First off, I would like everyone to give a warm welcome to BlogHer, at the right of the site. They have a lot of great material and sites, so please check out the links and discover some great new blogs.
Secondly, I recieved an email fromErinthat seems to echo the mind frame a lot of over-exercisers/excessive-dieters/disordered eaters seem to have.
Hi Kelly, Well, I’m 5′6 and was about 125-130 throughout high school. I know I was never overweight but I was on my way to college and was fearing the “freshman 15″ so I decided to get my act together over the summer focus on my diet and exercise. I got down to 115 before I went away to college and I just finished my freshman year at 113. I am a bit underweight now and obviously my doctors had concerns that I lost a significant amount of weight in a rather short time. I never had an eating disorder but I will admit that I and became too obsessed with my weight. Now, I am fully focussed on eating and being healthy and I am reading blogs like Kath’s to help me plan full balanced meals and snacks. Anyways, I still exercise but I know I don’t want to loose anymore weight and I probably could stand to gain a few more pounds. So when I exercise I have been doing strength training (hour weights class 3 days a week) but also cardio thrown in with the strength training and 2 days of cardio alone (hour kickboxing class one day and 30 min run one day). I want to tone and fill out my small frame so should I still continue to do cardio? Should I be focusing on running and burning calories as well as weights and strength training or focus more on strength training? Thanks a million! erin
Well, to answer your question, cardio of course burns calories, so you want to scale it back. The minimum recommendation for cardiovascular exercisefor health gainsis 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. So stick with that and you will be fine. Eat balanced throughout the day, continue to work out, and your body will even itself out. You will want to talk to your doctors about this, though, and see what they recommend because that quick of weightloss can cause health problems, and you want to make sure you are healthy before you continue to exercise. This is a little off topic, but it blows my mind that your doctor(s) have expressed they are worried about your weightloss, but have offered you no plan on how to get back to a healthy weight. my doctors are the same way…its like pulling teeth to get any information out of them.
Anyway, the reason I wanted to highlight this email was because of one very specific sentence:Should I befocusing on running and burning caloriesas well as weights and strength training or focus more on strength training?
People that over exercise, or are extreme in their diets or exercise, all have the same focus: calories out. That’s not what cardio is for. If you ask someone that is in a good, balanced place with their exercise why they do cardio, you are way more likely to get a response of:
“I exercise to relieve stress.” “I exercise to feel better about myself.” “I exercise because it gives me more energy.” “I exercise because it makes my bones stronger.” “I exercise because it feels good to be taking care of myself.” “I exercise to stay healthy.”
If you use exercise as a punishment, you aren’t going to enjoy it, but more importantly, you are putting yourself down everytime you start a workout. “I have to do this much cardio, because I ate this today.” Sound familiar? You are exercising because you failed, not because you want to. The feeling of failure is the worst there is, and when you continue to link exercise to failure, you are going to end up using it against yourself.
Exercise should make you feel good, not guilty. Focus on the positive, and focus on the real reason we exercise: to take care of ourselves. If you are reinforcing the idea that you aren’t good enough, or that you aren;t measuring up some how, it kind of negates the purpose, don’t you think?