Have you ever felt like you just can't stop working out? It may sound like a weird problem for some, but it's actually a real thing. You absolutely enjoy the whole process: Zoning out when you working out, getting stronger day by day, learning new skills… There seems to be no reason why you should slow down and take a break.
All this happens to me every now and then. Last time was about a month ago when we spent 3.5 weeks in Hawaii. I was unstoppable! The weather was nice, there were parks everywhere, the beaches were beautiful. The conditions for working out were awesome pretty much all the time. I think I took 3 days off during 3.5 weeks.
When It's Hard To Stop Working Out
I didn't feel tired at all, despite working out quite a bit more than usually. It was probably a combination of relaxing, having fun, hanging out with family, exploring new places, enjoying the weather etc.
The mornings were just beautiful and starting the day with a strong HIIT workout seemed to be the most natural thing to do. Sometimes I followed the HIIT with up to 10K run, then got a green smoothie and coffee… It was pure joy! I loved the long mornings.
I pretty much didn't have time to feel exhausted. My adrenalin was high and I felt strong and powerful all the time. Bring on more workouts!
My Normal Week of Workouts and My Vacation Week of Workouts
My normal workout week at home consists of 3-4 HIIT workouts, 1-2 lower impact kettlebell / skill workouts and 1-2 low impact walks or runs.
On my vacation, I did HIITs 5 days a week, 2 long runs a week and sometimes HIIT plus a run on the same day. A lot of times, we would go hiking, kayaking or surfing after all that working out and running. It was quite a bit of physical activities.
I didn't have to push or force myself – workout obsession that I used to deal with (in order to burn calories) is long in the past for me. But working out is just something I really truly enjoy, especially when the conditions are that awesome.
Exhaustion Will Catch Up
As I got home from the vacation though, I noticed that I wasn't in that great swing anymore. Part of it was definitely the weather too, because it was grey and rainy, which made the outdoor workouts pretty much impossible. But I also realized that by body was actually tired.
For the first week, I felt kind of nah about my workouts, physically and mentally. I did them, because that's what I'm used to do and I don't like to make excuses. But I soon realized that I was physically really tired. All those 3.5 weeks full of all sorts of physical activities were definitely catching up on me.
So, You Worked Out Too Much?
So, what should I have done then?
Taken a rest. And luckily, I did.
I felt like if I keep pushing myself too much, without feeling strong of without actually enjoying the workout, I may either injure myself or get mentally absolutely bored with working out. So, I took about one week rest from high intensity training and running.
I did some kettlebell work and lifted my sandbag at home a couple of times, but it was nothing too vigorous. I took longer walks to still keep moving. If I don't get to move every day, I get antsy, annoyed and become not fun person to be around. So, I made sure to get my fresh air every day.
You have to listen to your body. I know that everybody keeps telling you that all of the time, but there is a reason for it. Of course, I should have taken more rest days when I was on a vacation, but there was nothing to do about it anymore. If I wasn't smart enough then, I had to be smart now and do what was best for me.
You Need Rest Days
We all need rest days. Rest days may be different for you and someone else. Your rest day may be a three mile walk, while for someone else it means doing absolutely no physical activity on that day. Do what feels good for you and your body.
I should have taken rest days too when I was on a vacation. For example, when I knew that we will go on a hike later, I could have skipped my run for that day. Nothing bad would have happened. I probably would have been better off taking a couple of more rest days here and there and been in a better shape by the time I got home – not exhausted, but ready to work out.
Injuries are another thing. A lot of times we know that training too much increases the risk on injuries, but we still neglect it, because we feel that we have all the power and energy to work out, so why should we take rest days?
You just have to use common sense and know that working out a lot may feel good at the moment, but it may leave you super exhausted and even bored later.
Sometimes it's really hard to stop yourself form working out, especially when the conditions are great and you feel strong, healthy and super empowered.
However, you have to give your body time to recover and get a proper rest. If you don't, it will likely catch up later and then you are already forced to take a break.
But if you still overdid it a bit, don't push it too much anymore! Sometimes walking and doing lower impact training is just what you need. Think what's better for your body at this moment and do that.
Do you ever struggle with working out too much?