You’ve got a workout routine, you’re eating well but you aren’t getting any results. You aren’t feeling an increase in your energy like everyone said and you’re feeling pretty exhausted wondering how anyone keeps this up?!
Sound like you? It’s easy to get wrapped up in the thought of “I must not be doing enough” but that mentality can actually be counterproductive when it comes to your health. All or nothing thinking is a cognitive distortion that causes you to think in black and white categories with no consideration for a grey area (aka balance).
For example, you’re in a workout routine and eating well and feel you need to keep it up 6 days a week leaving one rest day from diet and exercise (aka cheat day) and then after the cheat day you’ve indulged and now you’re feeling guilt and feel like ‘what’s the point, I’ve already ruined my progress’ so you don’t workout the next day and continue to indulge. Your brain is working in all or nothing. If you’re working out and doing well you have to keep that up all the time or you’ve “failed” so then you completely give up instead of creating a sustainable routine that makes sense for you.
Working out is a great way to improve your mental and physical health but like everything it can be overdone and many people don’t know when they’re overdoing it. So, let’s look into the symptoms you might experience if you’re going too hard or too frequently to the gym.
How to tell if you’re working out too much:
+ You’re workouts are no longer giving you energy
+ Having mood swings or more frequent irritability
+ Feeling anxious
+ Getting injured
+ Unable to perform at the same level
+ Trouble sleeping
+ Skipping commitments to work out
How it impacts your gut:
Exercise is very beneficial for your gut health but, like I said, not when it’s overdone. When you workout too frequently you can cause an increase of stress in our bodies and we all know we don’t need more of that in our lives. When your body becomes stressed it’s harder for it to function properly i.e. poor digestion, poor sleep, controlling emotions etc. which are all areas that benefit from good gut health. An increase in stress can actually weaken your gut lining which can cause bacteria to enter the body. No thanks! This causes a lack of nutrient absorption and lowers your immune system. Read more about that in this blog post.
We can also become dependent on the feeling the endorphins (chemical associated with positive mood) give us after a good workout. This can cause you to excessively workout, which puts your body in a fight-or-flight mode which again causes issues with digestion and when there’s issues with digestion you will quickly have issues with anxiety and depression because the majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates mood) resides in the gut! More on that in this blog post.
You see the links? Our bodies are already put under more stress than they’re used to just from daily work tasks, politics, news, you name it. We don’t need to be adding on anymore stress by going too hard at the gym. Okay?
This is why rest days are so important. You need roughly 48 hours for your muscles to recover fully. Sometimes it feels hard to take these days because you think you won’t get back into your routine again, I’ve been there myself. Creating a schedule has always helped (at least in the beginning!). Plan to only workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or whatever days work best for you. Feel free to swap days and do an intuitive workout, if you don’t feel like running that day you don’t have to give up entirely, go for a walk instead or another low impact workout - more on that in a minute. Practice giving up the all or nothing mentality.
If you’re struggling with sleep, rest days will help lower your body's heart rate which will help you to sleep better i.e. it stops your body from being on high alert after a workout so taking a day or two to recover is essential for good sleep.
What you can do:
Low impact workouts are a great way to workout without overdoing it and they’re great for your off-days or days you’re just not feeling a heavy hitter workout. Low impact workouts still provide great results and are easy on the joints and bones. Here’s a list of some fun low-impact workouts:
-using resistance bands instead of dumbbells
These are all fun simple ways to enjoy your workouts without really feeling like you’re working out or risking additional stress. If you’re just starting a workout routine these are great ways to get going. They won’t cause immense stress on your body which in turn will support a healthy gut and you’ll have fun doing them! If you’re a workout junkie already, try swapping one of your intense workouts for a more laid back low impact workout and enjoy a rest day - you deserve it. Your mind and gut will thank you!
If you’re curious to find out more ways to support your gut health be sure to download this *free* Ultimate Guide! Your gut health is directly linked to your mental health, taking care of it will help make dealing with stress, anxiety and depression that much easier!
Wondering if you even have gut health issues?! Take this free quiz!
Want to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey! My names Ashleen.