How Much is Too Much?

I’m kinda OCD about escalating exercise. (Gee, there’s a surprise!) I feel like there always has to be progress, in amount of time spent, in speed, mileage, strength, whatever. One one hand it’s good; I’m goal oriented. On the other hand I can overdo it and have injured myself, by pushing too hard.

I’m at the point now where I think I need to stop the build-up, at least of duration. An hour of yoga (3-4x a week) and an hour of something cardio daily is probably sufficient and it’s working well for me. I can focus on technique, form, speed, or intervals, but I think continuing to push for more time is counterproductive.

Although I actually enjoy strength training, I don’t want to do it it – I’m one of those atypical females that bulks up a bit with weight training. Yoga (and Pilates as a first cousin) contain a significant strength element but the focus is different enough it doesn’t have the same effect.

I do enjoy cross training, not doing the same thing all the time. It’s fun to go on a bike ride instead of a walk, or kayaking instead of a swim – it keeps things interesting and works different muscles.

When I was young, dumb and at the peak of my physical conditioning, I was swimming 2 x 2hr workouts a day, plus lifting weights an hour a day. I also ran 2-3x a week for crosstraining, and played racquetball and took dance for fun. I was perpetually exhausted but in fabulous shape, 17% body fat.

I wonder if I didn’t sort of warp my metabolism back then, so that I’d require that kind of workout load to ever again be slim. I hope not, because that’s not happening! I have a life. I’ll see where I end up with current efforts.

3 Responses to “How Much is Too Much?”

  1. John the Scientist Says:

    And what’s wrong with a bulked-up female, hmmm? :p

    Pushing for more time will probably stress your joints and tendons until you build up some strength. Just use light weights and do more reps. And push for faster times. The trainers I work out with seem to think that the elevated metabolic rates from sprinting or pushing for faster times on longer distances cause you to burn more calories even when resting for hours after the workout is done.

  2. Chris Says:

    I know what you mean about overdoing it on escalation. On Monday I jumped from 40 lb to 50 lb freeweights and tore a tendon in my wrist. Now I can do nothing but cardio and leg workouts. Getting older sucks :(

  3. Gene Says:

    Congrats to you Jeri for figuring out your pattern and making healthier choices instead of heading towards an injury.

    And I am totally with you on the see what happens with current efforts. Everyone keeps asking me what my goal is for weight loss. I am down over 50 pounds and don’t have a goal. I am making healthier choices in my life style and we will see what my body wants to be! I don’t know if I ever what to get back down to a barely 34 inch waist. At 6’3″ I think I would look goofy.