When it comes to exercise and nutrition, some of us obsessed with “more”. More cardio. More calorie restriction. More squats. More gym time. But if you’re not careful, “more” can lead to overtraining, injury, and you can even get sick.
Here’s how you know what’s TOO MUCH– when it comes to exercise.
Training too frequently and intensely — again, without prioritizing recovery — means that stress never subsides.
You don’t get to decide if you need recovery or not…. YOUR BODY DECIDES!!!!
You may experience anyone of these – or even a few…
Blood sugar ups and downs.
Depression, anxiety, and/or racing thoughts.
Trouble sleeping or early wakeups.
Food cravings, maybe even trouble controlling your eating.
Lower metabolism due to decreased thyroid hormone output.
Disrupted sex hormones (which means less mojo overall, and in women, irregular or missing menstrual cycles).
The more extreme your overtraining is, the more you’ll “pay” via illness, injury, or exhaustion. The more severe the payback, the more “time off” you’ll need from exercise.
That’s a bummer. Now your bummed, sad and depressed!!!! Your body has stalled, or worse — gone backwards. Argh.
Some people depend on intense exercise to feel good about themselves.
They might tell themselves it’s “for their health” or “to get the perfect body”
Strenuous exercise releases chemicals that kill pain and make us happy… temporarily.
These chemicals are the same ones our bodies released when it thinks you’re in big trouble and about to die…. Like being chased by a lion… or something.
The job of these chemicals (an evolutionary job) is to help us float away in a happy painless haze as the saber-toothed tiger is eating our arm off. So in a sense, they’re stress-related chemicals.
For some people, these chemicals become a “hit”.
Pushing their bodies to the limit and working hard becomes their drug.
Intense exercise may give you a sense of control over your body and life.
It’s drilled into people’s heads via popular media: If you want control over how your body looks, hit the gym (and then hit it again and again!!!)
Exercise should make us feel, look, perform and live better… not crush us.
Movement should help us function freely… not incapacitate us.
The problem may be that you are not ‘recovering’ properly, or long enough!Your body can actually handle a tremendous amount of work… if you recover properly and fully from that work.
Your stress-recovery and workout should look like rolling hills: For every up (training or life stress) there’s a down (recovery).
For every intense workout, there’s an equally intense focus on activities that help your body repair and rebuild.
This doesn’t mean you need to retreat to your TV and whatever you want to eat, and get massages every day… although that does sound awesome.
Here are some ways to find balance.
An effective physical activity routine incorporates:
- Resistance training
- Active recovery
You can do that!!!
Lets include real-life functional movement, for an ‘active recovery’!
Biking or walking to work
Walking to the grocery store and carrying your groceries home
Washing the car
Giving the walls a fresh coat of paint
Teaching your kids how to fly a kite
Shoveling snow, raking leaves, planting a garden, or mowing the lawn
Do a little self-assessment.
Maybe, skip a workout! If this is hard – to skip a workout and it makes you feel anxious or uneasy, (Doing less can make you feel uneasy.)
Ask yourself these questions…
What am I doing this for? What are my goals, and why do I have them?
How do I feel? Am I constantly in pain, tired but wired, hungry, etc.?
How is what I’m doing working for me? What kind of results am I seeing?
If you’re beating yourself up and not getting anywhere, maybe it’s time to take a different approach.
Trust your body — and listen to it.
Do a mind-body scan: Lie quietly for a few minutes and bring your focus slowly from your feet to your head. Be mindful of your body – What do you feel?
What is your body telling you?? Be aware of what your feeling, and why. Body awareness is important! Remember, if your feeling
achy and creaky
run-down and blah
anxious or depressed
fatigued or annoyingly sleepless…
Change something – take couple days off – go for a hike or long walk.
Make time for recovery – IT won’t happen by accident! Plan it!
Here are some ideas:
Go for a walk, preferably in a natural, outdoor setting.
Put away your phone.
Observe what’s around you.
Meditate. It’s easier than you might think.
Do yoga. Remember: it doesn’t have to be ‘hot yoga’ or ‘power yoga’ to count.
Go for a swim. Finish it off with a relaxing sauna.
Chill out in the park. Lie back on the grass and stare at the clouds.
Get a massage. Give the body a little help de-stressing.
Achieve balance… and most important-