Fitness is great - and exercise is something to strive for, but when does it become too much? Do you know when you're overdoing it?

Fitness: When Is It Too Much?

June 2, 2014 by Michelle

Growing up, I was fairly active. I played softball, I was a cheerleader, and I was a competitive horseback rider. As with so many, when I got to college, things changed. No way was I trying out for college cheerleading. I’d sold my horse and didn’t get involved in the riding team, and I was nowhere near good enough to play on my college’s softball team, although I did play intramural from time to time.

On campus, we had an amazing fitness facility, and one of my biggest regrets was not working out there once. From what I remember of it from a tour when I was a freshman, they had racquetball courts, basketball courts, machines to beat the band, and more. That was the extent of my exploration, but when I search now, I can see all the different group exercise classes they now offer, and I’m sure they offered them back in the day, too. I remember that I used to make fun of the (mostly) girls who would go to SPAC (the name of the facility) and spend “all day long” working out while they studied. Somehow, in my mind, they were the unhealthy ones.

Granted, I suppose that to some extent, that may have been true. There definitely were some students who were addicted to exercise and took it too far, but the vast majority didn’t. They may have taken their books with them to read while they ran or did the elliptical trainer or biked, but that didn’t mean they were there for 6 or 8 hours nonstop. That was my excuse in my head, of course. It helped me justify not going back when I had a little nagging guilt, until not going was simply what I did and I thought nothing of it.

Now that I go to the gym regularly, I wish sometimes that I could do a Zumba class and then stick around for the body works class immediately after. Or I wish I had time to do Pilates and follow it up with Zumba (although I still think the schedule is backwards and Pilates should come after Zumba, but no one asks my opinion). At the moment, I quite simply don’t have the time to do that, but I dream.

Fitness is great - and exercise is something to strive for, but when does it become too much? Do you know when you're overdoing it?

Some days, I’m just happy to get through class, however, and I couldn’t imagine sticking around for another one. In general, I head to the gym Monday to Friday, and I do fun family activities on the weekends since I can’t justify disappearing on my family for two hours. I have Zumba on Mondays and Wednesdays. I do step class on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Thursdays I do a body works class. It ends up being a lot of leg work, and I can feel sometimes that doing this five days in a row where I end up concentrating so much on my calves – especially since so many of the Zumba instructors are putting in moves that have me on my toes dancing side to side which uses my calve a lot – and I can feel them just… tired.

It isn’t that I’m not fit enough to get through the classes, but between what I do during the week and my weekend schedule now that the weather has warmed up, I don’t tend to get a lot of down time. I’m realizing more and more that scheduled rest days really matter. Without them, my muscles don’t have a chance to recover. I’ve started noticing a difference in my classes, too. Although my cardio is fine, my legs sometimes just won’t do what I’m asking them to do. They don’t move as fast, or they don’t lift as high – and it’s simply because they’re fatigued.

Granted, some of this may be because I haven’t eaten enough protein or because I haven’t been sleeping enough, but since I find that it happens mostly as the week progresses, I’m starting to think that I may need to schedule a day off somewhere in the middle of the week, too. I might just be doing too much, not in terms of hours like I used to disdainfully imply about the SPAC Girls, but too many days in a row. Instead, maybe I need to take some time for myself on the weekends when I can – go to a class on Saturdays instead of being the one to shuttle the wee ones around or supervise homework.

Because maybe I’ve become someone where it’s just too much. Now that’s a concept I never thought to apply to myself and exercise. What about you – are you doing too much?

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