Exercise is one of the best things you can do in your day to help you feel and look your best… I’m a personal trainer, I make people sweat for a living, so of course I believe this. But I also believe that, just like anything in life, you shouldn’t go overboard.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which give you a natural high. Plus the more you exercise, the better you get, the more confident you get and the more you learn to enjoy it.
But then you start noticing great results in your body composition, you live for going to the gym for a good sweat session, all you can think about is your next workout, and suddenly, you’re addicted to exercise.
If you aren’t currently a very active person you might think that I’m crazy, but I would never lie to you (ask my Mom, I literally can’t and never have been able to lie), but people do get addicted to exercise and it can actually be very harmful.
Whenever you start an exercise routine you usually start slow, maybe 2-3 days a week, for about 20 minutes, at an intensity that barely makes you sweat. And you do start to see results, yay! But then you stop seeing results, and get bored with your workouts, so you add in some more exercises and are in the gym for 40 minutes, 60 minutes, and what do you know you start seeing results again! So know you’ve realized, hey the longer my workouts are the better my body feels and the more weight I lose… This leads you to coming to the gym 7 days a week for an hour and a half, leaving barely able to move, but feeling accomplished, because you’re getting close and closer to your goal!
But, as you’ve all heard before, MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.
What happens at this point is your body is unable to recover from your workouts and you’re going back before you have had enough rest so your body just keeps breaking down and breaking down, never having time to repair.
This will lead to a feeling of being over-tired, mentally and physically drained, being sick more often and frustration because you are no longer seeing changes in your body composition or performance.
Now you’re thinking you need to add in even more exercise to keep seeing results!
This pattern will only end in one of three ways:
1. You hurt yourself because you are exercising too much and your body no longer has the energy for it, or you are just mentally not focused, or you are too tired to keep proper form and cause an injury that way.
2. You end up hating exercise again, totally lose your focus and go back to a sedentary lifestyle in which you are yet again unhappy and get further away from your goals.
3. You have read my blog (or have done research elsewhere) and now know that more is not always better when it comes to exercise and you can make changes to your routine so you can start seeing results again and go back to feeling amazing and seeing results from exercise!
So what do you do when you realize you have been over-exercising?
– TAKE A REST DAY!!
Not only should you take a rest day, but you should enjoy it. Maybe you decide to treat yourself to a massage, or sleep in and have a lazy Sunday morning, or go for a nice walk and enjoy nature.
– Change up your program
Start focusing on quantity of your workouts, not quality.
Chances are, if you are in the gym for over an hour and a half you are not working at a very high intensity. And if your intensity isn’t very high then you aren’t really challenging your body, which is one of the causes of not seeing physical changes in the way your body performs and looks.
So focus more on doing a fewer amount of more functional exercises in which you give it your all, than doing every single exercise you can think of with less intensity.
– Remember why you are doing it in the first place
Don’t focus so much on just losing weight and looking “toned” or “jacked”
Remind yourself of the feeling you get when you hit a new personal record in the gym, or the feeling of having more energy running up the stairs, or the feeling of waking up without back pain.
listen to your body
work hard in the gym, but refuel and rest well outside of the gym