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Old 08-23-2005, 07:20 AM   #1
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katied1183 HB User
How can TOO much exercise hurt???

Hi everyone,

Im very frustrated right now and need some info/advice.

I've hit a plateu in my weight loss for the past few weeks (and im not just talking scale wise, my clothes arent getting any looser), and I've posted on here before looking for ways to break it, and a lot of the time, people write back saying that I'm exercising too much.

I was wondering if someone could tell me HOW or WHY too much exercise is bad. I mean, as long as you're working out you're burning calories right?

Plus, for me the most frustrating part is that I am in very good cardiovascular shape right now. I can run for 6 or 7 miles and not be tired, do two aerobics classes in a row at my gym (step/kickboxing), do 25 min on 3 machines in a row etc etc. on average i do about 90 minutes of cardio a day, but about 2 days a week i either take the day off, or only do 30 minutes of cardio. i also weight train for an hour two days/week in addition to the cardio.

how is it possible, like some say, that i could be hurting myself and contributing to my plateau by doing this? also, on my "rest days" or days when i actually do feel like taking it easy, i will do something like just 30 minutes on the tread at 6.5 mph, and i dont even break a sweat and my heartrate is barely up. i dont even feel like i'm getting a workout.

thanks for reading and hopefully some of you can educate me on this!
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:04 AM   #2
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Sixbells99 HB User
Re: How can TOO much exercise hurt???

Iím in no way an expert in cardio workouts and Iím more into weight training. But I think the principle of over training applies to all forms of exercise. Itís not a question of too much exercises hurting but insufficient recovery between exercises. As your progress and become fitter your training becomes longer and more intensive. The mistake many people make is that this also means that as your training becomes longer so should your rest periods. The bodies ability to progress and itís ability to recover from exercise is not linear. If you can run twice as far as 6 months ago your body doesnít recover twice as fast. In fact you need longer than before to recover from this. What I mean by recover is the time and resources your body needs to become stronger than before. Your plateau could be a sign of over training. If you start suffering from colds or get the flu this could also be the sign. Also you may get a muscle tear or have niggling injury that just doesnít go away. These are all signs of overtraining. Every time you exercise you take resources from the body, when you rest the body is also using itís resources to recover and adapt so that it becomes stronger and better able to cope. However the body has limited resources if you exercise too much you wonít allow it to recover adequately. You progress will start to slow down and the end result if taken to the extreme is you may actually find yourself going backwards or at worse get an injury.

 
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:15 AM   #3
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Re: How can TOO much exercise hurt???

Thanks for that reply Sixbells!

It's funny that you mention getting colds and injuries as signs of over training. I hadn't thought about it, but now I realize that I actually have had a nagging cold for the past week and a half, and I almost never get colds in the summer! Also, I remember all throughout highschool people on my track team would complain of shinsplints and how much they hurt, and I never knew what they were talking about. I just considered myself lucky that even with going to soccer practice or track practice every day that I "couldint" get shinsplints. But I guess I was wrong!

Okay well, what you said makes sense, but now I have another question for you or anyone else: How do I allow more recovery time while not hurting my efforts to lose weight and keep in shape?

I want so badly to break this plateau and start losing weight again, and I can't help but feel that cutting down on my exercise is going to mean burning way less calories and in turn stopping my weight loss efforts!

For the record, I'm 5'4", 150 pounds, although I know a LOT of that is muscle weight. Friends and family tell me I look like I'm about 130/135.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:35 AM   #4
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rita HB User
Re: How can TOO much exercise hurt???

Quote:
Originally Posted by katied1183
Thanks for that reply Sixbells!

It's funny that you mention getting colds and injuries as signs of over training. I hadn't thought about it, but now I realize that I actually have had a nagging cold for the past week and a half, and I almost never get colds in the summer! Also, I remember all throughout highschool people on my track team would complain of shinsplints and how much they hurt, and I never knew what they were talking about. I just considered myself lucky that even with going to soccer practice or track practice every day that I "couldint" get shinsplints. But I guess I was wrong!

Okay well, what you said makes sense, but now I have another question for you or anyone else: How do I allow more recovery time while not hurting my efforts to lose weight and keep in shape?

I want so badly to break this plateau and start losing weight again, and I can't help but feel that cutting down on my exercise is going to mean burning way less calories and in turn stopping my weight loss efforts!

For the record, I'm 5'4", 150 pounds, although I know a LOT of that is muscle weight. Friends and family tell me I look like I'm about 130/135.
How is your DIET? You mention nothing about it at all and the major (80% of success, in fact) componenet of any weight loss effort is your diet.
Have you adjusted your caloric intake to reflect your current weight and amount of exercise you do?
You need to have adequate calories in order to lose weight. When a plateau is reached in weight loss, the diet is the first thing that needs to be looked at and adjusted. You may be eating too much or not enough. Believe it or not, if you eat too little, your body responds by going into starvation mode and refuses to let go of any fat reserves which it will hold onto for future use in case you continue to starve yourself. It will also slow down your metabolism so that you will expend fewer calories thus need fewer calories in your diet. If, on the other hand, you consume too many calories, of course you will not lose weight.
But a calorie is not just a calorie. You need to eat enough of the nutrients your body needs, especially protein to help maintain (and build) muscle mass, complex carbs for fuel and healthy fats. In other words, you need to eat healthy! If you tell us what your diet looks like on a daily basis, someone will be able to decipher it and advise you on any adjustments that may need to be made.

 
Old 08-23-2005, 10:08 AM   #5
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Re: How can TOO much exercise hurt???

oops! sorry, i posted something about my diet on the "diet and nutrition" board, but i forgot that posting it here would help also. In general i eat very healthy. You're right though -- one of my biggest problems is figuring out how to adjust my caloric intake. for me its not an issue of willpower in eating less or more -- that part is easy for me. but i need to know what does or doesnt consist of "starving" myself. once i have the correct number/goal to shoot for, i can hit it.

here's a sample of a typical day:

breakfast:
whole grain toast or bagel w/tablespoon peanut butter, 300 cal
coffee w/skim milk no sugar, 35 cal

snack: cup low fat yogurt, 110 cal

snack: fruit (peach or apple) w/a cup dry cereal like bran flakes or shredded wheat, 250 cal

lunch: salad w/low fat dressing (lettuce, various veggies, protein like chicken turkey or beans) 300 cal

snack: low fat cottage cheese, 2 hard boiled eggs, or peanuts, 150 cal

dinner: whey protein shake (this is right when i get home from the gym) consisting of one scooop whey, banana, blueberries, 1/4 cup orange juice, 250 cal

after the shake, i have a mix of protein and carbs -- wheat pasta w/meat, brown rice and chicken or fish, plus broccoli or green beans, 300 cal

at this point i've had 1700 cals, and if i'm still hungry about two hours before bed, i'll have a snack like popcorn or crackers, maybe some low fat ice cream or cookies for a treat -- anything that is around 150 calories

so as you can see on average i consume about 1800 calories a day, 20% is usually fat, 30 % is protein, 50 % is carbs. i stick to this whole routine pretty strictly, except on the weekends i decrease my carb intake by about 300 calories to leave a little room for some alcohol (not the healthiest i know, but it only makes for about 500 extra calories on the weekend). also,all of this is eaten at 2 - 3 hour intervals.

in case it helps, i am 22, 5'4" and 150 pounds (sorry i dont know my body fat percentage, but knowing my body, im almost positive it's in what's considered the "normal" range for a woman).

okay i think thats it, thanks for all your input!
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Old 08-23-2005, 10:12 AM   #6
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Sixbells99 HB User
Re: How can TOO much exercise hurt???

Hi Kaited,

Rita made a very good point, your diet could also be playing a big part on this. If you starting to increase your workload and keeping your diet the same you may end going down to low in cals and your body enters starvation mode.

To answer your question about how much rest period you should have like I said Iím not really a cardio expert and much more into weight training. So I really canít answer your question other than to say keep a log of your training and track your progress. Record every session and your results. Then on the next session compare your results from the previous. If you are not improving or if you actually worse than last time, this means that your probably over training. I know in weight training that itís advisable to have 5 whole days off every 8 to 10 weeks to give the body full recovery time. Which is called period training, where you train at different levels for different periods. But I donít know how much this applies to cardio training. Perhaps someone else out there can answer this better.

 
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