From Exhausted to Ironman Acupuncturist
by Dr. Cynthia Clark
It’s 3:40 a.m. I have bleary eyes. I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. I grab a protein drink and morning supplements. I pull on my shoes, do my pre-workout routine and head out on my run. I stumble along an early morning trail, determined to complete my mileage before my company meeting at 8 a.m. I almost make it, call in at 8:00, and slide into the office at 8:07. Thanks to Zoom for making all of this possible.
It’s 7:00 p.m. I’m hungry. All I can think of is pizza and beer. I arrive home after work and a recovery training session where I’m train specific nerves to re-engage, so that my weight is equally distributed on both sides, and my right knee works properly. A friend shows up with a gift delivery of apples, pineapple and melons. After a snack of an apple and gluten-free bread with almond butter, and I’ve applied moisturizers and liniments to all appropriate areas of my body, I’m on my bike. It’s dusk, so I’m trying keep the insects out of my mouth and eyes as I bike off into the night. I am so grateful for Legacy trail which makes night riding safe.
Why on earth would I do this? Is it even healthy? I’m training for a race that is long—a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, then followed by a 26.2 mile marathon. I’ve never run a marathon before and won’t have run one before race day. My triathlon friends tell me to just keep moving—whatever I do, don’t stop.
Sitting down with one of my most respected healer colleagues, she asks me the obvious question: “Why are you doing this? Why put yourself through so much?” She’s not even referring to the sacrifices of time with loved ones. The answer that surfaces is this: “It’s my experience that either adversity pursues us, or we pursue it.” She nods sagely, then responds in her lovely Russian accent, “I get it,” and we move on.
Since my earliest days as a student in clinic, the most difficult cases found me. The chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia were always on my schedule. And somehow, even in those earliest days, I tended to see progress. It was frustrating for me that it was so slow—I wanted results fast. But my clients were often satisfied that were improvements were being made. They were tired of being sick and tired, but until then, couldn’t find what worked.
As I moved through graduate school, I was careful to maintain a nutritious diet. I became a certified personal trainer mainly to keep myself on track. I knew if I had to teach fitness, then I would do it. However, by the end of four intense years of constant study, I was depleted. Then, by the time I moved halfway across the country, sold 90% of my belongings, and started my acupuncture clinic, I was absolutely exhausted.
Even though I was motivated and passionate about what I was doing in life, I also struggled to remain coherent and awake. A one mile run would leave me tired for days, and I would often take two or three catnaps each day. Not to mention, I was newly married and had no sex drive. It was embarrassing and demoralizing. I felt like a hypocrite.
Luckily—and that’s how the best outcomes have always manifested for me, through divine gifts from the Universe—I had enrolled in a training class that would change my life. While I am a constant student, graduating with an additional certification as an Applied Clinical Nutritionist, this class would teach me how to interpret the signals from my body in order to identify what I needed.
Within two days of that class, I started to see a light again, and within two weeks, I felt 80% like my old self. This was my introduction to applied kinesiology and Nutrition Response Testing. I have used this system ever since, both personally and professionally, and I have seen hundreds of lives transform in the process, just like mine.
It’s been a journey. Just four years ago, a friend I knew who competed in ultra marathons encouraged me to stretch myself. I blurted out, “I could never do that. There’s no way I could do this kind of exercise before work. My adrenals are too tired.” But here I am now, testing myself, learning daily, experimenting with various supplements, techniques and diet types to understand how to be the kind of friend to my body that it is to me.
This year, it’s happened during a time of uncertainty—almost every Ironman race in the world has been cancelled in 2020. I was determined to complete my race no matter what: if not on November 7 in Panama City, then I would have done it here in Sarasota. Fortunately, the race is on, and I’m eternally grateful that I have the opportunity to participate in a year when so many have put their dreams and goals on hold.
Optimal health is a journey, and it’s one that can be easy to quit. Why am I doing this? To test my own theories. To test my integrity, to strengthen my grit and character. To become more relentless, so I can be just as relentless in my clients’ health journeys as I am in my own. If you have low energy, pain, fatigue or weakness, my practice can help. As I always point out, “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.”
Dr. Cynthia Clark, Acupuncture Physician, Applied Clinical Nutritionist and President of Longevity Wellness. For 14 years, she has sought out the best teachers in all parts of the globe. As an engineer turned acupuncturist, she passionately pursues what works. She condenses and consolidates and makes that material available to you in simple formats, so you don’t have to travel the globe in order to find the best results. She addresses the whole person: physical, emotional, mental, energetic and spiritual through her private practice and full team at Longevity Wellness. To schedule a time to chat with her, visit CallTheDoctorToday.com.