by Sean Croxton
Where does fitness end and disease begin?
The line separating the two can be a fine one and, for most, a blur. In fact, crossing this line is often perceived as admirable, even worthy of envy.
From the outside an ultra-lean, sculptured female physique may be looked upon by her peers as a body to die for. However, from the inside it may be a body she is dying for.
Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement.
Then again, maybe not.
Working as a personal trainer for eight years and then as a diet and lifestyle coach for three, I learned many lessons. The lesson I will share with you today is this:
Looks can be deceiving.
In every gym exists at least one woman rocking a bra top to show off all eight of her abs. The one who seems to be there no matter what time you go. The one who women gawk at more than the men.
My female training clients would often express envy over this woman, however unbeknownst to the damage taking place beneath the hard-bodied surface.
Looks can kill you.
Oh, there I go again…
Behind closed doors many — but not all — of these women are dealing with significant health challenges. I should know, as I have consulted with dozens of figure competitors and female bodybuilders experiencing various lifestyle-related symptoms including chronic constipation, intermittent diarrhea, poor libido, loss of menstruation, brain fog, depression, and more.
In fact, after reviewing their lab test results with me and actually seeing on paper what their ambitions (or addictions) for the perfect body had done, a handful of my figure model clients retired on the spot. To them, it just wasn’t worth it.
And that brings us today’s video. Dr. Kelly Austin, a naturopathic doctor, stopped by the studio to discuss Female Athlete Triad Syndrome. This triad involves the following three criteria:
Disordered eating. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown eating disorder — although it could. Instead it can be the woman who consumes a 1000-calorie diet but burns 800 calories on the treadmill daily and works out. There simply are not enough calories coming in to support activity. Very common.
Amenorrhea (loss of menstruation). Losing your period is a sure sign that bodyfat percentage has gone too low. A woman needs sufficient fat stores in order to maintain reproductivity. Amenorrhea involves low levels of estrogen, which can be a product of excessive stress on the body, including the stress of over-training.
Bone loss. There typically comes a point when the woman who spends too much time on the treadmill finds herself in a walking boot. This is often do to stress fractures, which may result from a combination of overtraining and the impact of low estrogen levels on bone loss.
I’ve said enough. Now, let’s hear from Dr. Austin.
Check out the video below. You may also listen to our entire radio show HERE.
Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss
This is so awesome! I was a competitive bodybuilder for about 4 years, and I experienced all of the “triad symptoms”.
My “coaches” as well as other people in the physique clique were actually congratulatory about it… as if I had really accomplished something, or reached a milestone of some sort.
It is a twisted mindset that you get into. You are unwittingly harming yourself, but see yourself as ‘superior’ to average people. Anyone who expresses concern or worry for you is seen as “jealous” of your perfect body and your insane discipline and superhuman control.
I am so glad to be out of that world!!
Hi — I have observed in the United States that women who are not fat or overweight are instead “fit:” “in shape,” low body fat, muscly, verses just being thin and shapely. It seems like women here are either one or the other: overweight or muscly with low body fat. I think most American women are unattractive: sloppy and overweight or too athletic and hard-bodied — I mean over age 35+.
I am a woman and I would much rather look like the European women who never really work out (unless you count ‘sport’ once a week), but still manage to be thin, yet soft looking – I am talking about over age 35+ – verses many of the “skinny” American women who run around all day in sneakers and tight workout gear sporting their rock hard bodies.
I’d rather be soft and feminine looking rather than sporty and athletic looking. I think most men would agree too. The women in Europe are gorgeous without being athletic and sporty. Why don’t women ever wear a dress or skirt in this country? And a nice scarf.
Also – I think the woman in the interview with Sean is really lovely. Soft and feminine and natural.
American women really need to get over having six pack abs – or ANY ABS – and embrace the strengths of being female that our culture desperately needs: being confident in the importance of having children, being nurturers of health and happiness, and cultivating intuition. We have enough men in the world – lets bring back lost femininity – when women are confident in their femininity (this does not mean sexuality), so will the men.
A “wise guy” once said, “If women only slept with guys who took the bus to work, then all guys would take the bus to work.” Ladies: we set the standard. Let’s not toss that aside in an effort to be more like men. Equality does not mean being the same. Men and women are different – and this is good!