1. Health
Paige Waehner

Do You Ever Guilt Yourself into Too Much Exercise?

By November 7, 2012

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If you've ever been in an exercise slump, you know how hard it is to get out of it and the biggest mistake we make is allowing our feelings of guilt take center stage. That guilt makes us think that the only way to make up for lost time is by doubling up, maybe tripling up our workouts until we catch up.

Too much exercise can cause too much soreness and too much soreness causes too much pain and too much pain causes you to lie in bed and consider the idea of hiring a crane to get you out, which you would do if only you could reach your phone.

All of that can cause you to quit exercise completely because no one wants to be known as 'that crazy person who had to use a crane to get out of bed.' Rather than let guilt or shame make your decision, come at it from a more logical place. If you've been off exercise for a while, there are two things you need to do:

  1. Deal with your guilt - We all mess up and so will you. Kicking yourself or using that guilt to spur you into intense workouts your body isn't ready for is a waste of energy and won't always make you feel better.
  2. Ease back into your workouts - How much your body can do depends on how long your exercise break was. A good rule of thumb: If it's been more than 2-3 weeks, start at a beginner level. It's hard to reign yourself in, especially when you think about how much you used to do before you stopped exercising. However, that restraint will pay off in the end. You'll get stronger and fitter without pain, soreness...or having to use a crane.

What about you? Have you ever gone too far with your workouts out of guilt? How do you handle it when you miss workouts and guilt strikes? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

January 16, 2008 at 1:28 pm
(1) Matt says:

in your article about choosing a trainer, you say that a college degree isn’t necessary. i disagree. as a fitness professional, i find too many “personal trainers are very uneducated based on poor certification choices. this shows in their work. if the certification isn’t accredited, it’s not quality. even some that are, don’t hold much weight. the nsca is the only one that requires a college education to be certified, amybe that’s why all the others have based some of their knowledge off of them. they were the first and for a long time, only, nationaly accredited certification. i, as a fitness professional require at minimum a nasm cert., but the individual must be enrolled in a health related degree. 4 years of education should carry far more worth than a weekend seminar follwed by a test. thank you for taking the time to read this.

January 17, 2008 at 7:14 am
(2) k says:

i agree with matt. there is a difference between 4 years(at least) of dedication of study as opposed to a weekend to 6 months of study. not saying all certifications are a bad thing but would trust my health and well being with somebody who took the commitment to really study the science of exercise and health.

otherwise i totally agree with most of the statements in this article. you see it all the time.the lady that does to much to soon b/c she thinks she will lose weight and tone faster, the poor guy trying to lift heavy weight but with horrid form and so on and so on.

January 17, 2008 at 2:02 pm
(3) James says:

I am going to have to disagree with Matt. I am an ACSM certified personal trainer, yet I have never stepped foot into a college classroom. I have a firm understanding and knowledge of the human body and how it works (physiology). I would even go so far as to say I am more knowledgeable than most of my co-workers that have a 4yr degree. My suggestion would be to interview a potential personal fitness instructor; Get references (who has he/she trained) and then talk to those references to see if they were/are satisfied with the training they received. I wouldn’t let a cabinet maker remodel my kitchen without checking references, nor should a gym member allow a personal trainer to remodel their body without checking his/hers.
The rest of your article is pretty much dead-on (as has been already acknowledged).

January 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm
(4) Ray Dryden says:

As nearly always, your article is well written and informative. That aside, I have to join those who would take issue with Matt. I’ve been a trainer for nearly 30 years and, at 60 years old, have a successful studio and a great working relationship with a regional hospital. A good many of my clients are doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators. They have medical degrees, but are not experts – in many cases even on a ‘lay’ level – with nutritional and physical training matters as they relate to wellness. I have three college degrees (none health related), and have been certified for many, many years. All of that doesn’t hold a candle to the constant pursuit of new knowledge, concern for the client’s health, and experience. College degrees are a good thing, experiencing the real world is better.

January 18, 2008 at 1:14 am
(5) Ted says:

I went on a serious run with the LAPD pre- academy training course. I was’nt running that much until that day. Its been a few monthes now and my legs havent been the same since. Any advice or answers?

January 18, 2008 at 7:24 am
(6) David says:

I am also going to have to disagree with Matt. I don’t have a degree but I work in a sports medicine clinic and have a far greater knowledge base than many trainers I have met with exercise physiology degrees. I have found in my own experience that trainers with a degree have less knowledge and bigger egos. I have people come in to the office where I work because they have been hurt by something their trainer with a degree had them do…A piece of paper doesn’t make you a better trainer!

January 18, 2008 at 1:06 pm
(7) RJ says:

I think all of these people who make such a big deal about having a college degree to be a Personal Trainer should have taken an English class in school and learned to capitalize their sentences.

January 18, 2008 at 1:20 pm
(8) Daniel says:

I have to agree with Matt on the cert process. Although James has a point that there are trainings with a firm understanding of the body and mechanics, there are many more that do more harm than good. Those with the understanding may not have stepped into a classroom but probally went out of their way to learn these things that many non college classes/cert programs do not require a person to have a grasp of. Trainings have the potential to great good and great harm so I will stay with the ones that have proved themselves. No offense to those of you who are certed with the knowledge, but YOU are a rare exception to the rule. Classes are not the end of any learning. I look for an expert who is serious about their continuing education because the process does not end with the degree.

January 21, 2008 at 7:35 pm
(9) Storm says:

I have to disagree with Matt.. Mr. Dryden and I share the same opinion as well. I am certified by ISSA recently earning an average of 90% in my test. Experience will not be learned in books nor from a college degree. Training to give results to your clients ONLY comes from experience. I have taken my certification after earning 18 years of experience as a competitive bodybuilder and a Fitness Trainer. First impression counts as a Trainer, you must exude the total package of what you preach. Applying theory to “experience” is the way to go!

April 9, 2013 at 12:18 am
(10) lazermario says:

I’m not sure why the comments for this article seem to be about a different article, but anyway…

I view guilt as a tool. Its function for me is creating awareness of a problem so as to bringattention to and correct it. In the field of wellness I only allow guilt until I realize that it is signalling an area where I may need improvement, which is usually pretty fast. After I become aware of the problem, I release the guilt (or put it back in the toolbox, if you will) and focus on what end result I want to create, not on the perceived negatives that exist in the moment.

Example: Last week I only worked out two days because I was sick. Though it was unpleasant for me to restrain myself from my normal routine, I asked myself a few questions to find out if guilt was appropriate in that situation. When I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t, I let it go. This week I’m feeling whole again and back on my routine. Even though I have to “rev it up” slowly because of he off week, I am not carrying around the guilt, so my workouts this week are/will be feeling enjoyable instead of like punishment for my imperfection.

I used to try to “make up” workouts, especially when I was just starting out with a serious exercise routine, but I quickly realized that kind of obssessive behavior would not produce lasting benefits, so I modified it, and I feel much more in control now, without the clingy and over-controlling mentality I released.

When you HAVE control, you don’t WANT control.
Let go of WANTING it, and you’ll HAVE it.

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