No Pain, More Gain: Why Is It Important to Maintain a Balanced Workout?

What’s your exercise mantra? Are you committed to the idea of ‘no pain no gain’? In past years, we have prescribed this direction but we now know that by continuing to do this and train hard, we create more stress on the body. The body becomes acidic, tired, sore and over time will break down with recurrent injuries and disease.

no-painimage via pinterest

Why is it important to maintain a balanced workout? The longer you spend in the gym (for example, more than 40 minutes for a weights/resistance training session), the more likely it is that your body may go into catabolic mode (muscles breaking down) rather than maintain the anabolic state (muscle building) that most people desire for muscle metabolism building and toning.

Placing large amounts of stress on your body by doing regular, long workouts, particularly when your body may already be begging you for relief from the other daily compounding stressors, can ultimately leave the body depleted of energy, vitality and in a catabolic, broken state.

By overworking, over exercising, over emotionalising, and also by over exposure to electromagnetic energy and chemical stressors; you can guarantee the flow on effect of higher than normal cortisol levels secreted by the adrenal glands. This can lead to hormonal imbalances and ultimately weight gain, decreased bone mineral density, and injury.

At Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat we suggest shorter strength and resistance training workouts. These include TRX training and Kinesis training with minimal cardio work, unless applying this as interval training. We balance this routine with yoga, qi gong, meditation, dance and Pilates.

If you know that your body is under a lot of stress and you are starting to feel the impact of this, change your routine. Some ways you can begin to make the change:

– Learn and practice more stress management techniques (remember that stress, anger, anxiety, and fear can raise your cortisol levels).  Consider mindfulness training such as yoga and meditation.

– Avoid ongoing stress. Stress is an important part of growth however it is when you remain under constant stress without periods of recovery that you begin breaking down.

– Avoid over training by keeping your workouts intense, but brief (cortisol rises sharply after 45-60 min of strength training)

– Get plenty of quality sleep every night (sleep deprivation, as a stressor, can also raise cortisol).

– Avoid or minimise the use of stimulants such as caffeine and ephedrine

– Limit alcohol and ensure that you have at least three alcohol free days each week (large doses of alcohol elevate cortisol).

– Stay well hydrated (recent studies have suggested that dehydration may raise cortisol).

– Avoiding very low calorie diets, especially for prolonged periods of time. Low calorie dieting is a major stress to the body. Low calorie diets increase cortisol while decreasing testosterone

As we get older, the key is to listen to your body and be aware of how it feels. If you do injure yourself, take the time to rest and recover. Having a massage is one of the most beneficial things you can do to take care of your body with the bonus being this also helps us to slow down and relax more. Sometimes, we choose the more energetic, intense activities because we are so wired. And yet, that’s the last thing our adrenal glands need – more stimulation.

Try to become more aware of the choices you make and whether they are what you really need at that time. A morning session of yoga, breathing, stretching (or all three) can be just as helpful for your day as a run or a spin class. As with most things, aim for balance and check in with yourself regularly. Mix it up. Try something different. Your body will thank you.


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