Holly Brooks is an American cross-country skier from Seattle, Washington. She competed for Whitman College (2001-04) and has four victories in lesser events up to 10km (2009). She was a late qualifier for the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 World Cup in Canmore. After retiring from skiing, she became a licensed professional counselor in Anchorage, specializing in working with athletes.
It is important to seek a diagnosis and treatment from a qualified mental health professional if you think you are bipolar. There are great medications that can help stabilize your mood and it is important to get lined up with a good provider. Transcript: "OK, good question. What should I do if I think I'm bipolar? A couple of things. First of all, I know that we all have lots of insight sometimes into some of our behaviors and our mannerisms. But it's also really important that we aren't diagnosing ourselves. So you can have a guess or a hypothesis, but what I think you should do is actually really go schedule an appointment with a qualified mental health professional or someone who can truly diagnose. And then come up with a treatment plan. And I will say that there are some amazing medications for bipolar disorder that can really help stabilize your mood. And then just getting lined up with a good mental health professional. So I guess that's my answer. We all have insights and hypotheses and also family history of mental health issues and also physical health issues. But it's really important to seek a diagnosis and treatment from a qualified provider. So that is my insight."
REDS stands for Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, and it is a chronic mismatch between energy intake and expenditure. It can have serious repercussions, including injury, GI issues, depression, and decreased strength. Fortunately, it is treatable. Transcript: "This is a great question. What is REDS? So REDS stands for Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport. And it is exactly what it sounds like. It is essentially a chronic mismatch between the energy that you're taking in, the food that you're eating, and your expenditure, which is what you need for your resting metabolic rate plus the workouts that you're doing. So sometimes, this happens intentionally, meaning it can overlap with an eating disorder. But it can absolutely be unintentional as well. And there are lots of pretty serious symptoms and repercussions for REDS. And so it's people getting sick a lot. It's people getting injured a lot, a lot of bone stress injuries. It's menstrual irregularity in women or people assigned female at birth. There are actually-- it's some erectile dysfunction in people assigned male at birth. It's GI issues. It's decreased strength and ability to adapt to your training and, also, depression. And so REDS is serious. It is actually very prevalent in the athletic community. There was actually a narrative review that says that up to 58% of athletes may be underfueling. So this is a big issue, and I'm happy to answer as many questions as you want about REDS. The good news is that it is treatable and it is something that you can overcome. So please hit me up with as many questions about REDS as possible."
REDS is a chronic mismatch between what you take in and expend. It can cause people to get sick often, have chronic injuries, lose their period, have GI issues, decreased ability to adapt to training, fatigue, irritability and a dull affect. It is treatable, so please get checked out if this sounds like you. Transcript: "OK. So let's talk about some of the signs and symptoms of REDS. Which, again, is relative energy deficiency in sport. The chronic mismatch between what you're taking in versus what you're expending. So it's people who get sick a lot, right. So it could be the flu, or a cold, or whatever. But, essentially, your body is extremely fragile, right. It's people who have chronic injuries, right. So maybe you're always pulling muscles. But most notably, it is bone stress injuries. So stress fracture, especially, to the lower extremities. Which have become really fragile. In people who are female identifying, you might lose your period. But not always. If you're taking an over-the-counter pill, that will, actually, be a withdrawal bleed. So it's kind of a fake period or a synthetic period, if you will. It's a lot of indigestion. And so some people who suffer from REDS, frankly, eat too many vegetables. Vegetables are good. The general population needs to eat vegetables. Athletes, we really need our carbohydrates, right. And so if you're having a lot of GI issues, it's not always an intolerance, right. It might actually be what you're eating. And also what you're not eating, right. So it's the decreased ability to adapt to your training, right. It's being fatigued all the time. It's being irritable. It's not being able to experience the joy that you once had in your sport and with your teammates. So some people just have this very dull affect, right. So if this sounds like you, please get checked out. You can also go to red-s.com, for more information. And good luck. Please ask me as many questions about this as possible. It is treatable."
In order to address your emotions or mental health, it is important to know what you are feeling. One way to start this process is to use a tool like rocks to help name the emotions you are experiencing. This can be a great starting point to have meaningful conversations about how you are feeling. Transcript: "So this is a great question. And as a licensed mental health provider, I talk about emotions a lot. And I have this saying-- it's name it to tame it. And it's this idea that, how are you even supposed to address your emotions or your mental health if you don't know what you're experiencing or what you're feeling? So I'm going to show you something that is in my office that I actually use to jump-start and kick off sessions. So these right here are my rocks. And my clients know this. They'll sit down on my couch. And they will pick up and choose some of the rocks that resonate with how they are feeling. And this is a great jumping-off point to have wonderful conversations. And so you don't have to have the rocks to do this, but actually try to name some of your emotions. And it can provide a great jumping-off point to address the emotions that you're experiencing. So I hope this helps."
In order to handle the pain during races, it is important to reframe the pain and talk about how it is safe and temporary. We should also get used to the feeling of pain through intervals and practice. This will help us to overcome our fear and tap into our full capacity. Transcript: "Okay, so this is a really good question. How do you handle being in so much pain during races and you know someone who works on the mental side of performance, I talk to people about this a lot and I have what I call the governor Theory and if you don't know what a governor is on a car you know the speedometer often will say the car can go 130 miles per hour but you know if you really tap out your car and the gas pedal it won't go over 90. And there is some form of the car in that instance, wanting to protect itself. Well, I believe that our brains have the same thing and if we are fearing the pain, we have either a conscious or subconscious kind of fear about the pain and our body is actually going to shut us down when really, we could go a lot faster. So I think it's really important to kind of Reframe that pain and talk about how it's safe pain about how its temporary pain because all of a sudden if we're not scared of it then you know our body will let us go there and I think a lot of us are a lot faster than we think. So if we can get over this hurdle of being afraid of the pain and know that it's the feeling we're supposed to have, and that it's okay. And that it means we're working. Hard, right? And this is what we achieve through intervals and practice and racing. We get used to that feeling. So there isn't so much fear around it. Because if there's fear, whether it's conscious or subconscious, I think our bodies and our brains will shut us down when really, we haven't even come close to tapping our capacity. So I hope that helps and thanks for the question."
Cross-country skiers usually carry around heavy backpacks, but for those traveling often, a rolling suitcase can help to save energy and make the experience more enjoyable. Transcript: "Okay, Michael good question. So I have to say cross-country skiers are notorious for having those huge backpacks where they carry where we carry all the things. And I have to say that those are really heavy and really tiring to carry around. So it depends where you're traveling. But if you are in and out of lots of airports, you know, and I can say this from experience just being on the world. Cup for many years and being on the road for five months. My kind of hack was actually a rolling suitcase and all the bags have to have wheels like ski bags, the big duffels, but even your carry-on and that really saved a lot of physical energy, but even just the emotional energy of having to carry your stuff. So that's one thing that I would recommend curious to hear what other people have to say. To hope that helps."