Dr. Joel Rosen: All right. Hello, everyone. And welcome back to another edition of your adrenal fix podcast where we teach exhausted and burnt-out adults the truth about their health so they can get their energy back quickly. And it’s a real pleasure to have Vanessa Bartlett join us today on giving us information on what you could do to recover your energy by being active. And through movement. She is a holistic lifestyle and exercise coach, and she helps people re-energize their body and their mind with adrenal-friendly Fitness and Lifestyle practices. So Vanessa, thank you so much for joining me today.
Vanessa Bartlett: Thank you so much, Dr. Joel, this is amazing to be on here with you.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, and you know, I gotta admit, I apologize to you on the air. Because I know you’ve had reached out a couple of times to be I had seen it. But you know, quite truly, I’m the spinning a lot of different plates and have a lot of ads in different cookie jars. And it just was the proper timing, and kudos to you for persisting persistent because I think that tells a lot about your journey, your recovery for energy, and maybe why you got burnt out in the first place. So why don’t you tell our listeners a little bit about your story first about your trials, so we can identify with where you’re coming from?
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, absolutely. So I was really into health and fitness as a youngster and I got my aerobics qualification when I was 18 years old and into the gyms right away. Actually, when I was 14 years old, believe it or not, I lied and told my local gym, I was 15, just so I could go. But before that, at age eight, I got up at 6:30 am religious to take a robotic cell style, which is a really famous 30-minute aerobic show here in Australia, back when I eight years old. So anyway, so it’s in my blood.
But what happened was, I was doing a lot of work with that in gyms in my early 20s teaching heaps of classes, you know, pump and spin and boxing and all that stuff and thinking, wow, like I’m living my best life. I’m getting paid for what I love. I’m getting paid to exercise and be around great people every day in all these gyms. But then what started to happen was I started to notice I got really tired after teaching what was pretty okay for me generally.
So I’ve gone through this, you know, from the early 20s to mid-20s. And then started to feel this kind of heaviness in my body and these symptoms and signs that would flare up and make me think oh my gosh, what’s going on, I can normally get through this pump class quite easily or you know, as circled or something like that, that this fatigue, this kind of heavy fatigue started to set into my body during and after these exercise sessions. Then at that time, too, I was also starting up my own mobile trip personal training business around Sydney managing trainers.
So doing a lot spinning a lot of plates and all that was young without kids at that point, I started to realize my energy wasn’t what it should be for someone in their mid to late 20s, who’s you know, relatively healthy doing exercise for a living. So something just wasn’t sitting, right? So this went on for a couple of years, actually. Until one day I was in a client assessment doing her blood pressure and you know, talking to her about an exercise and I’m kind of sitting on the table going, I’m so sorry, Alice, like, I’m really tired today. I’m just so exhausted. It’s I’m tired all the time, actually.
And I started talking to her about my problem. And she’s like, I’ve been the same Hey, there’s this doctor in Asheville who’s really holistic, go see him, he’ll tell you what’s going on. Because I’ve been to GPS. And they just kept telling me, You’re just you know, you’re just having a tiring day, don’t worry, just rest. And I’ll get sick a lot too. So it’s getting colds and flu, like once every six weeks, which was ridiculous, and chest infections. That wasn’t good. My immune system was down. And they kept giving me antibiotics as well. So that wasn’t sitting well and going hang on. I don’t want to keep taking this stuff. I’m not quite right, something else is going on. I just had this inner voice saying that this just isn’t right.
Anyway, so long Behold, this doctor helped me out and did this test on me and said, Vanessa, your adrenals are shot. And I’m like, What are adrenals I didn’t even know anything about what that was at that point. And he said You’re doing too much in your life. You’re doing too much exercise, you’re burning the candle at both ends, you’ve got to stop what you’re doing. And you’ve got to change what you eat and you’ve got to go to bed earlier and like whoa, what huh? So this kind of took a bit of time to process for me. But as it turned out that was my journey then to discovering I had very bad Adrenal Fatigue was very very poor health internally although I looked fit on the outside and that’s what happened I started having to rehaul and revamp every part of my life from there.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, well thanks for sharing I can I certainly identified with that myself when I graduated with my undergraduate in exercise physiology. I was a trainer too. And I remember my schedule where it would be like a sixth and the seventh and then someone would say Well, can I train with you already? Let Oh, sure at 11 And then I’d have a break in between there. Why don’t I just exercise and then on may have a four and a five? So you have this six or seven-hour client over a 16-hour workday, and you’re exercising at the same time.
And I think probably a lot of listeners, at least coming in through the overtraining door of burnout and fatigue and exhaustion. And the irony is, it’s not because you’re doing something that’s perceived as unhealthy, you’re doing something that’s healthy in a, in too much of a way that you are literally burning the candle at both ends. So as far as was that a wake-up call for you? Or did you buy into what they were saying? Did you feel that oh, well, I just can continue exercising at the pace I can like, what was your first instinct, when you heard about that?
Vanessa Bartlett: I was actually relieved because, to be honest, this had been going on for over two years. So this is two years of dealing with fatigue, as your listeners would know, and not knowing or understanding what it was. So there was a sense of relief, but at the same time, a bit of a shock to then go hang on a sec, if I want to get better if I want to feel like my old self.
I’m nowhere near that. But he’s telling me I’ve got to stop what I do for a living and what I love, which is exercise. That was a little bit difficult to manage at first. And when I was working in gyms, the managers were really happy with me because I was bringing a lot of numbers into these classes. And you know, and then when I went to them and said, I’ve got to pull back on, you know, these classes, especially the higher intensity ones, because I thought, in my mind, before looking into any of this or understanding it, I thought from a basic level of understanding this fatigue thing, if I was to do something that exerted less energy, surely that can help me.
So decreasing the intensity, just in my personal training mindset was the first thing I thought I can do for myself, what if I just didn’t push as hard in the pump class or use less weight, that would be less energy or demand on my body. So therefore that might help. So I started to pull back. But yeah, getting that message across to my managers and the people I work with is really difficult.
And I felt kind of lonely for quite a while because no one understood it. And no one saw it as a visible illness or condition, so to speak, because it’s not really visible, they still kind of look the same. And all of that. So that’s yeah, so that’s what kind of what happened. And it was mixed emotions, really. But then I knew deep down, I had to change something because I knew I didn’t want to feel like that. So the pain of feeling how I was, was definitely outweighing the difficulty of the change I was about to embark on.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Sure, sure. So then did you be for that two-year period? Vanessa, when did you were not having the energy that you used to have? How complex? Did it impact you? Was there a change in your body image? Or was there brain fog? Or was there what like, give us a breakdown of all the things that were involved just in case someone else is listening to this and they say, You know what, I’ve been exercising a lot too. But I don’t know if I have those same things.
Vanessa Bartlett: Sure. There’s a mixture of things that were happening, it was definitely brain fog and not being quick, you know, like quick in my mind to think of things or to come up with answers for things, everything was becoming an effort mentally, but also physically and emotionally. So there were three main components that were really on the downward the emotional, the physical, and mental. So my brain wasn’t firing. I was very lethargic and heavy, with this sense of heaviness in my body.
So lifting what would be fairly light or moderate weight, nothing crazy, was becoming so hard such an effort. So the effort level went up, which made everything again mentally harder. And then so emotionally, you kind of go down and start to question, okay, what am I doing? Like, what, why is this happening? you question yourself, I would question myself. What? QUESTION Well, I’m supposed to be eating well, what’s going wrong here? I’m supposed to be exercising, these are all somewhat healthy things. How can this be happening? What else will happen a lowered immune system so you’re getting sick a lot?
As I mentioned, that was another telltale sign, which I didn’t realize, but I learned that my immune system was being compromised because my hormones were out. So I did end up getting you to know, thyroid tests, my thyroid or roid was actually overactive. At one point, a lot of people have an underactive thyroid. Mine was overactive at one point as well. Hormones are all over the place.
I was waking up at 2 am. Of course, we know that’s a very common thing with so many of the listeners probably having that two and 3 am very much alert, wake up but then not being able to get practice. And having to get up at five or six or seven is really difficult. Yeah, so those were the main things.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah. It’s not fun stuff. So as far as the training volume goes, what was I mean, you’re teaching a couple of classes a day doing your own workouts, taking your client, like, give us a breakdown on what that looked like, first of all.
Vanessa Bartlett: At that time, I was teaching probably 15 sessions a week. So that’s a that’s quite a lot over the course of six days. And that that’s overtraining, I mean, I understand that now. But it’s definitely overtraining for, you know, I’m not an elite athlete going into the Olympics, so that you don’t need to do four hours a day of exercise, most people don’t.
And so that was the load. And then within that was mostly weights, cardio intensity, interval training, cardio circuits, boxing, so so heavy load, or what I would say is heavily loaded stuff. At that point, there was no yoga or pilates or tai chi or meditation, which is what I then, you know, group into that second category of the mind-body and the more modified light approaches we could one could take during adrenal fatigue.
So I learned very quickly that I needed to be open to that and started to learn those disciplines as well. But that was the load at the time. And then so teaching clients participating with them to show them demos and stuff, and then being in the pump class doing that for one-hour pump class. But then obviously, when I realized I had the fatigue started to really pull back on the use of lighter weights.
And then eventually I cut back and I quit teaching all those hard classes. So for a period there, there were months and months where I just said to the more I’m out, I’m tapping out now I can’t do it. I’m not doing it. Because I know that this is interfering with my recovery, which that’s a big key. If you’re still getting those signs and symptoms, even if you’ve modified your exercise, and you’re still not feeling right, that’s a sign to me the stumbling to pull back even further until your body can handle that load.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, well, I mean, the reason I’m going down this line of questioning, Vanessa is because I think that people whether they’re teaching or not, they need to see the volume as it’s not a surprise, right? I mean, if you’re teaching the class, the pump classes, and that’s one way that you’re getting your exercises, and then you’re demonstrating and showing the clients, that’s another way, and then you’re actually doing your own workouts, which is, which is another way.
And then ultimately, there, it’s like I The analogy is you’re always watering a plant, at some point, you got to take the water away and let the sunlight to come in and let your growth and recovery happen big after the stimulus. So I guess that’s a good transition. So you realize the writing’s on the wall, I gotta back off, was it really hard from a psyche standpoint to back off and not do the same intensity and kind of get us too caught up with now what you actually do based on your own learning experiences?
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, it was hard, because at that time, as well, everyone in the gym, all the trainers were doing that load. So it was not, it didn’t seem unusual for me to teach 12 to 15 classes a week, quite full on because that’s what everyone’s doing. And I was that’s, that’s the other thing that was difficult was to go hang on, if they can handle this, why are they not feeling so fatigued, and they’re buzzing around after class, whereas I have to go and sleep for three hours in the middle of the day, before I pick up another, you know, reception shift or something back at the gym.
So that was difficult because I felt like I wasn’t able to keep up with my peers and what the normal people and the normal trainers were able to do. But then I realized, well, everyone’s body is different. And we all have different thresholds and all of that, that kind of stuff happening. And then there’s the element of what else has happened in your life that may be stressful or taking energy and causing you to go into the stress response a lot, which is, you know, a big contributor to this as well for people.
So yeah, that obviously led me into learning are being open to Pilates and yoga and going learning and sitting them sitting in the back of those classes. Because mentally I wasn’t really into it. I was thinking, Oh, what is this stuff or it’s a bit slow for me because all the fitness industry had taught me at that point was you sweat, you push hard and you do X amount of classes a week. And then you work on reception in between and that’s it. There was none of this talk of recovery Mind Body deep breathing to balance things out. There was none of that. So I became very much open to it.
Although I had a barrier at first because I was a little impatient perhaps. But it did teach me balance. I ended up sitting at the back of that first Pilates class going Ah, I don’t feel so heavy after this. My gosh, did I just do You have an ounce of energy you know, I just feel an ounce of my old self in there somewhere where I could go and enjoy the day not have to go home to sleep after this exercise session. Wow, this could be on could be onto something here. So that yeah, I just went in kind of embraced all that and Wendy courses on Pilates especially and fell in love with yoga as well and, and that kind of stuff. And then I’ve since integrated that into fitness to create a more balanced, holistic sustainable coach for people and myself wanting.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, also to kudos on that. I think of cross-training, not so much as what you think of as cross-training. But in terms of different systems, right, like the stretching and the gentle movements and the mind connection and the breath work and then the contraction. Were you finding that because that’s a big problem still with me to this day is giving enough, I guess enough love to the stretch component of it was that something that was missing hugely or you had already always done that, like just curious.
Vanessa Bartlett: I’d always done that. Because I had a background in dancing as well from when I was young. So stretching and you know, ballet, pilates type moves were not too foreign to me. But doing them in the sense of a workout was kind of okay, how this, how can this be deemed the workout now? Is this going to be my workout, because that’s at a crossroads to go, I either keep doing exercise, which is really hurting me right now, or learn to enable these other forms of movement as my exercise, how can I get my muscles to feel like they’re getting, you know, a workout and resistance and strength.
So that stretching wasn’t foreign. But I would say the core and the speed and doing movements in a more controlled manner with awareness of breath with awareness of muscle activation, was a new concept. And that was something that really and truly helped with adrenal fatigue recovery, learning to slow things down, and so forth, and appreciate how you know, some days a stretch, a really good stretch, where you’re pulling your arm forward and reaching to your leg, it’s not just a hamstring stretch, you’re actually contracting the quad. So if you’ve got nothing else, if you’re no energy, you can just simply sit there, gently contract the cord, you’re still doing a little bit of muscle activation, which is better than nothing. And you stretch forward. And that can allow our system to open our circulation open and our body to actually activate the parasympathetic nervous system too, which is super handy here.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, and that’s what you were saying before we got started. So I guess how did it? I mean, it obviously the obvious was it, that you’re tapped out and you’re no longer doing these classes anymore? And then did you see it as hey, I’m gonna use this as sort of a business opportunity. Because there’s got to be other Vanessa’s out there that have just burned both candles that are the candle at both ends. And they need this too or was it that? Like, yeah, I guess the genesis of where you got it. Tell us about how you got into that or what you decided and so forth.
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah. All right. You know, at that time, I didn’t see it as a business opportunity at all, because I just wanted to get, I wanted to sort myself out. And I thought, Alright, if I can learn to exercise and get back to feeling like my old self and get over this adrenal thing, which did take over two years, by the way. So from the point of figuring out, I had it to then actually getting better.
And I’m talking about in every regard, not just yesterday, so that took over two years for me to fully come out of it. During that time, I did change as I was still working in the gym, but not doing as many classes and still had my own clients. But obviously, pull back with the physical. So in the health consults, I was questioning people more because when they come in tired, I’d ask them more questions, thinking maybe they’ve got what I’ve got, not trying to, you know, tell everyone at the gym, this new thing that no one ever talked about just adrenal fatigue and burnout.
But it did so happen that many people were experiencing fatigue or noticing they weren’t recovering from workouts or overtraining, like some of the moms were diligent that helped coming in five days a week doing 10 hours, which was almost as much as I was doing as the trainer said to one of them one day, still have a break, have time off, just do what I do. It’s okay, your body’s telling you, right, because you don’t want this to get worse. So I ended up kind of advising people who came in with similar symptoms or just had a bit of a sense stance to where their exercise just to go, Hey, it’s okay to pull back.
So that, you know, went on for a while, and I decided then, probably another year or so on from that, that my passion really lay in Pilates so I actually quit the gym altogether and did Pilates for many years before this actually, just on its own, I just did Pilates because that was kind of my thing where I went well, this is really the baseline where I could work my strength, my core. My cardio was, you know, walking around the block at that point, because I had to scale it right back that was enough to do what I needed enough to maintain my weight.
And so I ended up just doing Pilates at that point and became known as the Pilates person in my local area and not the hardcore gym person from the other team in the local area. It’s like a Vanessa does Pilates now just Pilates. So go to her studios subleasing studios and so forth. I suppose this whole collaboration of I got to a point with Pilates where I went, Okay, I love this I can I know how Pilates has helped me heal and recover from Adrenal Fatigue and given me a whole other body awareness level that I didn’t know about with core and mind-body work, which is what we’re discussing before.
But what then do you do to get your fitness back again, how, you know, if you want to become so specific with losing weight, and with achieving, you know, a marathon or something like that, again, once you’ve had the capability and the capacity to do that, you have to do more than Pilates. So that’s where I started to think, recently, just a few years ago, actually, how can I combine the best of all of this and give people something where you can rebuild your entire fitness very safely? Well, it’s pulling in the best of all those things, isn’t it? It’s, it’s Pilates. It’s the yoga, it’s the meditation, it’s strength work, it’s the weight, but done in a way that honors your body and honors your adrenal system. That’s kind of how that evolved.
Dr. Joel Rosen: It’s cool. Yeah, thanks for sharing. I like the evolution, I could definitely identify when they would come in, and you would do your assessments and figure out where their plateaus are, and what they’re looking to gain. And I think that’s a really important thing in terms of any, any consulting business, whether you’re a doctor, or you’re a financial planner, is okay, what are your goals here? Right and get down to Okay, are you meeting your goals?
Do you feel satisfied, you know, is everything sort of in an alignment, and then realizing that, no, I’m working out hard, and it’s not getting to where I want to go to, and I don’t feel like I’m getting the results that I want, I can appreciate that where you’re coming from. And now you have a new set of eyes in terms of hey, it’s not more is better. It’s just like when we talk about with, you can outrun the refrigerator like you could come into the gym every single day.
But if you’re not focusing on your diet, then it takes it to the next level if you’re not focusing on your stressors, and I guess if you had a stress meter, and it was overflowing, all the exercise in the world, especially all the exercise in the world, and all the great dietary approaches, isn’t going to address that. So I could definitely see how that evolved. And then the Pilates. So now tell us how you combine that because people that are listening to this are probably thinking, hey, yeah, I’ve burnt out and it wasn’t necessarily gym related.
Although I used to love to go to the gym, I could never do that anymore. I probably burnt out because of my job, my family, my children, my finances, and my physical injuries. But I do want to get back into and a lot of people will say, Well, you can’t you have to do this first. So how do you figure that out? What’s your approach, Vanessa?
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, sure. So I think it’s important just to note for anyone listening, appreciate where you’re at, and really know where you’re at. If you’re, if you’ve just discovered you’ve got adrenal fatigue, like I did, you know, years ago, and you’ve just kind of getting into a recovery plan. That’s not the time to commit to doing a half marathon, right, you’re just going to put more stress and load on your body. So being okay with where you’re at if you’re coming out of it.
On the other end, you know, the world is your oyster, this is the time where your energy is probably on the uphill, you’re probably getting back into work, or you may have changed work or you’ve got your emotional triggers under control these and that was a big thing for me, too. Not only did I feel for myself, it was not only the physical burnout, but I had a lot of emotional stuff on I wasn’t very good at emotionally navigating my life and would over-commit to things. And as you said at the very start, you know, I am quite persistent with things. When I see something that I feel fits for myself and someone else I’m very persistent that sometimes in life that can burn you out because you want more for others.
You know, we’re talking about family and friends and stuff here, right? You want more for others than they want for themselves or you want to see them do So Well, you put so much in, and that’s an emotional thing as well. So once you’ve got that kind of understanding of where you’re at with that bigger picture, then you can go, okay, how can I incrementally increase my exercise here to get to my goals?
And as you said, identify the goals first, Dr. Joel. So, no, all right. Maybe at the moment, I’ve come, I’ve only got the capacity to walk around the block for five minutes, and then I’m kind of done. That’s okay. Maybe in a month, can you maybe incrementally increase that to do two minutes extra a week? So we’re working on different aspects. And this is where I discovered what I learned years ago in fitness, which is one thing that did help me with it coming back from fatigue and building up is the fit principle, fit T frequency, intensity, type, and time.
That is the basic fitness principle that we all follow for programming in any way, shape, or form around the world. Right? So you’ve got your frequency, how often are you doing it at your intensity? What is the intensity at which your workout is at your heart rate and so forth? The type? What style of exercise are you doing? Is it congruent to your goals, and then the time as well, how long, and the type?
So you can basically play around with this fit principle, and incrementally build those components as your body tells you and allows you over time. And so having little goals once a month to go. Alright, I want to get back into the gym client of mine has been coming to me when he was really bummed out. And I said that you cut the weights for a little bit, just a little bit. But now we’re back where you know, he’s doing his weights, he’s running on the treadmill. And this is, you know, someone who was very burned out.
Another lady of mine, I told her to cut back from two hours at the gym because she was going home like me sleeping for three hours after the workouts and like, it’s too much, Olivia, we’ve got a pullback here, let your body recover. So keep in mind that you can build up but whatever you build up, your body will tell you if it’s too much pull back when needed and ensure you bring in into that recovery. And these days, I don’t allow people I don’t allow my clients or myself to do too many hard sessions in a week without complementing it with deep breath work with stretching, not just a two-minute stretch at the end of a workout.
But an actual stretch and meditation session, which is Dean does the session on that Saturday 15 to 20 minutes. So you don’t just have to do that after the weights. Learning to appreciate is a really great way, these softer modalities that Pilates they’re not always easy, by the way, yoga and pilates, depending on what you do. But appreciating that meditation stretches time, allowing time for the deep brain to activate all those nice things within the parasympathetic nervous system is crucial. So that’s the way to do it. You can incrementally build your listening to your body.
Dr. Joel Rosen: No, that’s great, great, great answers. I think that the Fit principle is universal, and it’s a good parameter to go by. Also, too, I was just thinking, as you were saying a lot of people that would have that tendency to workout excessively or obsessively, there’s probably something that’s not being identified as to why they’re doing that they’re running away from some of their challenges, and they’re getting rid of the excess energy.
And they may have a lot of other stressors, which is therapeutic in the sense that you’re getting, you’re training trading one stimulus for too much of another stimulus. So I think it’s important for that person to identify why are you being obsessive or excessive in the gym for that reason, and realize that working harder isn’t going to necessarily solve that problem.
The other thing I think is really important too is that the goals have to be not necessarily alike it’s important to have I think physical goals and you want to have a certain waistline or you want to have a certain strength but I think also the performance schools are important, right in terms of capacities and things like that. I think those are super important as well. As far as Do you stress that with your clients is to figure out if they can figure out if their flexibility or their chronological age or whatever it is, that isn’t necessarily the aesthetics to you does that get born into what you do as well?
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, really good point. That’s actually the basis of what I formulate everything on now. So especially because a lot of people do come to me where they can’t do mainstream fitness or they’re in some kind of burnout exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues are similar, you know, this kind of scope thing. Things so for these people for myself as well. I realized quickly and by the way, I did, I was at that time, and I now read Lies why I’m carrying a little bit of excess belly fat that I’ve never had.
But that makes total sense now, right? Because you and your listeners know that that’s all definitely related to the cortisol and all that kind of thing. And the adrenal system is out of whack and that telltale sign of belly fat. And so that’s, that’s the kind of the problem that we have is that people want to lose the belly fat. But if they’re in a really bad adrenal fatigue, that is a challenge. So for me, letting them know and letting you guys know, whoever’s listening, that put the weight loss goal. Second, for now, let’s get your health and your basic movement up again, let’s build that up to a capacity where your body can handle the required exercise to really hone in on that waistline, if that’s your goal, really build strength in your body, for weights and so forth.
So the aesthetic goals on my list, and I’ll let people know very first session, hey, we’re going to, that’s fine, we can do that we can get this 10 kilos off. But we’re going to look at that in a few months when I know you can handle this. And so getting in line these basic measures, like you said, how Alright, so how many pushups can you do if you can’t do two push-ups, you can’t lose belly fat in the next 30 days, because you probably don’t have the capacity, do that right to do the exercise required for that. And you know, hone in on the eating and so forth when your hormones are out. So it’s a real holistic view that people need to take. But definitely looking at, yeah, let’s get that going. Again, don’t be down on yourself feels like doing 40 Push-ups, and now you’re doing 10 And you’re done. Don’t be you know, upset with yourself.
That’s a real thing of where I see a lot of people get angry with themselves or have this period of time where you’re going, oh my gosh, like I used to do martial arts. Now. I can’t even move my leg, I’m so fatigued, or I’ve lost all that strength and mobility. That’s okay. So I do take people through a bit of a fitness test and go Yeah, that’s cool. Let’s look at your core. How’s that working? How? How’s your upper body strength? How are your legs? Can you handle a walk around the block? Can you run around the block? Where are you at with all of these different fitness components, which is fantastic? Because in you know, two or three months, those would have improved, absolutely. And then we can go great now you can really hone in on I’ll help you hone in on what it takes to get that waistline back in again, with all of the other pillars in the exercise working nicely.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I know that I think it’s really important for that to be understood by you, and by them going into it. And I think that the evolution of fitness, I mean, I was a trainer a long time ago, and things have changed, although a lot of the things have stayed the same where you still have the break the body parts up into back and biceps and this and then you will have the hybrids of CrossFit or I used to call it cross fake, I would do like my own CrossFit. But on my own, but stuff like that.
And I guess now where do Where did the dangers I guess exist in terms of okay, I’m want to do the safe movements. And at the same time, I have to realize that there are new norms, I think that another key takeaway is you may never be where you were before. And you have to be okay with that. And maybe you get better than that. But you can’t benchmark it as ah, I’m not where I was this, this sucks. It’s not fair, because you’re gonna have new normals. But, uh, but as far as how do you determine if they’re on that slippery slope again? Are you doing certain check-ins or tell me what you do with that?
Vanessa Bartlett: Exactly. That’s exactly what I call them as well check-ins as just emailing a couple of people this morning, checking in for the week. So you know, either face to face and really looking see the thing is with this journey, it’s not just when you’re coming out of adrenal fatigue, or you’ve got adrenal fatigue and these similar issues which cause you to really look at your overall life.
You’ve got to look at the exercise and be willing to track it and be willing to go, Okay, what is because I’ve, it’s pretty much what I’ve come to is it’s an art and it’s a science. It’s built using our basic foundational fitness building blocks to build someone up. But with the respect that your body’s had either burnout or adrenal fatigue, we whatever you want to call it, some kind of condition where you have been extraordinarily, extraordinarily exhausted for a period of time, where it’s affected you on many, many levels, including the cells of your body. Right. So that takes time. So checking in with people and going Hey, how did you go with and when they give me the green light? I’ll be like, Yep, cool.
You know, Manish it’s time to do that. 10-minute run, right? You’ve been doing five unsatisfied, you’ve been doing 757 minutes at this pace. Right now. You’re gonna give me 10 minutes this week, twice. And let’s See how that goes. And then we check-in, and we check-in. So we check on in the components, you check in on the flexibility, you check in on how your body’s feeling.
So they might say, Oh, that sounds like a lot of work. It’s not really if you’ve got someone like, I kind of do the work for them, I’m coaching them, I’m giving them notes and stuff like that, if I can see that you’re adapting well to this, the beauty about this, is if you do really listen to your body and track those little components alongside what you’re doing, you will never have any setbacks. So you won’t be faced with those crashes. Because what would happen with me when I was learning all of this, and I was woken up, as you can imagine, I would go, Okay, I’m feeling good.
Like, let’s say six months after stopping the gym stuff, right? So this is like, no wait anymore. I’ve had that break from all the hard stuff. I had an ounce of energy that day. And I’d be like, Alright, let’s go. And let’s just go and try some pulley weights today. So that would go into my head and be like, alright, Vanessa, this is what you used to do. Alright, you’re not going to do what you did a year ago. Let’s just do half that and see what happens. So I do these experiments with myself. But then for a really long time, I would push too hard, and then be faced with a sacrifice and paying the price.
So I’ve paid the price where I’ve had to then go done it, I shouldn’t have done weights yet, I should have just stopped to resistance bands because I’ve been handling the bands while in the Pilates well with my body. For me, the weights were just a massive, massive thing that would always set me back. It’s not the same for everyone. But it is for a lot of people with adrenal fatigue, I find just so loaded. So I have to go sleep for another three hours. I’m like, oh, like five steps forward, three steps back. But that’s okay, we’re still progressing. So now that I know all of this, I kind of have a system where I tell people to follow and go, This is how you can safely incrementally increase.
Don’t go from doing yoga, then jumping into weights because you think you better know, you have to build strength through body weight, through resistance bands, and through lighter apparatus. Once you can handle that. You’ve got the green light to then go wait. So I’m very incremental with people these days. So that you avoid those setbacks and those crashes and feeling demotivated going, I have just done all this. Now, I’m back here again. No, we don’t want you to get those crashes. We want you to progress and enjoy exercise and gain energy from it.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, no, it’s awesome. As far as I can see the evolution of just all the hard work and dedication you’ve put into understanding this, the progressive overload is that concept that you have to understand as sort of the layperson as you want to do it as is for the stress response and the hormetic stress that you put on the body, you want to do just a little bit above and beyond what the body’s capable of doing. Not a little below it, because if you don’t go it’s like an all or none.
But the thing is, is that if you remember, like when I first was a trainer, and I wanted to give someone a really good workout, they couldn’t move their arms or their legs very much because they were in so much pain, and they didn’t like me and they wouldn’t want to continue, then you realize pretty quickly, okay, just these people are deconditioned, it doesn’t take very much to do above and beyond that load that you need to do and really realize what that is.
And that’s, I think that’s the art of exercise and you need a good trainer to teach you like you need to know when you’ve hit that. And that also changes the perspective of okay, if you’re going to the gym because you’re escaping things, or you’re being obsessive or it’s unhealthy, because of whatever reasons, realize that that’s not even healthy to do it for that amount of time, you’ve already long gone over that progressive overload stimulus, and that’s where injuries occur and so forth.
So I think that’s important. But do you are you finding now a lot of people do find that and I get that a lot with my feedback from inquiries is, that I just don’t have the tolerance, I crash if I do too much. The doctor told me that I shouldn’t. And then they ended up throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and they didn’t do anything. So are you finding that that’s happening still, or they’re not doing it and they’re being told wrong information? Where are we on that?
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah. By the time people contact me, I suppose I think they’re ready for the movement because they can see you know, I do personal training, too, for people with burnout and beyond. So that’s good. So they’re ready, but they’ve just known I often get people saying, I’ve tried x y Zed, or I, you know, tried to do what I used to do with my marathon training. I’ve tried to do CrossFit again, but it’s just not working for me, it’s still set me back. So that’s where I can be like, Hey, this is cool. We can sort this out. There are other ways to build you up safely without the crashes.
But yes, there is also So this I see people who don’t do anything at all for a really long time. You know, because yeah, maybe they’ve been advised by that. And it’s tricky because you want. There are so many different experts, I suppose people are going to feel adrenal fatigue, especially now there’s so much on the internet as well. So depends on whose advice you’re taking, right? So some might say just do yoga, as the exercise.
Whereas I’ll say, you know, there’s a way we can combine all these amazing modalities so that you’re not bored, but be so that you’re training at different fitness levels, and so forth. But at the end of the day, if people can remember that, even, you know, in your worst, your worst tiredness, you can, you can lay on the bed and lift your arm and do a breath with it.
You know, that’s, that’s a movement. That’s something interesting. That’s why I fell in love with Pilates just to go on with that for a sec. Joseph Pilates actually trained people to rehab in hospital beds, that’s where this whole thing started 100 years ago. So interestingly enough, he was helping injured sick people with muscular strength at their worst. So that’s kind of another thing I love about that is that there’s a way to do something, but it’s a mindset thing, too. But a basic fitness principle, we all need to do exercise for our life, right? No matter what or movement or call it movements.
So even if you change your mindset, and then there’s the other side of people that come in and go, Well, hey, if I’m just if I’m not going to be running or doing weights, I don’t want to do anything like what’s the point? Like way your mindsets got to change movement is what you need. setbacks and crashes are not what you need. So where’s that nice middle-ground for you to enjoy something really depends on where people are at with their journey with this, I think but if your listeners can just know that, at some point, you’ve got to challenge your body and get up off that couch and do a bit of something.
You know, even on a date, if you’re having a really bad week, and you are just tired all the time, there might be one day, which is a tiny bit better than the rest. And that one day, get up and do two minutes of a walk around your house if you’ve done nothing for a year, or you know, so there are different degrees of anything. But just knowing that it’s safe to do a little bit of something, and will do you really good.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, that’s a good answer. And all have been really great answers you have to move. There are no two ways about it. You don’t have a seat at the bargaining table that, you know if you’re allowed if you shouldn’t, or you shouldn’t you have to move. And that’s the irony is, it’s like the person that doesn’t have work experience and how can they get a job if no one’s giving them work experience? I don’t have energy, how can I exercise if I don’t have energy, but by doing something, you’re gonna get energy out of it?
And I think a lot of people have never ever felt, what it feels like to be healthy and what it feels like to be fit. And don’t realize that it’s going to take time and the body’s amazing and its resiliency to overcome any specific adaptation, right? So you have to exercise there are no two ways about it, we were so much more active. We’re meant to be moving creatures, you know, up being sitting down, standing up getting outside going for walks, you know, we’re you have to do that no matter how tired and fatigued you are. That’s something that you don’t, you don’t have a bargaining chip at the table to decide you can’t do that you have to do it. So as far as you have your own program now it sounds like with the self program, what’s that all about? Tell us about that.
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, I have, well, I have an online program as well called adrenal fit. And the adrenal fit is fantastic. I’ve given you basically all the protocols and some really great nurturing routines to do it’s home plan. So that’s for people who don’t want to go down the path of coaching and so forth. Otherwise, you can always jump in and do some one-to-one coaching with me, which is obviously personalized to what you need. And what I realized too, and this whole journey is, as you said before tapping into these other pillars like sleep and food and stresses and all of that it all comes into it. So where you’re at with those things can really help or hinder the exercise as well.
So if you kind of really wants to overhaul things, getting a good look at those lifestyle pillars and how one can complement the other is a really great way as well and help me give you a little bit more energy for the movement component itself and minimizing stress. It’s all about minimizing stress first the people I think, so the exercise seems stressful to you. Don’t think of exercise anymore as you have like exercises, CrossFit, or marathons. No, it’s just movement.
It’s moving our bodies in different directions. It’s breathing. It’s stretching out the muscles and just dead dance in your living room to a song you like, you know, just be happy and do something joyful because that will bring about a lot of positive energy as well. especially for people who are going through adrenal fatigue, you put on a song I guarantee that you love, and you would find the energy to dance to it right? You know, so finding ways to make things fun as well for yourself.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, you know, I tell I mean, I have a background in, in psychology, and there was a term called cognitive dissonance where if you have a feeling, and you have a different action, you’re going to have internal strife, because like an example is, you know, smoking is bad for you, but you’re smoking, and you want to be in alignment with that.
So you can either stop smoking, and you’re in alignment, or you can justify it and say, Oh, it’s not really that bad. The whole reason that I’m saying that is because I think establishing a connection with the mind and body releases that internal turmoil that you have with the unhealthy behaviors and the unhealthy mind and you really, the mind and the body are the same things.
And you have to work the mind and the body. By delivering blood flow and getting the heart and lungs pumping and getting oxygen and removing waste products. It’s just, that you have to move. So awesome stuff. I was just curious to know, do you do specific workups? Or you’re looking at biomarkers? Are you bringing that into the game as well? Just curious, in terms of, are you working with professionals that do that as well? Or what’s your angle on that?
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, I pretty much I ask clients if they’re working with other doctors, and so forth, give me the information you’ve got from whatever you’ve got. And I can kind of help look at that. I won’t delve into things that I don’t know a lot about. But definitely in terms of the what, you know, other experts they’re working with, I often reach out to them as well and get people to help or if I feel that my clients need a little bit more of a deep dive into some certain things. Yeah, I recommend that they go and see some of my recommended people. Right?
Dr. Joel Rosen: Yeah, I think it’s important. I think I’m doing some research now on longevity markers. And I’d like it if a person can look at some of these more exotic tests like intracellular NAD, or you’re looking at these methylation numbers of DNA that talk about chronological versus biological age. And then you exercise, I think that’s kind of where we’re headed. Yeah. And I think it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.
Vanessa Bartlett: I’d love to hear more about that actually. As well. Because, you know, different things come into this as well like menopause, hormones, and age and different things. Other than, you know, going into adrenal fatigue as well. So that’s, yeah, I’d like to kind of learn more about that as well, and look into how that can tie in nicely with all of this recovery for people.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Well, I mean, the good news is, is that your yours is the major rock that makes that gets put in the bucket first in terms of exercise, and if exercise was able to be patented into a drug, it makes gazillions of dollars, because such a therapeutic benefit that you know, no matter what different tests you do to the cows, they’re gonna get better with exercise. And, when we say exercise, we mean movement.
And we mean calf work, and we mean connecting to your body and your core, and being able to contract and relax. It’s funny, just as a side story, I had an exercise physiology degree, and I had a psychology degree, and there was a professor at my school. And he said that he had both of those. And I was like, Oh, that was cool because I was almost going to go forward in psychology.
And he says, as far as he knows, he’s the only one that’s able that’s licensed to stretch, stretch and shrink at the same time. And I think it’s important in terms of, you know, like, you need to stretch and you need to contract, you know, you need to contract your muscles, you need to stretch your muscles, you need to breathe into your muscles, you need to do all those things. So awesome information and you have clients worldwide that you’re able to work with.
Vanessa Bartlett: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I have clients in a few countries. And that’s the great thing about technology. I can just jump on Zoom like I’m on with you right now in different time zones. So I’ve got some openings in my calendar, my early morning and late evenings to cater to Americans are not so difficult, but sometimes the UK and so forth are opposite ends when we’re in daylight savings. So one in the evenings is really cool, but on that stretch and strengthen thing too. It’s really interesting. I was working with some professional footballers here.
So when I went down the Pilates path, a couple of really cool people I’ve worked with professional footballers here, a first-grade rugby league team, and mega up there, only now a few years ago started to open up more to Pilates breathwork recovery more so incorporated more than they would have in the past, you know, gone years gone by these, the trainers are becoming more aware of what is the best that athletes can do here. It’s not just about pushing hard and football as you can imagine from our training in the 1980s. Yeah, there would have been no stretching and no recovery.
So that’s really cool to see as well that evolution. So it’s like, well, if football is and I try to say this to my partner, and people who are still maybe a little old school mentality going okay can only do weights and cardio to get my workouts in? What about Pilates and resistance, Ben, meditation, all that stuff? Same with adrenal fatigue or anyone, right? If it’s okay for the elite athletes who are hardcore footballers to make time for this stuff now, right? The rest of us should be as well. And other athletes would have known this for many years, but football is caught up with it, which is good.
And working with some mental health clients here as well, where we were actually helping them with this kind of stuff to help with anxiety, depression, and so forth. So that was a very specialized thing I was doing there with the local groups, which is really great. And so you know, this is big stuff. But that element of finding that balance of stretch, strength, and breath work. That’s what encompasses fitness and exercise these days. Yeah, I just wanted to make that point. Because I know a lot of people still think, well, if I’m not working hard and sweating, I’m not getting any benefit. But that’s not true.
Dr. Joel Rosen: No, not at all. I mean, especially if they’ve done a core strength workout before and realize how hard it is, as far as I was gonna mention that when you brought up Pilates, and I liked that you did the adaptation of where it used to be, I think more physical limitations, maybe there’s an organic or just an exhaustion component too but I like how you’ve spun it to be able to cater to people that just don’t have the capacity, not necessarily because they’re injured.
But they’re, I guess, energetically injured in that sense to be able to do that. And then I could see how it would be adapted to professionals because you have lengthening and control of muscle contractions and better balance and better body awareness, less risk for injuries. And, you know, when you’re paying a high income, athlete, gazillions of dollars, you want to protect your investment as much as you can and make sure they stay on the field as much as possible.
So just sort of a question that we always ask our guests, Vanessa, when we’re getting close to wrapping up as far as now that you know what you know, now, versus what you didn’t know, then what do you think you would have done differently that may have avoided some challenges? Or maybe accelerated some, some benefits? Or both? What do you think you would have told the younger Vanessa?
Vanessa Bartlett: Go easy on yourself? You know, don’t if your intuition is telling you things, but other people are telling you something else. Go with you. You’ve got to honor yourself. That’s what I realized I kept, you know, I was a very big people pleaser. You know, and that’s, that was a big part of probably what led me to burnout. Because I wouldn’t say no to the gym, I kept taking on stuff, kept taking on stuff, didn’t wanna let people down, and will let people down in my personal life. So push myself to the brink. Right?
So honor yourself and what your body’s telling you, without guilt, and that’s without guilt as well, because then we often have this thing where Oh, okay, oh, my gosh, I said no to something all but then they might think this or that, or, Oh, but then I won’t gain results because I didn’t do the weights I should. So then you have this mental game just on yourself, be present, and accept where you’re at. And know that this is a chapter that you will overcome.
But you’ve got to be willing to look at your life. The big thing as well, I think, is to look internally, which is kind of like you know, listening to yourself and your intuition. There’ll be a lot presented to you with, you know, this will speed up there. So what can I do to speed this up? What can I do to stay asleep at night, you’ve got to look at the foundations. And that’s what I realized I was quickly overwhelmed with external, so-called solutions, but until I mastered myself, my health, my emotional management, my ability to say, No, that’s what helps with the overall healing process and my energy capacity in all areas, physical, mental, emotional, to rebuild and get back to a level for myself of where I want to be in life. So that’s what I would do differently. That’s what I tell people just on yourself.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Great advice. I think it’s like the whole theme of the interview is less is more right in terms of you do less and you get more so as far as where does the listener find you? And I know you have different socials. So why don’t you share? And I’ll put that in the link to where we’re going to be posting it. But if they’re listening to this, where would they be able to get in contact with you?
Vanessa Bartlett: Sure. So the main website is Vanessa B health.com. And from there, you can jump on Instagram, Vanessa B health, it’s up in SP health, Instagram Facebook page, and the YouTube channel, Vanessa B Health TV as well. If you want to grab a free download of my belly fat Buster, you can on the website or sign up for the monthly newsletter there.
And there are heaps of free workouts on my YouTube channel, which are all beginner friendly, adrenal friendly and progressive and so forth, as you can imagine from this interview, so, but then specifically there, we have a really great playlist for people going through adrenal fatigue, which is very nurturing, and very nice to get that movement in as we’ve been discussing for you.
Dr. Joel Rosen: Well, that’s great. I mean, it’s great that you’ve gone into that area because it’s much needed. I think there’s a lot of misinformation with the term adrenal fatigue, let alone if you should be exercising and nothing made me more upset than a doctor because I had an exercise physiology background that would tell me if I should or I shouldn’t exercise, let alone if what I should or shouldn’t eat, because they’re not taught nutrition either.
But I think that they have their best intentions in terms of they want you to get better, but not necessarily giving you the best advice, even though their intentions might sound so awesome that you have that resource, and want to thank you for spending the time with me today. I know he got up a little earlier and got the boys taken care of. But thank you so much for sharing with us and I look forward to hearing more about your journey in the future.
Vanessa Bartlett: Thank you so much. It’s been amazing being on here. Thank you and I hope to help everyone out there.
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