Tell me if one of these situations sound familiar…
- You have goals and you won’t reach them unless you exercise every day or close to every day!
- You are addicted to exercise because it gives you the release from stress that you need!
- You are afraid that if you stop exercising so much, you’ll get fat!
- You are competitive and need to feel fast and strong every day in order to feel like a badass!
In the fitness world, every one of these situations is common. It doesn’t make us weird or abnormal. It makes us humans who want to be our best. But what if I told you that exercise in excess can do more damage than good. Yeah, don’t roll your eyes at me. Just keep reading, keep an open mind and challenge me later if you really want to. But here’s the facts!
Exercise will only produce results if we recover adequately between workouts. The more effectively and quickly we can recover, the sooner we can jump right back in for another workout.
Without a well-balanced recovery protocol, your body will begin its rebelling process. It may manifest with low performance, fatigue, sickness/illness, low energy or simply not feeling awesome.
If this is you, let me give you a fun little tour of what is happening INSIDE your body…
- Inflammation has elevated which can over time cause damage to the body instead of healing it. This phenomenon is linked to autoimmune diseases and responses. That’s scary!
- Connective tissue isn’t healing (ligaments, tendons etc.) This causes all kinds of scary issues with pain in the joints and muscles.
- Your “happy” neurotransmitters decrease, leaving you with that not so joyful feeling.
- Anabolic hormones go down! These are in charge of building your body to become a strong and well-oiled machine.
- Catabolic hormones run extremely high and start breaking your body! This triggers your body to cling on to body fat for dear life.
If this is you, you might identify with the following symptoms:
- You may be taking a ride on the blood sugar roller coaster
- You may struggle with food cravings and inability to control portions or food choices
- Anxiety, depression or the inability to relax
- Trouble falling and/or staying asleep
- Imbalance of sex hormones causing loss of sexual desire and for women, irregular menstrual cycle.
- Trouble with weight loss or gain due to a decreased metabolism (YES! You can lower your metabolism by working out too much.)
In super simple terms…
- The right amount of exercise frequency, the right intensity and good recovery will produce a healthier and stronger body.
- Excessive exercise with too much intensity and too often will produce and fatigued body and eventually shut down or become injured.
Your body WILL tell you when you are failing with rest and recovery. You will get sick, you will get injured and/or you will get exhausted. Think you just got the common cold? Think again. Think you simply did something wrong when lifting weights and pulled something? Think again. You body is trying to tell you something! Slow down and take better care of it.
So why do we over-train?
- Some people believe that if they add more exercise that they will reach their goals faster.
- Some people link their exercise to their own self-worth and give us a sense of control.
- Many don’t know that over-training is even possible! In this case, what you don’t know, CAN and WILL hurt you.
Long story short…. hours on the treadmill DOESN’T work. I take a different approach with my clients because I am more interested in their long-term health, fitness and weight loss goals and performance. Can I get you to your goals with fitness and nutrition? Hell yes! You just have to trust the process and STOP the madness. Give it a rest, already!
So what do you do?
Understand your goals and how to achieve them. If you want to LOOK, FEEL and PERFORM at your best, then it’s time to take your recovery seriously. But first, let’s take a little bit of time to talk about how to balance out your exercise routine. We believe that everyone should incorporate strength/resistance training, active recovery, high-intensity intervals and fun! Yes, in that order.
- Resistance Training: No matter how many hours your work out during the week, it’s most effective to devote 3 of those hours to ONLY strength/resistance training. Slow things down and do JUST strength training to spend the time you need to build a strong body. By the way, warm up correctly for the love of God!
- Active recovery of at least 1 hour and even up to 5 hours (walking, yoga, swimming, gardening etc.) Your goal is not to burn calories during active recovery. Your goal is to move just enough to get new blood circulating throughout your body to repair the damage that has been done from more intense workouts.
- Interval training should be limited to anywhere from 30-45 minutes per week to reduce the stress on your nervous system and allow your catabolic hormones to self-regulate.
- FUN! Yes, have fun! This is when you enjoy time with friends and family doing the things you enjoy, like biking, hiking or maybe even house work.
The most successful clients are always the clients who find ways to move throughout the day instead of devoting crazy amounts of time to super intense workouts. Find ways to relax and enjoy the journey. I hope you have found this article useful. It’s time to “stop and smell the roses” when it comes to your exercise program. If you don’t know how to do that or you need more help, ask us! We know this can be a very challenging topic for people. We get it! But we also know that we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t explain the science behind WHY over-training and under-recovery is so detrimental to your health and body. Now you know! So give it a rest, already!