The doctors described my life last year as a perfect storm for chronic fatigue and Epstein Barr to take over my life for a few months.

The challenges of rebuilding my body after injury’s, training and stresses of competing again, coinciding with the strains of divorce and moving house had left in its wake the perfect conditions for me to succumb to such ailments.

In the midst of it all, I began to realise some of the risks my lifestyle posed to my athletic career.

Witnessing other fellow athletes battle for years with similar circumstances, this timeout allowed me to truly reflect. I started to refocus my ways of living that would ultimately restore my body, mind and soul.

For athletes, the conditions of our health are never truly spoken about. This is the case primarily due to our competitors discovering our weaknesses; but these health hurdles are something all of us athletes have in common.

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Through my experiences, I discovered that activities like Yoga And guided meditation, nutrition, the power of plant extracts and the open mindfulness of life changes.

The blood tests and doctor confirmation at the time did not define me and it was an act of will to see the good in the bad situation and become an even stronger competitor and healthier person for long term health.

For all my professional career I fell into the habit of over training and over working myself.

The pressures of competing again after 2 and half years off with injuries and chasing time to qualify for the Australian Olympic team again for Tokyo 2020 lead me to push my body beyond its limits with the other personal life hurdles.

I never really put a lot of focus on my recovery; this was always an area of weakness for me.

I began to notice a concerning change in my body and my overall fitness level. I ignored these early dizzy warning signs. I remember one day on the tracks; I began to feel ill and eventually I had vomited after a relatively simple training session.

Every night, I would sleep for at least 13 hours and could not go a day without napping for at least two to three hours.

I had I no idea why things were not right and progressively getting worse, I just knew I was not feeling like my normal self, so I continued on my regular routines. That is when more warning signs began to occur.

I noticed that I would get pain in areas that I had previously injured, vertigo dizzy spells, brain fog and blurry vision especially of an evening. I I had a lot of inflammation that eventually lead me to gain some weight.

I was left confused as I already had a strict and healthy diet and Was training hard, so it was unclear as to why I was gaining this extra weight.

The realisation hit me that I was a shell of my original self, I was fatigued and wanted to stay in bed and I began to worry about my health.

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I turned to my fellow athlete friends and explained to them my current situation and what was happening with my body. They immediately advised me to get blood tests and to check for virus, white cell and immunity markers.

I followed their advice and did some tests and by the end of 2019, It was confirmed I had chronic fatigue and a flair up of Epstein Barr virus with an extremely low white blood cell count.

At this point, I had been bed ridden for nine days and that is when I began to seriously doubt whether or not I would be healthy enough to compete on the global stage with a huge travel schedule ahead and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in sight.

In a melt down scared state, I pulled out of the Olympic test event and the Red Bull pump track world championship in October 2019.

If you had told me that Olympic Games were going to be postponed due to a pandemic, I never would have believed you. I was well into my third month of recovering, my white blood cell count was rising my good bacteria was rising and general heath and energy was rising.

Starting to feel like myself again and the ability to handle higher training load, focus and mental clarity.

The world was facing an even bigger hurdle, the Corona Virus was another obstacle. But also a blessing in disguise and a larger time window to continue building my strength, but not over do it.

I was living in America at the time as I was training there for the World Cup Tour and final Olympic selection races. To my knowledge, I knew that the American health care system was not as good as the one in Australia.

I thought it would be safer for me to fly back to Canberra and stay there for my quarantine training block till the world opened back up.

And ensure I had laid a stronger foundation of health and Strength and conditioning ready to compete to the best of my abilities.

The first step of my recovery process was re-evaluating my diet. I did a lot of research on plant-based specific diets and began to incorporate them more into my daily routine. I also turned to “the medical medium” and his multiple audio books as a guide as well as him personally giving me advice on the power of plants, what to eat and what to avoid to heal.

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Supplements such as lemon balm, Monolourin, milk thistle, elderberry and many other natural extracts that are potent in nutrients.

Because my diet was already so nutrient dense my goal was to slightly increase it to help my liver and flush the virus out of my system. The goal was to further increase the good bacteria and decrease the bad. A major change in my diet that Anthony William had recommended was to cut out eggs.

Through further research, I discovered that the hormones in the eggs actually helped feed a virus.

I already had a gluten free and dairy free lifestyle since the London 2012 Olympics so I just became lightly stricter to assist healing.

I began to also record my resting heart rate and my heart rate during training sessions to keep track of the differences. However, I had never done this before and was now able to notice some patterns through my training over a matter of days.

I also optimised my sleep schedule in order to get all the rest I need and to return to a more regular sleeping schedule that complimented my training routines.

There is irony in the fact that I was challenged by two viruses, albeit one much larger than the other, to return to a state of health in which I could train and compete once more. One can find humour in the way the world has a way of running circles around you.

The struggles I faced have taught me many things, not least of which is that through a deeper appreciation for not burning the candle at both ends and a daily focus to boost your immune system and heal, I was able to restore the energy I have for my career and my life!