Three Kinds of People
There are some people who, no matter what the weather is, seem to always be cold. Yet there are those that, even in the depths of winter, are happy to walk around without much on (comparatively).
Then there are the rest; those that adapt quite well to the environment around them.
Which of the three groups would you put yourself in?
I’ve personally worked with people at both ends of the spectrum, perpetually cold and perpetually hot/sweaty.
Both are signs and symptoms of something deeper happening at a hormonal level, but can you guess which is most preferable?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “burnout” before. It’s synonymous with being overtired and stressed.
A mentor of mine, Paul Chek, also has a term for when burnout goes to the next stage “brown-out”.
I believe it’s a farming term that refers to when soil has been depleted of all its available minerals and can no longer sustain growth.
If you had to choose, burnout is better than brown-out.
Well the burnouts are usually the hot ones and the brown-outs are the cold ones.
When you’re in the midst of burnout you are usually still running on adrenaline and cortisol, which is positive in a sense because these hormones are still being produced.
In the brown-out phase, much like the depleted soil, there is a severe restriction in adrenaline and cortisol. The resources are used up!
So how best to help these two different scenarios?
Using cardio, cold water and “work-in” exercise as the three tools is what I may suggest.
Because the brown-out person is cold and running on limited adrenaline and cortisol we need to increase them.
A good way to do this is to use cardiovascular exercise, such as cycling, jogging or swimming. Once you have slowly warmed up begin increasing the intensity to about 70% of your maximum effort.
This would be regarded as reaching the Talk Test – the point at which you would have to break your sentences if you were talking to someone while doing this exercise (say a few words, take a breath, say a few more…)
Stay at that level for 20 minutes. This is long enough to create a cortisol release but not so long as to drain you further.
You have then produced the cortisol that you are low in, balancing the hormonal system.
The second tool “work-in” exercise is the type of movement that creates more energy than it takes to complete the exercise.
An example would be breathing squats – breathing in at the top, slowly lowering for a count of five as you breathe out and then slowly breathing in again for a count of five as you stand back up. Repeating 20 times.
Tai chi, Qi Gong, certain types of yoga and slow walking could all be used as “work-in” exercise. The rule here is that it should NOT raise your cortisol. So if you get hot or sweat it’s too intense.
In fact “work-in” exercise is too intense if you could not do it on a full stomach of food, so VERY easy.
Finally using cold water therapy. The shock of cold water can produce that much needed spike in adrenaline and cortisol.
A good strategy to try in a shower would be starting with warm water then switching to full cold (30 seconds each) and repeating 10 times.
The person running hot/in burnout territory would want to avoid the cardio at the level mentioned above and try doing more of the “work-in’ type exercise.
20-30 minutes of this type of exercise is ideal and doing so daily would lead to optimal results.
For the cold water therapy, using just cold water will help to cool the “internal flames” of the fire that is burning too hot.
Both approaches should balance the person’s body temperature, make them feel better and sleep quality should be improved, whether that’s staying asleep or waking feeling more deeply rested.