Extreme Exercise

Can too much weight training and dieting do more harm than good? Noora Kuusivuori shares her experience

May 24, 2013
Extreme Exercise

We talk about training and diet constantly in the world of fitness. What we don’t talk about as much is what happens when we do too much of it. Training and clean eating are without doubt things that I think should be a vital part of our lives to be healthy and feel great. As with anything though, there has to be a balance. Us fitness chicks (and some guys too) can sometimes go a little overboard with what we feel at the time is a healthy lifestyle.

I’ll share my own experiences on the topic. I am definitely a cardio addict and for the past few years, I have been doing pretty extreme amounts of cardio. Two to three hours every day on top of no joke weight training during my figure competition preps was normal. Add in constant photo shoots and I was on that program year round. That also included a diet of no carbohydrates, except on leg days. Needless to say, my metabolism had come to a stop and I was only burning fat during those long cardio sessions. Our bodies are smart and they adapt to everything. It’s called survival skills. When our bodies are under extreme physical strain and not being fed enough fuel to sustain the amount of activity, the metabolism slows down to conserve energy. Our bodies get very efficient at storing fat under those conditions.

One might think that the more we do this, the leaner we’ll look but the opposite is actually true. The more I dieted and did cardio, the softer I got. It was impossible to get truly ripped again no matter what I did. I had no ammo left and nothing in my diet to cut from.

How do you get your metabolism back on track once you are in this place of over worked and under nourished? The first and most difficult part for a lot of people in changing things is the mental part. I know that I was nervous about gaining weight if I did any less cardio or ate more. But I got over it and just cut my cardio in one third, added things to my diet that I had not been eating for a long time. All healthy things like oatmeal, yams, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, lean beef, fruits and berries. My goodness has my body loved it!

If your body is in an over trained state, you will feel your body thank you for the break from the extremes. And if you have been doing it for a while, your body will also start to look better once you slow down a bit. So just back off if you know you need to cut back and let your body recover. No need to be nervous about it. Take it from me, I feel great on 1/3 the cardio that I was doing a month ago. And it's amazing to have extra time in my day!

Chaundra Tangi who has helped me with my process says: “Sometimes we need to take a step back from ‘carb-aphobia’ mentality and go back to basics of nutrition… KISS: keep it simple smart! Eat clean, eat often and enjoy the process.” Slowly add foods that you have been restricting from your diet in small amounts and your metabolism will pick up immediately. The good news is that our metabolisms are also smart the other way. Once there is enough fuel, the body will burn it and more. You'll know right away because you will be hungry.

I would love to hear about your experiences and how it goes for you over trainers out there.


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A trainer who can help you recover from metabolic damage and has helped me get back to normal is Chaundra Tangi. Find her at: www.articulatebodies.com