
I’m sure it’s not news to you that we’re in the midst of a diabetes epidemic. However, you may be surprised to hear that I see the beginnings of diabetes, a phenomenon called insulin resistance even among us athletes.
Driven primarily by a diet rich in simple carbohydrates, chronic stress and sleep deprivation, the journey towards metabolic derangement has started for a significant portion of us. Again, I cannot overemphasize enough the importance of eating a diet rich in diverse vegetables and meat, managing stress and getting enough sleep.
Without these critical pieces, we’re robbing ourselves of our athletic potential and putting ourselves at risk for future chronic disease.
3. Low Body Fat Percentage
The signs and symptoms associated with a problematically low body fat percentage include general fatigue, inability to recover from workouts, frequent illnesses, nutritional deficiencies and something most guys are very concerned about: low testosterone. Low testosterone can then lead to sleep problems, depressed mood and motivation, and low libido. Not good.
Also keep in mind that although a very low body fat percentage may appear to be attractive, it doesn’t mean that someone is “healthy” or is able to perform well athletically. Lots of professional athletes function better when they are not super lean.
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