Excessive Exercise: An Exercise in Futility

13 Feb

Excessive exercise is an exercise in futility.

I have been a victim of exercising way too much in order to achieve weight loss. The hard lesson I learned is that anything good for you can be bad when you do it too much. You don’t have to go to such extreme lengths to look a certain way. This has a long term negative effect on your body. Before you burn yourself out, let’s take a moment of rest.

Think of your body as a machine. When you feed it well and provide it with the right fuel, it can take you far. If you’re constantly using up all the fuel and not putting it back in to the system, you’re headed for a break down. There’s a difference between being active and being obsessed. Being active means you enjoy movement and fuel that movement with proper eating habits. You are fueling the system in order to enjoy what you do. Obsession with exercise becomes a problem when your body literally hits an energy crisis and will no longer perform.

You cannot expect to exert so much energy without paying the price. It’s not worth hitting the proverbial “wall”. It’s not fun. Not only that, your body fights back with a vengeance in order restore harmony. If you are exercising excessively and not feeding your body properly, you will pay the price. You’ll suffer from fatigue, mood swings and in extreme cases your period stops.

You are not meant to work that hard all the time! Unless you are pro athlete with an impeccable diet. Your body needs movement, rest, food and adequate hydration in order to function in top form. The biggest mistake I see is decreasing calories beyond what you should be eating. You cannot function on 1000 calories or less. If you exercise on top of that, you’ll have no energy to fuel a work out.

Your body uses energy for basic functions. Chewing, swallowing, and processing food requires energy. Respiration uses energy. Anything you do on a daily basis that keep the system operating requires energy.

Your body develops strength at rest.

The stress of exercise causes muscle to break. Like a rip in your shirt, your body has to sew the muscle back together. This makes the muscle stronger and tighter. You cannot accomplish this if you’re constantly pushing too hard and not resting sufficiently. Your body needs time to repair the muscle. Another common mistake I see is people pushing too hard all the time and not resting as hard. 

Exercise is not meant to be abused. If you find that you’re becoming obsessed with exercise, then you need to stop. If it’s consuming all your time and energy, it’s not worth it. Take time to educate yourself about the benefits of proper program design. A proper exercise program is designed to effectively build strength. It is also used to set reasonable goals.

The last thing I want you to do is spend your entire life in the gym. As a trainer I can tell you, proper doses of exercise have long term benefits. Too much of a good thing is a great way to burn yourself out. It’s counterproductive to building strength and losing weight.

Here’s to your health!