Overtraining or Overthinking?

Trying to manage a crazy #bossbabe life can be chaotic. I get it. Trust me, I do. As most of you know, I’m not your typical fitness blogger. On top of writing two books and hustling on Life in Spandex, I work a full-time managerial job. Add on errands and maintaining a social life, my schedule is far from relaxed.

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5 Ways to center Your Mind and Reset Your bodyHowever, I always strive to put my health first. There’s a long-time saying, “health is wealth,” and it’s so true. I can let my schedule get the best of me at times. Just this past week I tweaked my neck in a workout. I wasn’t doing anything crazy, just a simple side plank. Right before it happened, my mind started to wander into self-doubt, fear, and impatience about a few things currently happening in my life. I became wrapped up in my thoughts and before I knew it my neck tensed up and completely spasmed. Still battling knee issues, this was the last straw. I realized that something needed to change.

I kept asking myself, what am I doing wrong?  I was wracking my brain wondering if I had been over-training. My form is good, my routine is well-balanced, and I’m not exercising more than one-hour or so five to six times per week with one to two total rest days.  Other than these minor injuries, I hadn’t had any other over-training symptoms like irritability, insomnia, chronic fatigue, etc. But sometimes mistakes can’t be calculated. Sometimes the cause is something far less concrete – our state-of-mind.

Injuries are never fun. But they feel even worse when you’re a fitness influencer. I questioned myself as a fitness blogger and author. Can you blame me? I could easily stay silent. But, hey, none of us are perfect! And it’s not like I have a track record for being all that private anymore. This hiccup is the perfect opportunity to talk to you about what I’m learning along the way.

Maybe you’re going through something similar – stress, self-doubt, or physical injury. These are all indications that it’s time to make some life refinements. It’s hard to know where to start when you don’t have total control over the outcome. Even as a certified personal trainer, for a couple of days I felt completely stumped, like I had no idea what my body wanted or needed. It was an uncomfortable. Here I am, helping other women when I felt unable to help myself. But after a few days of self-care, experimentation, and reflection, I started to gain clarity by doing these five things.

Whether you’re considering a career change, going through an injury, heartbroken from a break up, or navigating any other transitional part of life, these five tips will help you center your mind and reset your body.

Disclaimer: I’m not certified therapist (like I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach). So my knowledge in mental health is limited to my own experiences and the words of wise people around me, like my father, who is a doctor :).

  1. Check in on your 3 P’s.

My dad told me this week that successful people have three things – peace, perseverance, and patience. Most people are natural at all three. Thank goodness, because life would be boring without learning opportunities! (Slight sarcasm). Checking in with your three P’s includes finding acceptance and gratitude for your life as it currently is, finding resilience during hardships, and realizing that most things in life don’t change overnight.

2. Get outside.

There’s nothing more centering than being in nature.  Go outside for a walk, hike, or bike ride. I used to love running outside (before I injured my knees a few months ago). However, forcing myself to do something less intense has given me a whole new perspective on leisurely exercise. Keep your workout separate from this practice so you can concentrate on being a part of the world around you. Listen to the breeze in the trees and sounds of birds or busy streets, smile at a stranger, feel the ground beneath your feet or tires, and notice the color of the vegetation and the sky. These will all send messages to your brain that everything is okay.

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3. More is not always better.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “No pain no gain.” Or how about “Train insane or remain the same.” These quotes have never served me well for long-term success. Intense training is not a bad thing, when done correctly. But, if you’re going for intensity during almost every workout and giving yourself minimal rest days, you may find yourself reaching burn out.

The same concept applies for your life. You want to do it all because you’re a #bossbabe, yeah?! Rushing from one thing to the next, constantly pushing yourself to check off the next to-do, and never taking a second to wind down is an easy way to completely stress yourself out. Stress may seem like something you can manage. You may be so used to be strung out you don’t even notice it. Hey, you may even feed off of it at this point. But the damage stress can do on our bodies can be as severe as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other chronic illness.

Staying Healthy Through Heartbreak - Week 2

I’m not telling you to throw your dreams out the window, to quit your job, or to let your kids run wild, but understanding that your mind and body has limits is vital to long-term health. Set aside even three increments of ten minutes per day to do the two next steps can help you continue crushing goals without disrupting your well-being.

4. Be alone.

Hate being alone? You need this advice more than anyone else. Take time to be with yourself (and no not a date night with your phone and tv). Unplug and find time to practice being comfortable without someone else. So much of life angst comes from not fully accepting or feeling comfortable with who we are. Loving yourself isn’t easy. It takes practice. That’s why we have to make the time!

5. Sit still.

This goes hand-in-hand with  number four. Getting outside for a walk is a great way to clear your mind, but acceptance and growth takes stillness. When I walked by the ocean this week, I challenged myself to meditate in a public setting. I sat on a bench looking over the harbor. When I would hear people’s feet shuffle past me, I used the heaviness of their presence to guide me through my meditation rather than distract me from it. I don’t think I could have done this without feeling self conscious eight months ago.

Since January, I have been irregularly practicing guided meditations on Headspace and love the sense of gratitude and serenity I get from a session. It’s really helped me understand the value in sitting still and watching my thoughts pass through my mind. Yes, I said “watching.” In meditation, you don’t control your mind, rather you let it think the way it wants to, noticing how you feel, but not judging it. You can try a 30-day free trial of Headspace or you can even start practicing on your own. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and just start counting your breaths, inhale 1, exhale, 2, inhale 3, and so on until you reach ten. Then, start over. If your mind wanders, simply bring yourself back into your practice and start counting again.

Do you find you push yourself too much physically or mentally? What are some challenges you’ve faced being too determined or goal oriented? How do you take time for yourself? Tell me in the comment box below!

Health and happiness,

Emily

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Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I’m Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let’s get fit together!

41 comments
  1. […] battled knee injuries since May. A self-proclaimed fitness influencer, I’ve questioned my expertise during recovery. It’s been 7 months since I’ve been able to run, squat, lunge, or jump. […]

  2. I really do believe that mind and body are interlinked. My injuries often come at a time when I am stressed or unbalanced in some way. You’ve shared some valuable points and great inspiration in this post and I’m so glad you shared it with us at the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I’m featuring this post at the party this week. Hope to ‘see’ you there!

    1. Thank you so much April!! I’m happy you liked it and so excited to be featured 🙂

  3. Gosh, I feel exhausted just looking at your photos #welcomehomewednesday@_karendennis

    1. Haha why exhausted??!!

  4. Yoga often. Meditation daily. I rarely need a reset.

    1. Love that advice!!! I consider doing yoga and meditation both resets 🙂

  5. I love getting outside to run and be in the fresh air but when it is raining and you have to hit the treadmill, it’s just not the same

    1. Yes but doing more leisurely activity is even better for your mind! Try it 🙂

  6. Good post, but sadly for me, I cannot agree with your comment, “More is not necessarily better!” This may well apply to you and to every other reader. But for me I just need to get to that point first! It’s time to DO and not to procrastinate! The Best of Everything. #SYW

    1. Hi Shirley, I totally get what you’re saying. I’m not saying that you should procrastinate but when it comes to taking care of your body and your mind it’s important to take time to be still, reflect, and be at peace. It’s also just as important to rest so you don’t hit burnout in work or exercise

  7. Yes! People forget so often that more is not always better!

    1. 🙌🙌🙌👏👏👏 rest and recovery is just as important as work and exercise for long-term success!!

  8. Awesome post. I was thinking that I was going to push aside exercising today because I just didn’t feel like doing it but now I know I need to to get rid of some of this stress I’ve got.

    1. Yes get it girl!!! Just make sure you don’t workout while thinking about everything you’re stressing about. That’s how I tweaked my neck! Concentrate on fluid movement and enjoy your session

  9. These are great tips. I went offline this morning and it was amazing. I also did some much needed strength training. It definitely helped me feel better!

    1. That’s so awesome Rachel!!! It can be so hard to go offline (especially as a blogger) but even just a little bit of time away from the screen can help.

  10. I’m obsessed with your dad’s saying about the 3Ps – peace, perseverance, and patience. I love that little mantra.

    1. Thanks me too!! Every time I hear myself start to worry or doubt, I think peace, patience, perserverence

  11. Such great insight! Thanks so much for sharing about this topic!

    1. Thank you Jessica!!! It’s not easy to write about this stuff but it’s so worth it

  12. this is such an important topic! thank you! love your tips and I’m right there with the outdoors & unplugging (although unplugging is SOOOO hard)

    1. Thank you Rebecca!!! sometimes it feels impossible. So I’m right there with ya. We should do an unplug challenge lol

  13. I can definitely fall into this trap from time to time myself. Patience as you mentioned is the hard one

    1. Soooo hard! My boyfriend has wonderful patience and I’m like ” I want it and I want it now!” Lol

  14. Loving all of these tips, especially the 3Ps. There are always ways I can improve, and these are a great reminder 🙂

    1. Thank you Abbey!!! We are all works in progress and beautiful the way we are 🙂

  15. i can definitely do better with with patience and practicing gratitude…how do you do everything???? i have hard time finding balance.

    1. It’s a constant battle lol!! I set a list of intentions each day, try to get through them, and forgive myself when I don’t 🙂

  16. I resonate with this a lot. I have an injury from overtraining years ago that still bothers me. taught me a good lesson about recovery. As I read this it made me realize I’m doing the same thing to myself. Lovely advice at a good time.

    1. As much as I feel for you, it’s reassuring to know I’m not alone. What injury is it? What have you done since?

    1. Thank you!! I’m so happy I could help 🙂

  17. Definitely overthinking, not overtraining. Despite your schedule and volume, you appear balanced – well done! It’s a tough world to balance such competing demands but your top tips definitely enable it. Thanks for the post.

  18. The 3Ps are so true! I am currently studying medicine, optometry to be specific, and I have to have a balance of these three things to keep me healthy, happy and successful!

    1. That’s so awesome Jennifer!! What are you going to try doing first?

  19. Enjoying nature is so important and the seasons are so.inspiring…thanks

    1. You’re welcome, Ava! Yes, even here in California I see some changing seasons 🙂

  20. I’m loving this! I am a great fan of time outdoors and time alone, both of which replenish and restore me.

    1. Thank you Bernadette!! Happy to hear someone is on the same page 🙂

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