Has anyone here taken up exercise, but then decided that life was better without it?
I grew up a pretty sedentary (and chubby) kid, only going outside to play on occasion, always hating gym class, and never playing sports. I was overweight in high school, and then at around 19 years old I started watching my diet and exercising. I took up running primarily, and soon added weight lifting, and over the next 10 years I did various combinations of weekly running and weight lifting at varying intensities. My workouts were always short, and I've never done more that 45 minute workouts 6 times a week (and that would only be during times when I had almost no other stress, like summer break from college), and I'd say I averaged 3 workouts per week at about 45 min each over the past 10 years.
Lately I've been reducing my workouts due to lack of energy, and general feelings of stress and exhaustion, even though my job is great and I have no outside obligations taking any energy (I'm married and don't have kids, so life is pretty smooth right now). For the past several months though, I've scaled back to one weight-lifting workout per week, and even that feels like it just leaves me wiped. I try to walk every day after breakfast, and even that is starting to feel exhausting. I've tried diet tweaks up the wazoo and have found a great deal of stress reduction and energy with the diet I'm following now, but working out hasn't gotten any better. So, I'm considering dropping working out all together to see how I feel, but I'm afraid to because of the overwhelming evidence that exercise keeps you healthy. I'm wondering though if because I grew up as a couch potato, is that how I function optimally?
Have any of you decided that exercise is just not for you? Do any of you always feel worse after you exercise? Are there any totally happy paleo couch potatoes out there? Are there any tribes or ancient cultures who were/are known couch potatoes?
Either you've developed a health problem, or you're burning out/overtraining. I refused to believe I was overtraining UP and DOWN recently. But my usual workouts were torture, I was constantly tired, depressed, and I started retaining LOADS of water that would not go away. I run 5 miles 3 days a week, and to HIIT for 30 mins two days a week. This might not sound like much to many of you, but evidently for me, this was too much. And I never ever missed a workout...ever. I got sick with the flu and took 5 days off. I slept a TON and rested, no workouts. Lo and Behold....I come back feeling amazing. Water retention gone, depression gone, energy back!
My advice is to take a week or two off. Take a break, then ease back into it. I'm back to my regular workout routine and feel good. But, I am going to work in some breaks/rest weeks throughout the year instead of being SO hardcore about never missing no matter how bad I feel. That really backfired on me. So take a break and then see how you feel. I wouldn't stop workout out completely. There are way too many benefits!
Any other symptoms besides fatigue? I would up your carbs and calories, take a week off, and see how you feel. If it continues, I would go see a doctor, and just make sure it isn't anything that could be serious.
Goal orientated, regimented "I gotta do this 3 days a week," excercise has no place in my life anymore. But that doesn't mean I am innactive. In fact I walk probably 2-5 hours total everyday just going about my business (running errands, recreation). Plus I dance like crazy around the house, jumping and spinning around - it's rather embarrassing, but I love music, haha, I can't help myself. Plus my job does require occasonal lifting and moving of heavy equipment. I'd go nuts as a couch potato, but I eat a lot of carbs, so I guess my metabolism is driving me to move.
I think being active is good in general because your appetite is stronger and you are able to consume more food and therefore more nutrients. I don't think you have to worry about regimented workouts unless you have specific goals in mind, like body builders, or a specific weight/measurement. I don't care anymore if my weight fluctuates a little or what size my clothes are, so I don't workout. As long as my tummy is flat, my face is plump (in the depths of my chronic diet and exercising, my stomach was swollen and flabby and I lost all the fat on my face, it was not pretty) and my body feels strong, I'm happy.
I too was similar to you. I was a chubby child & only got into exercise in my early 20s. I trained intensely & even competed in a body building competition. However, after a while, I hit a brick wall (probably due to adrenals) & stopped the weight training. Not only was I finding that it was physically exhausting, but also it was mentally exhausting. I went from a 'happy go lucky' sort of person to a tired, depressed person. Sometimes, when I would finish a workout I would go home and sleep for hours. Obviously there was something wrong!
Like you, I ate similar to you & found that did nothing for my sugar levels, energy levels. Paleo has really helped with that (which I think relates to my higher fat consumption & better nutrition) and I find that I don't see food as such a necessity anymore, meaning that when I weight trained I could literally EAT and EAT and never seem to get full. I like Taubes idea on this one & it really makes a lot of sense.
Now in my late 30s, I have found a balance for me. I try to walk 5 times a week & try to stand as much as possible at my desk. I also work long hours & don't have a heap of time to spend exercising like crazy. I am happier spending my time making bone broth or reading, or spending time outdoors. I truly believe that this is better for my soul.
I do wonder though if "exercise" is really natural. I see all the people out jogging with strained faces & terrible running styles & wonder if they are really enjoying what they are doing & whether they are really doing it for the right reasons. However, when I spot walkers or people "playing" outside, they are always smiling & having fun. I also think exercise is used in our society as a justification of eating bad & SAD & not for the pure pleasure.
If you have some kind of adrenal gland disfunction/low-function that will result in an inability to recover from any kind of effort.
I had an adrenal problem last year, and if I did a 30 minute, fairly mild work-out it would take me an entire week to recover. That is in contrast to the way it used to be, which was that a workout would invigorate me. It would give me more energy, not totally drain me.
So, adrenal issues are the first thing I would look into. You can get your cortisol levels measured with a saliva test.
Thyroid would be the next possibility I would look into. Actually, adrenal issues and thyroid issues are often fellow travelers.
> 45 minute workouts 6 times a week
6 times a week ??? Let me explain my point of view on this. You are overtrained !
The workout is the stimulation, the good that is provide happen when you rest, after the stimulation ... In the 24hours following the stimulation your body is most likly in a catabolic trying to reach back the homeostasis, after that come the Anabolic window, thats when your body release testosterone, growth hormone and other anabolics ... to regenerate you and make you stronger. This windows last about 24hours .... Moreover, the musculare damage caused by a good bodybuilding workout can take up to 10days to fully recover.
So the next workout sould never be sooner than 48Hours and should target another area. Most people who do not use steroid have better result with 2, maximum 3 workout sesions per week.
Personnaly I got my best result with 1 high intensity full body workout per week. Again, the magic append when your REST !!!! The workout is just a simulus ....
I think a lot of these answers are great, and you probably are well served by following the advice to take a break and see a doctor if your fatigue doesn't lift. But I'd add one thing - during your week or two-week "exercise holiday" why not just go out for some leisurely walks, preferably on a trail somewhere - walks whose purpose is NOT exercise. You go as far as you want, as slowly as you want, for how long you want, and just experience the feeling of being outside. Listen to the birds. Sit on a bench and read a book partway through. Collect some stones or twigs or something on the way. Exchange greetings with other humans you encounter en route. When you feel like turning back, just turn back. But don't listen to music, and don't calculate how far you've gone. Maybe you could even borrow someone else's dog for company if you don't have your own.
It's very therapeutic to reconnect with nature, slow yourself down, and stop chasing after goals all the livelong day. Our culture makes doing that difficult. Slowing down and getting outside has always helped me through difficult periods.
For me had nothing to do with carbs or diet. I would burn out cause I was use to working out at a semi-elite level from my younger days. As I got older, family, job, other time constraints and stresses AND working out like I was preparing for high level competition just led to me being pissed at my slow progress and worse recurring nagging injuries.
So I cut WAY back. I do a Body by Science type work out 1x/week. That is it for planned regimented exercise. Everything else is play. Been doing this for 4 months now and its been the longest I've gone with no burnout or injury from an exercise program. Sometimes less is more.
I've never been excited about the prospect of "working out" (never, ever), but I since I wear myself out at work for several hours straight each day (constantly getting up and down, walking to and fro, answering the portable phone and taking orders, from right after lunch until 5:30pm), I figure that puts enough of a stressful load on my body that allows me to eat plenty of carbs and not gain weight. Would I like to gain some lean muscle? Sure, who wouldn't? But when I wind up falling asleep in my den room chair at 8:30 on any given weeknight, I figure that the last thing I need is to put more stress on my body by forcing myself to do weight training or run around my several acres of property.
I think if I were able to take naps during my lunch break, like I used to do, I wouldn't feel so pooped. But when you own and operate your small business and it's just you, your boyfriend and your FIL running the show, you can't really afford slack off for an hour every day.
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