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Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems

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Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems

Posted by
George in Boca on September 18, 2002 at 17:24:32:

I am a competitive road cyclist who has suffered from GERD for years. Proton pump inhibitors have kept me under control; however, recently, when I do interval training (intervals at 90%+ of MHR), I get terrible reflux, so bad that (like so many other posters here) I thought I was having a heart attack. A clean thallium stress test and echo cardiogram later, I was back at my GI who endoscoped me, took pictures of my hiatus hernia, doubled by Nexium and told me to cut back on my training and stop eating crap.

In reading the many posts on this board, I realize that my symptoms are clearly stress related. I work at a large national law firm, a high stress environment, and push myself athletically probably too hard. I now catch myself bracing and understand that I suffer from accumulated stress problems. Ginger juice and SR are starting to give me some relief. I will continue to work the SR and clean up my diet.

My concern is that I will never be able to train at the intensity levels I want to achieve my cycling goals. Am I doomed to sub-anaerobic training in order to avoid suffering from reflux? Any other idiots like me out there who cycle, run or do triathlons have any thoughts/advice?



Re: Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems

Posted by
thessa on September 19, 2002 at 05:34:22:

In Reply to: Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems posted by George in Boca on September 18, 2002 at 17:24:32:

Hi George,
I was a college and AA volleyball player for years until I had to quit due to a L5 disk problem (squished into nothing they told me!). I played with this injury for 3 years or more (duh - but afterall I was HARDCORE and a SERIOUS athlete lol :). I quit 3 years ago after playing at the nationals tournament - my health problems were severely effecting my play, to the point where I definitely was not playing up to the level of my teammates. I also had a hiatal hernia (that was diagnosed as my pectorals separated from the sternum) and unrealized LGS.

I was already a health nut during my athletic years, but during my 3 years off I have been changing my idea of healthnut, detoxing, meditating, followed an LGS program, studying/practicing nutrition and herbalism. For exercise I have been walking and hiking, but doing nowhere near the training I used to for volleyball. Last week I started to train again with a local team. I have had some major revelations about stress that relate to what you are saying. For example this weekend I watched the US vs Italy women's world championship final, then immediately went to a game here in town to watch. During the second game I felt my entire back clench into spasms, and that night I jolted out of bed at 430am with the worst muscular neck pain I've ever had. I observed my thought patterns throughout watching these 2 games, and it was much easier to note after some time off how my mind had taken me into a major stress reaction. I found old thought patterns, always related to "Will I be good enough?", "Will I be the BEST??", "Am I too old to try again to play professionally?" Eek! 5 hours of related brain jumping with consequent back spasms gave me a clear image of how stress reaction effects me in particular physically. Just typing the questions give me bracing! And all this time I never really questioned that the disk pain was entirely mechanically related!! (probably because I was in constant bracing, with no relaxed state to compare to.) After more than 3 years of SR though, I have found I can successfully "unbrace" my whole body at one time. So that's what I did. Of course sometime later I would catch myself bracing again, and have to unbrace once again - but I only had to do that a couple of times because I can almost always correct the thought patterns as well. With the help of arnica and unbracing, the neck pain and back spasms were gone by noon the next day.

They say that mental/emotional stress only contributes about 10% to the total stress effect, but I would venture to say that athletes that show stress effects may be experiencing a larger % from mental/emotional stress simply because an althlete's mind is what makes him/her in competition. My mind was a big problem in my career, not only physically, but in causing mental errors on the court. There were times when I played with "no mind", which is the way I would like to play always - but those times were not often. Usually I was psyching myself out with some kind of talk. It will be nice to see how all this changes after 3 years off and successful meditation and thought pattern changes.

Well I thank you for letting me share my personal revelations. Now back to what I think about your situation. Your focus on reducing stress is right on. It may take time though - for me SR was big, but I also had to consciously remove thought patterns that translated into physical stress. You may have to change the way you think, change jobs and/or change the way you train to help speed up the stress release. For example I finally realized that those same thought patterns were causing me to OVERTRAIN. Now I am I doing yoga and NO weight training (whereas before I had about 10 extra pounds of muscle), but my musculature has responded in 1 week what it usually took 2 weeks(?) to respond. Once you relieve the stress effect, clean up your system if need be, and eat accordingly, you will notice that you will train LESS - but get more out of it than you are now. Train smarter, not harder - but it means your physical body has to work smarter (more efficiently) too. And that may require time off, greater/specialized nutrition, detox, SR, whatever you decide. Similarly, my husband (who it seems has zero stress effect by the way :) was a competitive bodybuilder. After his competition days he was still working out. He quit the weights, spent several months detoxing, including a 7 day colonic/fast, then recommenced the weights. He also noticed the difference in efficiency, as he began the weights again, returning to his previous size more quickly, while lifting less weight.

"My concern is that I will never be able to train at the intensity levels I want to achieve my cycling goals"
I used to be a goal setter and goal acheiver too (and used to coach others in the same). I have found it much less stressful and much more rewarding to forget about goal setting and acheiving and instead put every bit of my energy into the moment, into the drill, into the jump, into the serve. To serve like this is the only moment in time. Because when you have a goal, everything you do is aimed toward acheiving that goal sometime in the future, instead of experiencing every breath you take on the cycle and getting the most out of every push of the pedal - just for it's own sake. Just my technique, may or may not be useful to you...

good luck, may the force be with you!
thessa

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Re: Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems (Archive in aging.)

Posted by Walt Stoll on September 19, 2002 at 08:32:32:

In Reply to: Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems posted by George in Boca on September 18, 2002 at 17:24:32:

Hi, George.

Listen to Thessa!

Will you be able to reach your goals when you are 80?

Sooner or later, we all have to be satisfied with less. However, serious wellness will keep you going far longer than anything else yet known.

When we are young we can get away with a lot more crap than as when we begin aging.

Walt

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Re: Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems

Posted by Daisy on September 19, 2002 at 12:48:09:

In Reply to: Athletic Training and GERD/Stress Problems posted by George in Boca on September 18, 2002 at 17:24:32:

Hi George,
I think the point here is exactly what you've identified in your post. You need to get the GERD and your overall stress level under control using Dr. Stoll's 3-legged stool. You already have the exercise leg down, now it's a matter of stress reduction and investigating diet changes.
I'm an endurance cyclist and the problem I've been dealing with is IBS, which presents it's own set of problems on long rides. Following Dr. Stoll's plan, I've made great improvements.I think that in about 6 months on the wellness plan, you shouldn't have a problem with reflux while you're doing sprints. So no, it isn't hopeless : )
Take care,
Daisy

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