When it comes to exercise, when is enough ENOUGH? Or put another way – How much exercise is TOO much? How much ‘should’ we do in a day? In a week?
One of my kettlebell clients asked me this a few weeks ago and I really wanted to write a blog about it, but then hesitated because there are SO many caveats to this question. IT DEPENDS…as always! What are your goals? Are you an athlete? Are you competing in something? How much experience do you have? What TYPE of exercise? Etc etc etc.
But she was asking from the perspective of a female wanting to feel good in her body, gain confidence, be fit, and perhaps to achieve the ‘ideal body type’ we all strive for as women.
So I’m going to answer this question from that perspective, from the woman who forever is in pursuit of the “thin ideal”. From the woman who wants to feel like she’s ENOUGH. Because let’s face it, that’s 99% of women. You can say that you’re happy with your body, and that may be true to some degree, but peel back those layers, and I guarantee you’ll find a dieting mindset in there.
Ask any women at the gym why they come, and if they’re HONEST, it’s weight loss. Why do we run, spin, step, swim, stretch, and lift weights? Yes, it may be because we truly enjoy it, but the majority of the time, no matter how much you love it, the focus is STILL weight loss or manipulating the shape of our body in some way.
So before I really answer this question. Let’s dive into the mindset stuff a bit.
This question wouldn’t even BE a question if you were 100% in tune and in acceptance of your current body weight/shape. So the real issue here is how you feel about yourself. Do you struggle with body image issues? Most of us do! How can we not in a culture that values thinness?! A good place to start is to become aware of all the negative things you say to yourself throughout the day. Journaling or talking this out with someone can be really helpful. Every time you have a negative thought, just notice it. Maybe looking in the mirror after a shower triggers you to feel bad. See if you can cut those thoughts off as soon as you feel them come up. Turn your negative thought into a positive one, or simply a neutral one (if positive seems too insincere). Instead of hating your soft belly, rub some lotion on it and send it some kindness. After all, your belly has done some amazing things for you! Maybe it’s housed and grown some babies. It’s also the place we digest food so we can LIVE. Or perhaps it’s your thighs that you dislike. But you couldn’t walk, run, or cycle without them now could you?! Show them some respect, honour them, think about the mileage you’ve put down with them!
So perhaps it’s time for a little mindset reset ladies! I’d love to dive more into this topic alone, but for now, try to change your thought patterns by journaling, talking it out, sending me an email so I can help you make some sense if it. And at the very least, let’s strive for more body acceptance.
OK, so now that we have that out of the way. Is there an answer to this question? Not exactly. How much exercise is ENOUGH? It’s the amount that makes you feel GOOD. The amount that leaves you feeling better than you did when you started. The amount that makes you the happiest. The amount that builds you up, motivates you, and excites you. This, obviously is going to be different for each individual person. So again, we need to go back to tuning in and listening to our bodies.
Signs that you are exercising too much:
- you feel exhausted instead of energized after a workout
- you’re dreading your workout even though previously you have always loved it
- you’re muscles are always sore and tired
- you’ve lost your motivation
- you’re forcing yourself to the gym when you’d rather just take a walk
Check yourself ladies. Are you exercising multiple times a day because you feel like the first workout wasn’t “enough”? Are you exercising as penance for something you ate or did the day before? Are you exercising just to burn calories or are you doing it because you genuinely enjoy it?
These are some deep questions, and sometimes it’s hard to admit the answers, but I invite you to take some time and dive deep into your motivations behind exercise and find your own personal answers. When is your enough ‘ENOUGH”?
Let me know your thoughts! Feel free to comment or email me with any questions!
In Wellness, Krista
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