How Exercise Can Cause You To Gain Weight

Rather listen than read?

Are you exercising too much?

Being in the health and wellness world for over 17 years, I have seen my fair share of exercise advice — push harder, do this new program, slow it down, lift heavier — the advice goes on and on.

Yet, proposing the question of how much is too much is rarely asked or even encouraged. It seems that the fitness industry often speaks to and caters those that are in need of that extra push. That extra encouragement. That little kick you might need to move your body and better your physical health.

But what about those fitness enthusiasts that are regularly pushing themselves? Or, those in love with high intensity competition? What about those who are already living stressful lives and want to incorporate the right kind of exercise?

They are a special breed when it comes to exercise, at least exercising the right way for the best results.

It is common knowledge that exercise is one of the healthiest forms of self-care that we can indulge in. Strength training helps to build muscle and cardiovascular exercise helps to keep your heart healthy. But, if you do too much of either of these, a normally healthy habit can begin to break the body down and, inversely, cause you to be weak and overly stressed. It doesn’t stop there…

If you live a lifestyle that is high in stress, this is going to compound and add to the extra stress placed on your body from regular intense exercise. It doesn’t matter if your stress is related to  work, family, mental health, or emotional turmoil — it all equates to extra stress in the body.

How do you know if the exercise you are doing is placing too much extra stress on your body? It is not always so easy to spot, but there are a few signs that do begin to present. When your body can no longer take the over-exercising, signs of overtraining typically creep in. Overtraining can signal the body to start burning muscle for fuel and store more fat, resulting in some weight gain.

Overtraining shows up as —

  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Muscle loss
  • Increased weakness

Probably not what you are hoping for with your exercise plan!

How Over-Exercising Impacts The Body

Over-exercising places excessive stress on the body. With this onset, your hormone levels begin to change — especially testosterone and cortisol (yes, women have testosterone too!).

Testosterone is important to help build lean muscle, increase bone density, and keep your heart and blood healthy. Having healthy, balanced, levels of testosterone are super important for gaining the results you want in your workouts. When excessive stress is placed on the body, cortisol levels increase and steal from your testosterone, throwing off your healthy hormonal ratios.

With the body’s delicate hormonal balance upset, it begins to signal to the body to burn muscle instead of fat. As a result, you may notice that the lifting of your usual amount of weights, running your usual distances, and performing the same type of exercises may be much more difficult than easy.

If cortisol levels rise too high and stay elevated for too long, the adrenal glands may become imbalanced and cortisol levels drop below normal. This is when weight gain occurs.

Your body has an amazing capacity to adapt, which is what makes your body so resilient.  If you keep demanding too much from your body, without the necessary rest and recovery, it will start to compromise and compensate in an effort to keep functioning.  Your stubborn body fat —especially belly fat — is just one of the ways in which your body compensates when exposed to too many stressors.

What You Can Do

Here is where I want to emphasis the importance of looking at the stress in your everyday life. Not every day will be stress-free — every day shouldn’t be — but it is about the flow of how stress enters, exits, and dances around the moments in your day. When you step back and look at the big picture, this will help guide you in the right kind of and right amount of exercise for you and your lifestyle in this moment of your life.

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), how much stress do I realistically have at work, at home, and in my personal life? List out the stressors if this helps you see the big picture more clearly.
  • How am I feeling right now (i.e., tired, sore, heavy, sad, stressed, light, happy, so-so)?
  • Would pushing harder make me feel better or worse? Would slowing down make me feel better or worse?
  • Can I give my body what it really needs?

You may be quite surprised to find out how much stress you unknowingly deal with on a daily basis. When you can honestly say how much “daily stress” you are experiencing, then you can step back and look at your exercise regimen. If your “daily stress” is high, then it might be counterintuitive to hop on the elliptical trainer for an hour. It is common that people who lead a more stressful lifestyle tend to gravitate towards longer cardio as a way to deal with stress — the inner push is already in their nature. Instead, try yoga or a stretching class to emphasis stress-relieving and add gentle movement that your body is craving.

If this sounds like you and you believe you are over-exercising, here are some places you could begin:

  1. Add in more energy balancing practices. Perform low to moderate amounts of exercise and save some time to do daily stress relieving practices, such as meditation, visualization, deep breathing, and journaling. You could even sign up for a Reiki session or other energy work to help you get realigned. This allows your adrenal gland hormones to begin balancing and it helps to stabilize your blood sugar, both important for properly functioning adrenals.
  2. Stop doing long cardio sessions. If you’re doing long cardio workouts, you’re only adding to the problem.  Long cardio eats away at your lean muscle mass which is essential for increasing your metabolism to burn more calories.  And it dramatically increases your appetite making you more susceptible to unnecessary snacking and over eating. Not to mention that it can create imbalance in your blood sugar, opening you up to more food cravings and inflammation in the body. Instead of long cardio, try doing short, high intensity workouts (i.e., HIIT programs).  These workouts are much more effective at promoting fat burning hormones that target your stubborn fat. It is important to mention that if you are already dealing with more severe over-training symptoms or adrenal issues, high intensity workouts may still be too aggressive for you at this time.
  3. Change the way you lift weights. Lift heavier weights at lower repetitions instead of lower weights for higher repetitions. Lifting heavier weights has been linked to increasing testosterone levels, therefore, helping to keep the hormone balance more, well, balanced. It will also help to increase lean muscle mass and increase your overall metabolism.
  4. Make sure that you are getting adequate rest. Recovery and rest are often more important than exercising.  If you’re feeling sluggish or drained of energy, do an active recovery such as an easy walk, hike, or a leisurely bike ride. If you’re really tired, take the day off! It’s during periods of rest that your body does most of the fat burning, so don’t short change yourself.  Proper rest and recovery means you’re enabling your body to burn more fat.
  5. Feed your body (the right way). The foods we eat can place large amounts of stress on the body. A diet full of sugar, processed carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats can place a significant amount of stress on the body and increase systemic inflammation in the body. Eat a well-balanced nutrition plan of whole foods that contain plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, high quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a few fruits. Plenty of vegetables and colorful fruits are also high in anti-oxidants (which helps to fight the negative effects of stress on the body)! Limit your alcohol and sugar because as the body become stressed, you crave both of these more!

Want more?

Join my Patreon and become part of my garden of wild flowers! Not only will you be part of the exclusive content that I ONLY share with my Patreon members, but you will also be helping a community of holistic health like-minded people push forward!

And, if you are not getting my weekly emails…

Instagram3

 

I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.

Click here to get my Free 10-day body reset detox guide. You will become part of my tribe and get weekly blogs delivered straight to your inbox (along with a free gift and other insider tips that only my tribe will get)!

4 Surprising Things That Drain Your Energy

Rather listen than read?

Sometimes it can feel like the wind has been taken right out of your sails. One moment you are flying high and the next moment, you feel like curling up on the couch with a  pint of Ben and Jerry’s tucked under you arm while you watch your favorite Netflix special. I have been there.

We all are highly participating players at one time or another in our lives. We push ourselves hard, but at the same time, we are pushed back by the impact of those that we interact with. It is a never-ending cycle of energy exchange and stressors placed on our bodies.

When I get stuck in an energy drain,  I am usually left feeling unmotivated, uninspired, exhausted, and like I have been hit by a truck.

 And it comes at the most unexpected times…

As I stood in the driveway, looking him in the eye, I could hear the hate and anger spewing out of his mouth as he complained about the woes of the world and the heaviness in his heart. I could feel the daggers being thrown into my body — one painful hit after another. He ranted and raved about the injustices and his views about politics. All I could do was stand there in silence, taking the blows of his words and feeling the drain of my energy seeping out of my body. I just wanted to escape.

All of this during a family picnic. A time for happiness. A place of laughter.

Yet here I was stuck as his negative energy vomited all over me.

As I planned my escape, all I could think of was…

“Get me to the couch, pronto!”

The energy drain is real and it can seem like every day is a game of “will I” or “won’t I” be exhausted by the end of the day. When you aren’t prepared like I was at that picnic, you can never really know how the day will turn out. There are obvious energy drains like eating unhealthy foods, finding your stress unmanageable, not getting enough sleep, and not exercising enough. But, there are many drains that you don’t even realize exist — and, that you are participating freely in!

Here are 4 things that could be draining your energy and leaving you exhausted:

Energy Drain #1: Nature Blindness

Nature is healing, even for the the non-outdoor lovers. Plants, trees, fresh air, sunshine — all can lift our spirits and calm our senses. But most of us don’t fully engage in nature to get the real benefits. To get the full benefits, you want to engage your senses. If you have a cellphone attached to your ear or you are focused on how much mileage you are tracking, you may want to reconsider how you engage your senses. The color green evokes feelings of calmness, forest dirt microbes are linked to healthy immune systems, inhaled cypress tree compounds reduce stress hormones and blood pressure and birdsong supports brain neuron health.

But it doesn’t stop there! To really achieve full wellness, get your hands and feet dirty — play in the dirt or dig in a garden. This creates a grounding effect, aka Earthing, and has researched health benefits such as neutralizing free radicals, improving sleep, decreasing stress, decreasing pain, boosting immunity, decreasing inflammation, just to name a few.

Go for a hike and listen to the birds. Get out onto a lake and kayak through the calming waters. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine.

Feeling the sunshine against my skin, smelling the fresh breezes, and running my hands over grass or leaves or flowers brings a sense of peace and vitality. It’s an instant mood booster!

Energy Drain #2: Exercise Overload

Too much exercise could be too much of a good thing. It can drain your energy and create an imbalance in your hormones. Especially when it is not the right kind of exercise for you or it is something that you really don’t even enjoy doing. The key is to listen to your body.

When we push ourselves too hard and increase our cortisol levels, a stress hormone, that creates a state of inner body stress. If that inner stress is coupled with other forms of stress that infiltrate our daily lives, then that extra stress from too much exercise can place a deplete on other hormones — causing weight gain, fatigue, and other health issues. Excessive stress can also fatigue your adrenal glands, setting you up for some chronic fatigue issues.

Listen to your body. If your body is feeling overly fatigued, then take a yoga class, participate in some deep stretching, or even take a rest day. Your body knows what it needs.

Energy Drain #3: Negative Friends And Family

This has always been a wrecking ball on my energy, but I never really knew it until I actually KNEW it. Who you surround yourself really does make a difference to your energy levels. The best tip of advice? Seek what restores you. 

According to a study published in the journal Neurology, high levels of negativity is linked to an increased risk of dementia. Negativity increases stress in the body. Increased stress in the body increases body inflammation. And, increased body inflammation increases inflammation on the brain, which is the primary cause of dementia. The people you spend time with at home, at work and in social circles contribute to your emotional and physical health.

It is so easy to get pulled into negativity. It may feel satisfying to a certain respect because it creates a sense of community or like you are building friendships. And we all do it from time to time. But over time, it can lead to patterns of negative thinking and negative mindset. Negative mindsets create a feeling of drain and dissatisfaction — and, it can increase the inflammation in the body, zapping your energy quicker than you realize.

One of the best ways to know if you are stuck in a negative cycle is to go on vacation and see the difference in your body and attitude. Are you suddenly getting good sleep? Do you feel less tension in your body? If so, it’s important to find ways to relax and replenish positive energy!

You can not pick your family. But you can balance a negative day with something positive by listening to your favorite music, going for a walk, engaging in your favorite hobby, or chasing your cat around your house.

Energy Drain #4: Water Shortage

Dehydration is a real problem. Not only is it a problem in the moment, but it creates a slew of health concerns, all leading to energy drain. Drinking enough water is super important, but sometimes that can feel very challenging. That is when it is smart to start choosing high-water-weight foods.

When you feel thirsty, that is a sign that you are dehydrated. Catching it ahead of time can be a critical step for managing your energy levels. Since the human body is composed of about 60-65% water, you need to stay hydrated so that all your organs function properly and your body runs like a smooth machine. When it starts to wear down and get overworked, that can steal more energy from your reserves, create an imbalance in your hormones, and make you feel sluggish and fatigued.

You can determine whether you need to adjust fluid intake by how you feel, where and how you live and how much you are sweating, to name a few. For instance, if you are tired or constipated, drink more fluids or eat foods high in water content, such as watermelon, spinach, tomatoes and broth. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding, as well as athletes and people living in warmer climates and at high altitudes, all need to consume more fluids than the general population. The demands are higher.

How can you tell if you aren’t getting enough? You can tell you aren’t getting enough water if your urine appears dark, you feel dizzy or lightheaded or you aren’t thinking clearly. When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first because you may just be thirsty. Keep a refillable water bottle with you all day. And of course, drink before and after a workout.

The things you do every day to manage your energy levels matter on a greater scale — they matter to your body, mind, emotions and even longevity. These common energy drainers can wear you down, but making a few small tweaks, you can set yourself up for a lifetime of energetic wellness.

Want more?

Join my Patreon and become part of my garden of wild flowers! Not only will you be part of the exclusive content that I ONLY share with my Patreon members, but you will also be helping a community of holistic health like-minded people push forward!

And, if you are not getting my weekly emails…

Instagram3

I love inspiration through story-telling! If you liked this article, then you will love my other blogs.

Click here to get my Free 10-day body reset detox guide. You will become part of my tribe and get weekly blogs delivered straight to your inbox (along with a free gift and other insider tips that only my tribe will get)!

5 Cool Reasons To Exercise In The Cold

Do you ever struggle with pushing yourself to get outside and exercise, especially in the cold weather?

I dragged myself kicking and screaming…

As my sneakers pounded heavily with every step, I pushed myself to get my workout done.

The process of bundling up in every cold-weather garment I owned already exhausted me and the thought of being cold for my 30 minute cardio session was not the most appealing thought. Honestly, I wanted to go right back to snuggling under my warm covers and drinking my morning cup of java. It was cold outside and I felt lazy!

feet-932346_1920

And, I am not alone!

Frosty weather is seemingly the time that most well-devoted fitness enthusiasts admit falling short on their exercise commitment.

Is it the cold weather?

The shorter amount of daylight?

Less than optimal conditions outside keeping you pent up indoors?

Regardless of the reason for the lack of activity, there are some health benefits to training in the cold weather that may just spark that fire within you to help you get past the uncomfortable zone.

cold-2557517_1920

Here are 5 reasons why it is cool to train in the cold —

  1. You burn more calories simply because your body is working harder in an environment it is not used to training in, your metabolism revs up and your body burns more calories and fat to produce energy for your workout. Now who doesn’t like that!
  2. By challenging yourself in the cold weather, you are strengthening your heart, lungs and circulatory system, thereby improving your overall health and improving your endurance performance.
  3. Working out in the winter can help fight SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Being outside and taking in more sun during the daylight hours helps keep your mind sharp and relieves depression. It also increases your body’s manufacturing of vitamin D.
  4. Cold weather can reduce inflammation. There’s a reason putting ice on an injury works. That drop in temperature reduces inflammation in a sprained ankle or sore knee. The theory works on a much grander scale, too — cold temperatures can reduce inflammation and pain all over.
  5. It’s invigorating, exciting and energizing. This is my personal favorite benefit of cold weather exercising. There’s nothing like experiencing the crispness of the outdoors and adding that rosy glow to your cheeks after an intense outdoor winter workout. Plus, there is something surreal about challenging your workout in a totally different way!

After I pushed myself to do just 5 minutes of cardio, I found that my body started to easily adapt and I found that I was gaining a sense of mental renewal and appreciation for pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

I was so proud of myself!

So, how can you get started?

Start with just 5 minutes. Commit to doing 5 minutes and then if you really do not want to be outside, go home. Call it a good workout and hit the indoors to go on with your day.

It is my bet that you will go well beyond 5 minutes. Once you get started and once you start to think about how long it took you to get dressed, I can almost guarantee that you will stick with a longer commitment and get your movement in for the day.

Getting started is the hardest part!

cold-2557515_1920

Getting outdoors creates a sense of wellness unlike exercising indoors, but the cold weather can stop you dead in your tracks — if you let it.

But, if you use cold weather exercising with the intent of all the health benefits that go with it, you may find that you actually look forward to getting outside and breathing in the crisp, refreshing, cool air.


Are you curious about how to set your day up for success? Get my instant download of the “5 Simple Morning Tips To Instantly Create Your Distressed Day” (It’s Free!)

people-2587061_1920

Do you like what you read?

If so, then get yourself over to http://www.tansyrodgers.com . Dive in but make sure that you sign up for my free tribe! That’s how you receive my newsletters to your inbox and get to hear first hand about deals, news, and exciting new events that I only share with my tribe!

You can also ‘Like” me on Facebook and ‘Follow’ me on Instagram to get even more personal and be involved in a community of other like-minded amazing people – just like yourself!