Are You Running Yourself Into The Ground (literally)?

I’m curious, are you running yourself into the ground by pushing yourself to work out harder and for longer amounts of time?  

I’ll be the first to admit that I totally found myself doing this recently, and it wasn’t the first time.  I completely got caught up in my old mindset about having to work out harder to get results.

Doh {face palm} !!!

I was beating myself up about not being able to lose weight like I should.  I used the guilt to fuel my motivation to work out harder, more intensely and for longer periods of time.  I tried changing up my workout, lifting heavier and running longer.

As a result, what I got was…more fatigue, burnt out and I didn’t lose a pound.  

I had what I call a mini-relapse.  I eventually snapped out of it and realized I was doing my body more damage than good.

I see people running themselves into the ground like this all the time, making themselves fat, sick and tired (especially people who do CrossFit or  running) and not even realizing that exercise is one of the contributing factors.

Typically exercise is good for us.  When we work out, our body responds to the demands building stronger muscles and bones.

BUUUTTT, exercise could be making you fat, sick and tired.

This probably sounds crazy and backwards to you, but it’s the truth.  When your body is already under a lot of stress then the wrong kind of exercise can add more stress.  Accumulation of chronic stress over time creates a high demand for cortisol, which is directly linked to weight gain (particularly around the midsection).

In this week’s video and blog I talk more about exercise as a stress, how it was affecting my body, and what type of exercise is best to keep cortisol and other hormones in balance.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  This is exactly what I was doing during my mini-relapse.  I had to take a step back, look at the big picture of what was going on with me and remind myself that my body needs rest.

You see, my body was already under a lot of stress from detoxing the toxic mold I had found in our house, and my body was giving me all kinds of signs…

Feeling tired even after a full night’s rest
Acne for the first time in my life
Weight that wouldn’t budge
Abnormal lack of motivation and drive
Feeling emotional and anxious

I tested my hormones and, sure enough, they weren’t happy.  My Human Growth Hormone (HGH) was in the tank, my progesterone was low, and estrogen was relatively high.  Coincidentally, the mold in our house is a species that specifically impacts HGH in women.

Ultimately, my body needed rest, not more exercise, in order to lose weight.

By pushing myself to work out harder, I was creating more strain and imbalance in my hormones.  Like I said earlier, exercise is good unless your body is already under too much stress.

To eliminate the added stress from exercise, I altered my workouts to be more interval focused.  I’m now running a block then walking a block (instead of continuously running) and only doing one long run a week for a max of 4 miles.  I’m giving myself at least 60 seconds of rest between weight circuits and lifting for a max of 30 minutes.

I have SO much more energy, stamina and feel like myself again!

More and more studies are showing how detrimental long duration exercise or overtraining is for the body.  Spending hours at the gym isn’t necessary.

Not to knock CrossFit, but I see this all the time in this community and with runners- pushing to their limits and wondering why they aren’t losing weight or why they feel fatigued all the time even though they are the “healthiest” person they know.

Stress can be everywhere.  On the inside there is digestive upset, food sensitivities and toxic overload creating internal stress that can’t always be seen or felt. On the outside there is work and relationship stress, exposure to environmental chemicals and long duration exercise or overtraining.

As a Health Boss, you learn to recognize when your body is under too much stress and you have the power to control how you feel by becoming mindful of the variables and making adjustments as needed.

I had to (and still occasionally do) give myself permission to relax and let my body heal.  It isn’t something that will happen overnight.  If I’m as persistent about giving it space and time to heal as I was about working out, then the results will come when balance is restored.

If you’re finding yourself feeling fat, sick and tired all the time regardless of how “healthy” you are, then you might want to consider laying off the exercise a bit or changing it up.  Focus on interval training for shorter bursts of time and incorporating restorative modalities such as yoga, pilates and tai chi.  Your body and hormones will thank you for it!

P.S. Need help evaluating your stress load and workout routine?  Schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session here so I can help you look at the big picture and find the missing piece so you can get back to feeling like yourself again.

P.P.S. If you want to read more about the science of using exercise to balance hormones, then you should check out these articles from one of my favorite mentors, Dr. Sara Gottfried.

Boosting HGH with Exercise

Benefits of Burst or HIIT Training

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