Overtraining

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11. July 2013 by swissfitchick

I mentioned in a few posts lately that my last week was a rough one. Does it happen to you that you feel a little off – without even seeing a specific reason? Well it happened to me last week. Obviously, all was good – but it wasn’t. I felt overwhelmed, sad and ugly.

Foto

Sorry.

What happened? I fled into my workout madness. Not good. Thinking about it, I might have felt that way because I was in the workout madness ALREADY. Maybe, my mood was caused by OVERTRAINING.

Source

Source

Overtraining is something I am struggling with since a long time and it is one of my hardest habits to break. The difficulty here is, that most of the time I don’t even realize that I am overtraining – until I reach a certain point of feeling sluggish, tired, grumpy and in pain (physically). At this point of time I realize, I did too much – again. I sit down and make a serious plan to cut back on exercise and I stick to it religiously. Until I feel better…… and then I start to sneak in additional minutes to my workouts or additional workouts to my days. This is fine, because I am fit and I can do this – for a certain amount of time. What  I forget about it is, that I have a 4 days-a-week-job, 2 apartments, plans with friends, that I cycle everywhere I go (workout!) and I have a relationship. So it’s not that working out is my job. It’s a hobby. Fun. Freetime. Relaxation. Not work.

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I had several burn outs already and still fighting with this issue. At least, I manage to stick to 1-2 restdays a week – I really do that. And it feels fabulous. I even took a restweek off workouts back in April this year and it felt fabulous. I am not sure how it happens that I repeat this habit over and over and get to the point of being burnt out again and again. I should know better. It’s not my intention to overtrain. Never. I am just not aware enough on how intense my sessions are. When I write down my workouts in my calendar, I look at it and think:’ Fine.’. Until I start of, and realize, that with the intensity of my workouts I will not be able to fulfill all that I have planned. And then I feel guilty. Even though there is no reason AT ALL to feel guilty, because I KNOW that my body needs this rest.

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The ‘problem’ is, that I LOVE to workout. I love how strong and vital I feel when I do my workouts, I am addicted to the HIGH I experience post workout and I get so motivated when I see progress. Working out saved me from getting completely lost and helped me so many times to feel better again and not to lose hope. Since I worked as a flight attendant and still travel a lot, I worked out at countless different places all over the world and each one of these experiences were priceless. When I exercise, I feel invincible, fearless and confident. Which means – when fears and anxieties come up or emotions I don’t know how to handle, I do a workout. Because then I feel myself again and I know that I am strong. This is fine, as long as it stays within a balanced range. 1-2 days of too much exercise won’t kill me and won’t give me a burn out. But weeks of overtraining will do so.

brooklyn

There are different ways I cope with fears or the feeling of loss.

One is binging. Not healthy, not a solution.

Second is working out. That’s ok, as long as it doesn’t turn into addiction and overtraining.

Third is ME time in terms of my favorite ‘activities’: Meditation. Photographing. Writing. Reading. Watching Trash TV (yes, sometimes it really helps!). Talking to friends or Mom. Shopping. Travelling. Coloring my nails.

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This is my goal. I want to workout to make me feel GOOD and to reach my goals, but not to fight hard and to get burnt out. I want to rest when rest is needed and I want to face my fears without food or exercise, but with things that are good for my soul.

I did a little research on Wikipedia about overtraining…very interesting.

Like pharmacological drugs, physical exercise may be chemically addictive. One theory is that this addiction is due to natural endorphins and dopamine generated and regulated by the exercise. Whether strictly due to this chemical by-product or not, some people can be said to become addicted to or fixated on psychological/physical effects of physical exercise and fitness. This may lead to overexercise, resulting in the “overtraining” syndrome.

Overtraining may be accompanied by one or more concomitant symptoms:
Persistent muscle soreness
Persistent fatigue
Elevated resting heart rate
Reduced heart rate variability
Increased susceptibility to infections
Increased incidence of injuries
Irritability
Depression
Mental breakdown

Do you have experience with overtraining?

What is your favorite recovery activitiy?

xxx

Lucie

28 thoughts on “Overtraining

  1. I love how you realized that you’re overtraining and are taking steps to take it! Rest is SO important for your body and doing too much in too little time has pretty big negative impacts on your health. When it’s not so hot out, my favorite recovery activity it taking a nice long bath!

  2. Lucie, thank you so much for this open and honest post. I know it can be hard to want to work out more than needed, oh do I ever, but along with working out comes balance.. which you & I have talked about before. I know this topic is dear, yet hard on your heart. I wish i could’ve been there last week to give you the biggest hug in the world & just let you know that you’re okay, and congratulate you for realizing that “hey, I’m overtraining. I need to slow down”. You already know if you ever need anything, anything at all, i’m here.. always!

  3. Katy says:

    Love you blog!! And you totally got me at “I cycle everywhere…” 😉

    I’m addicted to exercise too and I think I use to overtrain a lot but I didn’t see it in my moods– but my body would feel sore and sometimes in pain everyday. These days, I take more rest days and I stretch and foamroll like no tomorrow!!

  4. kimathungryhealthygirl says:

    Hope you’re out of you rut and feeling better! The only time that I had issues with overtraining was when I was training for my marathon and that pretty much just comes with the territory. I do see how exercising could becoming addicting and a person could want more and more. I think the main thing that keeps me from becoming this way is having kids. Due to having to be around for them, it’s really difficult to be working out for anything over an hour. Great informative post, as always, Lucie!

  5. Danielle says:

    Great post Lucie! I truly do believe you will get to a place of finding a balance between working out and overtraining. It is a huge stress relief and source of enjoyment for me too, but the second it stops becoming fun, or I am tired and cranky, I know I need to cut back!

  6. My body has adapted over the yrs to the Royal Pounding I give it each day. So I have to keep pushing harder and harder. I think it forgot what overtraining is lol 😉

  7. Lisa says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the overtraining.
    And I’m glad you’re taking the steps you need to to fix this right now.
    I hope you can start feeling better soon.
    I usually take rest weeks quite often, because I some how end up overtraining quite easily. I never mean to, but it seems to happen without notice since I too, love exercise.
    You’ll definitely be able to find your balance – sometimes it just takes time and practice.

    • Same happens to me, sometimes I don’t even realize that I start overdoing it.
      As you say, it takes time and practise and I am glad I realized that I need to start now!!

  8. I too struggle with overexercising sometimes, Lucie. You’re certainly not the only one! I typically talk it out with those closest to me. I find that expressing my feelings and repetitive workout thoughts helps tremendously, and calms them as well. I too took a week off from training and felt fabulous. Keep staying true to you ❤

  9. you have given me something to think about!

  10. I totally get this — after my forced hiatus from exercise, I started to see that I’d been overtraining a bit too. It’s hard not to, though, when — just like you said — exercise can be addicting. I think you’ve got the right idea in terms of finding other ways to deal with the stresses of life beyond relying on food and exercise (those have been my go-to things as well, so I definitely feel your pain here). 🙂

    My extra coping mechanisms include futzing around on Pinterest (inspirational quotes, good design, and cool DIY projects totally inspire me), reading, watching TEDx talks, writing, and calling up close friends who I know will be able to bolster my mood. All that being said, you’re totally not alone in this boat! 🙂

    • Oh thank you so much for these enouraging words!! It’s nice to feel understood! Pinterest is a great alternative to relax or distracting food and exercise thoughts, great idea, thank you! What exactly is TEDx talks?

  11. I get this way too, I think us exercisebuffs do so, but in all honesty it is SO important to rest, this is when our bodies change and I realized that after awhile. When I feel the need to train I just take a small walk and enjoy nature for a minute, it really helps me 🙂 I love painting my nails, its so relaxing, I wish I was as good as you, my nails always look so trashed since I have no patience and I never wait for them to dry!! Sending you loads of love, LOVE + SHINE CourtStar

    • Walking is GREAT!! It gives me so much relaxation and it’s so good to be out in the nature.
      I was the same with painting my nails, but I learnt to stay patient 😃

  12. […] Worst habit? Currently still overtraining. But I am working on that. And hoarding clothes. I buy something, forget about it, never wear it, […]

  13. I’ve taken rest weeks before and my goodness did my body and mind ever appreciate it. Sometimes we don’t realize we are tired until it’s too late which is why it’s always important to rest whether or not you feel like you need it.

    Have a great and restful weekend 😉 xo

  14. […] Overtraining […]

  15. […] might remember that I suffered from overtraining and overexercising for a long time. I still battle some fears and anxieties when it comes to exercising or better […]

  16. […] I do binge occasionaly. Though when I look at the last six months, I binged maybe 4 times – in 6 months. For me, that’s HUGE. Cause it’s NOTHING compared to how many times I binged in the past. If I binge, I manage to keep it very small – I’m not wolfing down huge amounts of food anymore, it’s more like a ‘junk-attack’, a SLIP – which is different from a binge, at least for me. Emotionally and physically, it’s still rough. Because I eat very clean 80-90% of the time, my body reacts on a good amount of junk food with bloating, cramps, bad sleep and fatigue. Emotionally, I still feel like crab after a slip. I am not beating myself up like I did before and I am not drowning in self-pity or turn into a hopeless, desperate wreck, no. But I feel the FAIL and I get angry about myself. Positive thing about it is, that it lasts for a few hours and then it’s gone. I figure out why it happened, and I forgive myself and start taking care of myself again. Positivity comes back much faster and lifts me up, back to real life, where I am not a failure and where food is good. No purging, no pills, no starving, no overexercising. […]

  17. […] of exercising a lot – for many people I still work out like a mad woman, but compared to what I did before, my workout plan is pretty decent (90 minutes 5 days a week instead of 2,5 hours 6-7 times a week). […]

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