We know exercise gives many health benefits and also is a great tool to help meet weight loss goals. However, is there such thing as too much exercise? Each person varies greatly on the amount of exercise that they need in order to meet their own performance or weight loss goals and on the flip side, vary from person to person on how much exercise might be too much. Many factors may play a role in what we will call mild overtraining, or feeling the effects of too much exercise. Some factors may be diet (too little calories or not enough of particular nutrients), quality and quantity of sleep, stress level, or the amount of “active rest” and the exact training program someone is following. However, there are some things to look for that may indicate that you are overdoing it.
- You feel tired all the time
- You stop seeing results despite eating healthy and exercising
- You are getting sick more often
- You lack motivation for your workouts
- You always feel hungry/crave carbohydrates
- You have less patience
- Your muscles are always sore
These symptoms, especially in combination, are a warning that your body may need a little extra rest. Make an effort to get extra sleep, take some rest days or limit yourself to light cardio and eat healthy food. If you don’t see an improvement in energy and overall just feeling better within a few days it may be time to discuss your symptoms with your physician.
It’s National Sleep Awareness week – a great time to take a look at your sleep habits and see if there are ways you could or should make some changes. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night to feel rested and keep you functioning mentally and physically in tip top shape. With so many things on our to-do lists it can be a challenge for some to meet those recommendations. However, it is important to try to develop better sleeping habits to not only improve quantity but also the quality of our sleep. The following tips may help to improve your sleep:
- Go to bed and get up about the same time each day
- Follow a bedtime routine to help prepare your body for sleep
- Keep screens and technology out of the bedroom
- Have a “shut off” time for technology at night to give yourself time to wind down before sleeping
- Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark when possible
- Try essential oils, such as Lavender, to help support healthy sleep
The overarching premise of weight loss is the idea that if we balance calories in and calories out we will maintain our weight, whereas if we eat more than we burn we will gain or eat less than we burn then we will lose weight. The first place to start is knowing about how many calories your body needs in order to maintain your weight. You can easily estimate this using a BMR and nutritional needs calculator. Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs each day just to perform basic functions and keep you alive – even if you stayed in bed all day! You nutritional needs include your BMR plus your daily activity. Taking the value of your nutritional needs and decreasing it by a couple hundred calories is a great place to start when aiming for weight loss. So what are you waiting for?!