Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as too much exercise! Say you wake up at 5:00 a.m., your back is killing you, you've got a headache that's splitting open your skull, and both your kids have come down with the flu. The first thing that comes to mind is Boy, do I need to hit the gym. A healthy amount of motivation and drive is a great thing to have when it comes to losing those last couple pounds. But sometimes we push ourselves way too hard, and the results can be devastating. When our workouts get too frequent or too intense, sometimes we ruin our shot at weight loss.
1. Over-exercising leads to over-working the body. Working out isn't just about stimulating your muscles. Exercise has an impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. When you jump on that treadmill or hit the weights, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol into your system. In small, controlled doses, cortisol is completely normal and healthy, but when you place your body under too much duress, the amount of cortisol released increases quite a bit. Excess cortisol can result in a multitude of problems including, but not limited to, increased fat storage, increased aging, fatigue, anxiety, lowered immunity, heart problems, memory problems, and depression.
>> Read more: Active Rest: What It Means and Why You Need It!
2. Cortisol collects body fat. Flooding the body with cortisol can happen during extremely high intensity workouts when you place too much stress on your body. It can also swamp your system when you force yourself to partake in workouts that you just don't enjoy. Sure, CrossFit might be a great way to torch those calories, but if you're loathing every minute of it, then you are mentally stressing yourself out. That stress also triggers the release of cortisol into the body, which can result in weight retention.
Think about when you get anxious or overtaxed at work. Your brain shuts down, especially that important part of your brain that wants to keep you healthy, and you tend to give into cravings that might not be the best for your waistline. Out come the candy, the chips, and the diet soda. Out goes your weight loss resolutions and your productivity! Those unhealthy decisions often affect your blood sugar levels, which can result in mood swings, fatigue, and even conditions lie hyperglycemia.
3. Your workouts can be too intense. Learning to manage stress is key, in and out of the gym. Keeping those cortisol levels under control is absolutely essential to reaching those weight loss goals! That means that maybe you don't need to run 5+ miles every day before you go pump some iron. That also means that you need to do what you love. No matter how good kickboxing may be for you, if you really don't like it, you need to find something that gets you excited! There's no reason you should risk falling short on your goals when the solution might be as simple as cutting your body some slack. Integrate peaceful and relaxing days into your hectic workout routine. Take the time to check out some local nature preserves, or hit up your local yoga studio! Those final pounds will melt off in no time.