A few years ago my mother gave me a magnet that said “Exercise hard, eat right, die anyway”. On the magnet was a picture of a mad little bunny rabbit, sweat band around his head, beads of perspiration running down his little face, decked out in gym clothes with his hands in tight fists. In my years of being a personal trainer I have seen many clients resemble this woodland creature (not that they looked like rabbits, but the body language was identical, sometimes followed by a medicine ball tossed in the general direction of my head). Hell, I have resembled him a few times myself. You are on a nice, balanced exercise routine and then decide to turn it up a notch. Maybe you have a reunion looming in your future or bathing suit season suddenly sneaks up on you in a fashion eerily similar to last year. It starts innocently enough, maybe an extra cardio session in the evenings or an extra plate or two on the bar. You were never a runner but suddenly decide to throw yourself into a marathon training routine. Who needs carbs, and while you’re at it, protein for that matter? Just another workout, another dinner of baby spinach,and you might reach your goal weight when hold on a sec….did that pop you just heard come from your knee? Are those bags under your eyes or did you get hit with a two by four and have no recollection of it? Isn’t exercise and eating right supposed to make you feel great? What gives?
This may sound funny coming from a personal trainer but yes, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Pushing yourself into complete overdrive will only lead to a major crash. One of my favorite yoga teachers once said “Yoga is important, but it’s not serious”. I like to think about exercise the same way. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and you need to pace yourself. Working hard is great, but you need to find some kind of balance. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle it has to work for the long haul. Slow and steady wins the race, be a fitness tortoise instead of a mad little bunny rabbit.