👉 Take the ExorCIST out of ExerCISE.  Are You Over-Training and What Can You Do About It? Like it or not, there is a “Goldilocks Phenomena for Exercise” — just the right amount makes you strong and healthy while TOO much makes you sick and fat. Assuming you were born some time in the last a million years, you know that movement is generally a healthy thing to do. But what you may not know is that OVER-exercising can be even more harmful for you than not exercising and can prevent you from losing weight. Read on for more details……

The top 2 complaints I get in my office (not including the complaint from my staff about my organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, tastes like a styrofoam peanut, office snacks) are about weight gain and fatigue. Do you find it surprising that these symptoms should track together? Well don’t! If you are an over-exorcizer chances are that your energy production is not in good shape and it is starting to weaken your health. While the majority of the country may be operating at an exercise deficit, there is a growing segment of women with the “more is better” attitude who are totally overdoing it.

Who are these over-exorcizers? Well, for starters, you don’t have to be one of those people who take 2 hours worth of gym classes a day, play a round of tennis and then hop on the treadmill for good measure. It’s really all about what’s happening to your body and what’s right for you. You could be overtraining by doing yoga every 3 days if you feel depleted and tired afterward. Or like me, when I reach up to a high shelf for that 3rd donut. (Note to self, don’t be an over-exorcizer, put donut on lower shelf).  Obviously I’m kidding….Who would put donuts on a high shelf to begin with?

Take this quiz to find out if YOU are an Over-Exorcizer

  • Do your bones, joints or limbs hurt? Are you feeling more aches and pains than usual?
  • Are you getting sick more often lately?
  • Are you unable to lose extra pounds despite doing exercise most days of the week?
  • Do you gain weight easily or struggle to stay at a semi-normal weight?
  • Are you having restless sleep or just not sleeping as well as you used to?
  • Do you feel that you are actually getting weaker (losing muscle) with your workouts?
  • Do you feel tired or fatigued after a workout? Or more tired in general?

If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, chances are you are overtraining. Let’s talk about why this is a problem.

What is the key to weight loss?
90% of weight loss is a combination of nutrition (think sugar-insulin balance) and healthy stress hormone levels (think cortisol and adrenaline) and a measly 10% is related to exercise. It’s about having normal stress hormone and insulin levels. Exercise is NOT the key to LOSING weight. (CUE the collective GASP). That’s right. You heard me. It’s not even CLOSE. But it CAN be why you are GAINING weight and feeling washed out.

Why is overtraining making you fat, tired and cranky?
Over-training wrecks your stress hormone balance. It means you have exceeded your body’s ability to recover from the exercise you are doing. Exercise when done in excess (either too hard or for too long) becomes a stressor that overtaxes your system. Your body thinks it is in distress and starts pumping out way too much cortisol to deal with the stress and inflammation of chronic tissue injury. This leads to a breakdown in muscle and a shut down in your metabolism as a way to conserve energy (ie: fat). You may be burning up calories, but your body is slowing down your metabolism at the same time.

What to do if you are an over-exorcizer? 6 steps to healthy exercise   How to Exercise less. It would seem obvious to a 3rd grader what to do next, right? Try telling someone who is desperate to lose 10 pounds that the secret to losing weight is exercising less. It’s blasphemy. You can’t imagine the expression on their faces when I tell them that they need to exercise less. Well, maybe you CAN. Check out your own expression now in the mirror. I’ll wait…..Here are some pointers to exercise less.  And just so you know, I have had patients lose weight and feel healthier by just exercising less and sleeping more.  No kidding.

  • Be red carpet ready! Put on your cutest exercise outfit. Put on your sneakers. Then take them off and get back into you pajamas and have a cup of coffee. Do the NY Times crossword. This is my most favorite thing to do. Especially now that I can google the answers. Only if I’m really and truly stuck or if it’s Wednesday or later.
  • Listen to your body! If you feel fatigued after doing a particular exercise class or routine, then YOU HAVE JUST OVERTRAINED AND ARE NOW SLOWING DOWN YOUR METABOLISM. Do less. Either skip that class, do half of the class, do half the intensity or have a cup of tea. These are all acceptable options. Or get a pet fish. Name it Dory.
  • Swap it out! Swap out an intense cardio, sweat-fest activity with something less aggressive like yoga, pilates, walking outside, maybe a meditation class. Do you feel fatigued after that class? Then you are still doing too much. Just take a break altogether and try something easier the next time. Or do less of the class. Or do it less intensely.  Or how about this.  Visualize it in your mind instead.  Believe it or not, there was a study that showed visualizing an activity for 8 weeks was just as effective at building muscle as the control group that actually DID the exercise.
  • Do NOT train 7 days a week If you are overtraining, then you really need to focus on recovery. Certainly doing HIIT, or long sprints, or massive strength training everyday is bad for you unless you are a professional athlete (and even then you could be overdoing it). Try 2 days on, 1 day off. Try 3 days a week or every other day. Whatever keeps you sane to begin with. Remember, exercise is more than a hobby or a mental therapy.  It can have tremendous impact on your health for good or for eeeeeVILLE.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep–no excuses. Sleep is when your body restores and resets. Women who sleep seven hours or less a night steadily gain weight. Those sleeping eight hours or more, will maintain or more easily lose weight.  There are many studies that confirm the link between sleep deprivation and obesity.  Let your body recover from overtraining by sleeping.
  • Lower stress hormone levels–deep breathe, take a break for yourself by getting a manicure, a 20 minute massage, a foot rub, unplug from social media, take a yoga class, read a book, meditate, grab some tea with a friend who isn’t annoying and depleting, pet your dog, cat or turtle, knit, sing, cook, whatever calms you down.
  • Do less and watch the weight come off — Now, that doesn’t mean do less, eat more.  It means do less, SLEEP more, eat healthy, feel better AND lose weight.

Please share these tips if you liked what you read. Share the Health!!! For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com. Oh look! You are already here !!

Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!