Have you got an obsession with exercise?

Exercising has become an obsession. Group fitness classes are all the rage. Posting on social media afterwards to share with the world that you in fact worked out is a requirement; if you didn’t post it on Instagram, did it really happen? But, have we ever stopped to reflect on what we are actually doing to our bodies? I worry that this obsession with workouts is going to affect people in the long run but the adrenaline and short-term positive results and feelings are overpowering the damage that is taking place.

Working out 7 days a week is too much. Our bodies do need some rest. Working out multiple times a day is completely unnecessary. Unless you are a high performance athlete who is heavily monitored by professionals, the two or three a day workouts have got to go! My theory is always that if you are training smart, efficiently, and effectively, you should not have to reach for another workout.

To be clear, I am not talking to the “I am going to New York for the weekend and want to fit in 4-5 new workout studios before I go home” people. I am talking to those who are consistently participating in multiple workouts per day and week and struggle to find balance and days for rest.

DY Blog Post April 4th 2019

Exercise has so many more benefits beyond the physical and I do know that some people have referred to movement as their therapy, because it helps with stress relief, mental clarity, and emotional well-being. The issue I see arising though is that if we become obsessed with exercise to help us manage and deal with all of life’s other curveballs, are we doing the best for our bodies and minds, or are we neglecting the bigger issues? Why are we feeling so emotionally drained that we will add to the depletion by burning out our bodies day in and day out? What can we do outside of the workouts we participate in to manage stress levels while still allowing our bodies adequate rest time?

Forget the FOMO (fear of missing out). I strongly believe this has something to do with it. In our overly connected world we feel the need to share everything. There are a lot of amazing trainers, classes, and studios to experience and talk about but we all end up chasing that FOMO to be there. You don’t want to see your friend’s post about a killer workout if you missed it right? Wrong. Forget about what others are doing and make the best decision for you. 

Plan and prioritize. What are your personal fitness and health goals? Design your workouts for the week around that. We can’t be at all places at all times so know what will fill your cup physically and emotionally and make it a priority to show up to those workouts. When we recognize what it is we truly want we can better plan a smart week of training.

Do what you love. Rather than chasing the workouts we feel we should be enjoying, find what you actually enjoy and what feels good in your body. It might not be the most popular workout but you know that it will benefit you physically and emotionally to do something you love. 

Find other fulfilling activities. Are there other activities you can participate in that are not physical but still fulfill your needs? Maybe it is reading a book or hanging out with friends to take your mind off something stressful. Understand why you choose to go back to exercise (sometimes extremely) and identify what else you can do to help manage your emotions and life’s stressors without burning out your body. Movement can be wonderful thing, but too much of anything is not good for us.

Let yourself rest. Plan for rest days. I personally try to have one day off where I do not exercise for myself or teach a class. I really only train roughly 3 times per week myself because I know that my body will function best at that right now. If we are constantly breaking down our bodies without any rest or recovery factored in, we aren’t allowing our bodies to repair to help us come back stronger for our next workout. 

Movement is a long term game. We want to aspire to be movers for life. There is no badge of honour for getting in multiple workouts in a day, only a burnout that can have negative effects in the long run. Be mindful and take care of your body. It is the only place you have got to live.

Yours in self-discovery,