Exercise and Guilt: Part 2

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freeforall thumb3   Exercise and Guilt: Part 2

Hello there!

Just some housekeeping before we get into the juicy hot topic of the day!

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Exercise and Guilt: Part 2

 

Missed part 1 on Exercise and Guilt?

Exercise and Guilt: My Story!

I used to be quite obsessive about exercise- I dragged my butt to the gym every day and I really disliked my workouts. I dreaded going to the gym and had the mentality that I had to ‘get it over with’ as quickly as possible. I exercised primarily to change my body- and that was all I focused on. In retrospect, I can see why I found it to be such a drag!!

I started feeling much more positive about exercise when I started focusing on more tangible aspects of exercise, such as:

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness

I was never a runner, well a long distance runner anyways. In school I used to run short distance sprints for track, but I never could run long distances. So when I started to work on my running and focus on improving my endurance, I found running to be a source of pleasure in my life. I had a new goal! I started out only being able to run 1 minute and slowly over time I built up my endurance. Seeing how far I have come with running really inspires me to run and I enjoy the process of making my heart stronger! It is awesome to focus on the positive changes that are happening internally, rather than just focusing on outward changes (that don’t happen as fast as we’d like them to!). I personally notice cardiovascular improvements much faster than outward, physical changes in my appearance. Each week, I notice that my fitness level improves a bit and that is much more rewarding and motivational to me to focus on! It is no wonder why so many women are left feeling discouraged and unhappy when we make our only goal a size 4 by ‘x’ date!

  • Improved strength

My strength was never something that I focused on in the past either. All I cared about was what size I was, not how strong I was. In my mind, muscle was heavier than fat and would put weight on me. Boy was I wrong! Now I enjoy building up my strength and I see it now as a part of a well-rounded fitness regimen. It is also fun trying out new workout videos (like the 30 Day Shred) and the daily BBBC challenge to spice things up a little! I love feeling strong. It is empowering not just in my workouts, but in every other aspect of my life! Knowing that I can get through a level 3 workout of the Shred translates into feeling confidant in all areas of my life. I think to myself, ‘Wow I just had a killer workout…this upcoming meeting/presentation/stressful assignment will be a piece of cake compared to that!’

  • Goals

Setting a goal to run my first race this year was really inspiring for me- especially to be able to do it for charity! I see my training as more than just a workout, I see it as a fun challenge for myself and something that brings me great pride. I also realize that it is essential to take rest days- my training will be improved by a rest day, not hindered! Before I started learning about how to train for a race, I didn’t fully understand rest days. Now I realize that my muscles actually get stronger when I do take a rest day. I try to remind myself this whenever I am taking an off day.

  • Happy endorphins!

Let’s face it, endorphins rule. They make us feel energized, happy, and euphoric! I focus on how good I will feel during or after my workout- sometimes I even feel the endorphin high during my workout and that is always fun! Who wouldn’t want an extra kick to their step?

Need more convincing?

Rest Your Muscles

Your muscles need to have a day of rest just like you need to take time to rest after having a lot of activity. But why do your muscles need to rest? The fact is that your muscles utilize the resting time as an opportunity to build more muscles. The resting time you provide for your muscles to recuperate is as necessary as your time spent working out.

Overtraining

There is a phenomenon called "overtraining" which occurs when a person does not avail one’s self of rest time and thusly, overtrains his/her muscles. The muscles simply stay in a state of damage as they are not given resting time as an opportunity to repair. Allowing recuperation is probably the most important step in building larger and stronger muscles. Otherwise, the muscles are overtrained and simply not allowed time to rebuild and strengthen.

It is not unusual for people who overtrain to become lethargic, feel fatigued, and even get sick frequently.

[Source]

I try not to play the guilt & exercise game anymore! It just isn’t worth it to me. All that time spent feeling guilty could be used toward more positive things, such as reflecting on my progress and reviewing my training goals.

If you are having a rest day and battling negative emotions about it, try this exercise out:

1. List some reasons why your body needs to rest

2. List some of the dangers of over-exercising

3. Plan tomorrow’s workout and get motivated and excited for it!

4. Review your progress over the past month/week/year- Remind yourself how far you have come!

5. Focus on eating healthy today to repair your muscles so you will be strong for tomorrow!

Today’s question: Do you have any tips or tricks for beating exercise guilt?

Have a lovely afternoon! Hope the sun is shining bright wherever you are!

Back to spreadsheet/accounting stuff for me- I am hoping to either bake a new creation this afternoon or get outside for some sun- maybe both! :)

angela signature thumb66   Exercise and Guilt: Part 2

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenny May 25, 2009

Great Part 2! My ways of battling guilt are very similar to what you have listed. I first and foremost remind myself that I NEED rest days. Also, I remind myself that my workout the next day would NOT be as good if I were tired from overtraining. I want my workouts to be challenging and helpful, not miserable!

Ways to combat thoughts: making new workout playlists, planning fun new routines, writing about it (blogging!)…Love these posts Angela! :)

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Leatitia May 25, 2009

I tell myself that if I don’t take a rest day at the very least once of week that I risk injuries. That means spending a good part of the SEASON not exercising. I don’t want to pass on all those beautiful summer days, all the amazing runs in the sunshine.

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Katie May 25, 2009

Guilt seems to be a womans mantra. I have given up on guilt. Exercise, perfect clean house, clothes with no stains for the kids…… Women have to work at destressing themself. I took me a long time to get there but it was so worth it. If I don’t work out today I will get to it tomorrow or the next day. Enough is enough with the feeling bad because I couldn’t do everything I wanted today. I now enjoy my work out free days as much as my work out days. I took my own pressure off myself because in the end no one else cared if I worked out 7 days a week or 2 days a week. It was all in my own head. I average 4 workout days a week, some weeks more some less but now I work out with a free sprit that makes every work out that much better. My endurance is so much better now with the weight of the womans mantra of I have to do everything gone.

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Hallie May 25, 2009

Thanks for the shout-out! I def feel exercise guilt sometimes, but I just try to be kind to myself. I have been known to skip out on sleep to fit in a workout in the morning, but I finally realized that trading one healthy, important thing for another isn’t smart, and my brain and body needs rest (and sleep!) just as much as it needs activity.

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bobbi May 25, 2009

love the part II!!

i had a green monster this morning after a weekend filled with sweets and drinks it felt amazing!!!

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theoddbod May 25, 2009

it’s very true, rest and sleep are two of the biggest components of a healthy exercise routine. you may think you are improving faster by training every day but those real improvements come from the high quality workouts that happen when you are adequately rested and able to remain injury free for a long period of time.

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Cinemarie May 25, 2009

Wow Angela, this info is great! I am still pretty new to working out ‘regularly’ and I have to say I needed to read this post! I am just like you described – get it over with, feel guilty if you don’t workout… I needed to change my perspective/focus and you gave me the perfect tools for that. This is great food for thought :) Thank you!!!

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Heather May 25, 2009

What a great topic Angela. I love all the information and tips you presented. Exercise is about so much more than just being thin and having a great body. It is a wonderful tool for our mind and outlook. We have to learn to exercise for the right reasons and have some perspective on its importance in our lives. Thanks for the post! :)

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Lily May 25, 2009

I don’t worry about not working out from the perspective of “oh my gosh my muscles are going to instantly atrophy” or “i’ll gain 5 pounds” or anything too extreme like that, but I do feel that if I don’t workout, then I’m not “allowed” to eat as much that day. That thought absolutely freaks me out (regardless of whether or not the reduced exercise would then be therefore accompanied by reduced appetite; it’s just the fear of not having the extra calories to “play” with). I also vary my workouts nearly daily, so I am wondering if it is still possible to overtrain? I would say no becaues it is different muscle groups, but I’d like to know more. I workout about 1h20-3h EVERY day (pilates, weights, ballet, core training, hiking, yoga, so my duration will depend on what i’m doing and my exercises are varied), but for the rest of the day I’m rather sedentary. Thoughts? Thanks for the great post!

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Help Meghan Run May 25, 2009

Wonderful job, Angela! Fabulous tips and things to think about. For me, I remind myself that it’s not about being perfect. It’s good for our bodies to relax, and I would much rather rest today than run and possibly get injured down the road. As in everything, moderation is key! :)

www. HelpMeghanRun .com

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Katharina May 25, 2009

I don’t really have exercise guilt but it might be because I tend to move around more in my day. Which I guess could be a tip on how to deal with it. If you’re doing something that’s preoccupying your mind – then you won’t have time to let the guilt seep in those thoughts! Perhaps take the stairs, park a little bit further away, go window shopping, clean, garden, NAP. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing! :)

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Katie T May 25, 2009

I’m in the same situation as Lilly – it’s not that I’m worried that I’ll suddenly lose all my fitness if I take a day off, but I’m scared that I’ll eat too much because I’m not burning off all those calories through exercise. However, I don’t just exercise to burn calories; almost the opposite! I play a ton of beach volleyball, and go to yoga, and strength train because I LOVE it, and I love how it makes me feel. But I do feel as though I depend on those burned calories in order to maintain my weight. This leads to lots of anxiety on days when I’m forced not to exercise due to traveling or tons of other commitments (which I admit is really infrequently). I’d really like to come to terms with letting myself have rest days and not feel guilty about it.
Any helpful thoughts?

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C May 25, 2009

Angela, I love your blog so much! I’m so impressed by 1) your dedication to making this site its best, 2) actually listening to your faithful readers, and 3) all the effort you put in to make this an informative, unique, inspiring, and beautiful place to stop by. As Kris Carr would say, you’re really inspiring us all to connect with our inner goddess/priestess and that’s great :) Thanks for all that you do.

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Leah @ Simply Fabulous May 25, 2009

Loved part 2!

I’m so happy that you are at such a comfortable place with yourself… isn’t it amazing what a few years can change?

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Bec May 25, 2009

great series, love it!

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Sarah May 25, 2009

I wrestle with this often, including this weekend. I have not really exercised since Saturday morning when I ran a 5K. But I just have to tell myself that I need rest as much as I need exercise, so I’m actually doing myself a favor by taking it easy once in a while. Slowly but surely I’m less and less guilty and more comfortable with my “routine”. Great message!

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Kailey May 25, 2009

this is such a beautiful post. I couldn’t agree more with you – when I was trying to loose weight I felt SO guilty about skipping a workout, but now that I workout because I enjoy it and know I am making my heart stronger, I realize a couple days off won’t kill me.

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Mallory May 25, 2009

thank you SO much angela for these inspiring posts!
i’m finally at a point in my life where my focus in exercising is on becoming stronger and building up my endurance, and my current fitness goal is to run 30 minutes without stopping (small i know, but we have to start somewhere!). right now i’m trying to add little spurts of running/jogging to my walking treadmill routine – it started out as 1 minute, then 1.5, then 2 minutes of running – how did you progress from no running to where you are today?

great job!!!

I progressed just as you are doing now- with gradual increments! Walking with running spurts eventually become running with walking spurts…and then no walking at all! :) It takes a while, but I know you will get there! ~A

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Christina May 25, 2009

I love this post! It really made me excited about my workout for tomorrow after reading your tangible aspects of exercise :)

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Fitzalan June 3, 2009

I just copied and pasted the list for rest day suggestions. I have a TERRIBLE time with rest days. I always feel guilty. Or think, maybe I don’t really need it, I don’t feel that exhausted. When in all honesty my body is begging for an off day.

Next rest day I have, I am going to see if that little list helps.

Happiness Awaits

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