I have made the mistake, time and time again, of adding in way too much exercise way too fast.
For example, I start running again after months or years off. A week later, I’m running a 10k everyday.
Or, I get back on my road bike after 3 years off, and suddenly, I’m riding 50 miles a day everyday.
This is not sustainable, because my fitness and my physiology simply aren’t ready to accommodate that large of an increase in training so quickly.
My hormones get all screwed up, my period goes away, my cortisol goes through the roof, I can’t lose weight or I gain weight, I crave everything, and my sleep sucks.
What’s really really really unsustainable and messed up is the mindset driving that sort of overexercise.
When I am compelled to overexercise, it is because I am trying to justify what I eat.
That’s right: I’m exercising to eat.
I am dealing with thoughts and feelings of guilt and shame about what I am eating by exercising more than my body can take.
Maybe, I’m overeating and trying to justify it.
Maybe, I’m eating a normal amount, and I feel like it’s too much.
Either way, it’s not healthy. I set myself up for speedy burn out.
I finished a cycle of this a couple months ago, and have found something that is working really well.
Listen to my body, and view exercise and fitness as a process.
We all get feedback from our bodies, and it’s up to us to adjust accordingly.
I took a break from exercise for a couple days, and re-assessed what is realistic for me to do.
For example, I decided that I could commit to doing an hour of HIIT everyday, and I’d skip my cardio (long runs and cycling).
I tried that for a while, and felt out of balance.
Then, I decreased my HIIT to 15-20 minutes a day, and added some cardio back in.
Then, I realized what I really wanted and needed was more yoga.
Now, I do 15 minutes of HIIT every morning, and practice hot yoga every afternoon. I am enjoying a total dissolution of my mental and physical tension and sky-high energy levels!
What works a lot better than the full-throttle “train until you wear yourself out” method (that always fails) is to add additional exercise time and/or types, as dictated by your body.
You’ll know what to do.
Some types of exercise will interest you, and others will not.
Go explore. Try different things.
Don’t overdo it!
Taking a rest day doesn’t mean you are weak.
And, remember your limit may be different than mine.
What is too much for me may be just right for you. Or vice versa.
Now, I view exercise in a totally different way:
Rather than exercising to eat…I exercise because I enjoy it, and because I have so much energy from eating a low fat raw vegan diet.
My body speaks clearly. I simply have to listen.
After hours on the computer, I won’t be able to think straight.
Then, I know it’s time to go for a walk or run, clear my head, and open my awareness out into the world. I take a break from the infinite fractal universe that is the internet.
Maybe after three days in a row of running, my calves and shins hurt. Now, it’s time for a recovery day. I’ll do more yoga instead.
And, it’s healthy!
I’ve never had this before…
It’s so freaking exciting I had to share it!
Let me know in the comments about your experience with overexercising, or finding balance with exercise.
Are you serious about improving your health?
Do you want ongoing support in achieving your health goals?