Is your pursuit of health hurting you and your family?
Are you spending lots of time away from your loved ones running and biking around in circles? Are you promoting cheap, processed carbs (sugar in your body) as a healthy way to “fuel” your excessive cardio? Are you chugging sugarade thinking it is good for you? If so, your children are watching and will probably copy your endeavor to be healthy that is more than likely not going to succeed in the long term.
The reason it is likely to be a failed endeavor long term is that proper health starts in the kitchen with exercise just a mere 20% of the equation. The smartest and healthiest minds on the planet are echoing these words and many people have tried and failed at the exercise more, eat less (or eat more carbs) model.
Please remember the real benefit of exercise and do not try and use it as a means of controlling your weight:
The reason for your exercise is many factorial and could include: for fun, fitness, building strength, relaxation, stress relief, camaraderie, sense of achievement or even a little “me time”. It should never be at the expense of your health, sleep or even your family.
5 Ways Your Excessive Exercise Could Be Harming Your Family (Besides Yourself)
Anything lost can be found again except for time wasted!
If you are training too often then it is at the expense of time you could have spent with your family, cooking, recovering, learning a new skill or doing something you really love doing. This is where true enjoyment of life and living comes from.
You would be far better off spending time cooking and learning new recipes such as those in the cool cook book from Dr. William Davis of Wheat Belly fame.
We should always aim for quality over quantity with our training and not get sucked into the more is better trap. There are recent studies that show runners can live longer but up to a certain point, and not too fast or too frequently. The sweet spot seemed to hover around the 40-50km per week mark (walking and/or running) with not more than 5 days per week.
See here for the studies and a great TEDx talk: Run for your life! At a comfortable pace, and not too far: James O’Keefe.
“Extreme endurance training and racing can take a toll on your long-term cardiovascular health. For the daily workout, it may be best to have more fun and endure less suffering in order to attain ideal heart health.” Dr. James O’Keefe Jr. is the director of Preventative Cardiology Fellowship Program and the Director of Preventative Cardiology at Cardiovascular Consultants at the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute.
2. Carbo Loading Your Family Not Just Yourself and Eating Too Often
If you misguidedly think that cheap carbs are the best fuel for your excessive exercise then you’ll probably have a lot of pasta, bread, noodles, sports gels, energy bars etc. lying around your house. Your children then eat too much of this low nutrient dense food and could become Overfed and Undernourished and susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes and other illnesses/diseases.
Dr. Robert Su, the author of Carbohydrates Can Kill said it perfectly: “So, the most effective measure we as parents have to improve our children’s health is to help them maintain a constant blood glucose level within a healthy range. This is done simply. By simply restricting refined carbs to our children.”
If you are training too often and for too long then chances are you are eating too much and too often. This takes your blood sugars, and therefore insulin, on a roller coaster ride and can lead to Type 2 Diabetes and other problems.
3. Consuming Sugar Loaded Sports Drinks That Cause Serious Problems
Type 2 Diabetes is caused more through the shopping trolley then genetics. If you are consuming so many sports sugar drinks then chances are your children are too. This could be very harmful for a growing child’s body and mind. See how much sugar is loaded into these so called performance enhancing drinks in this article here.
You absolutely do not need these sugar drinks when you eat and drink nutritiously. Water and coconut water are sufficient.
Please remember that a healthy body has just one teaspoon of glucose circulating at any point in time. The inflammation and problems stemming from a flood of sugarade is clearly harmful and we can see the effects all around us with the obesity and Type 2 Diabetes epidemic worldwide.
4. Time Wasted Recovering (Not Just During Your Excessive Cardio)
When you are a sugar eater (bread, pasta, noodles, sugarade, gels etc.) then you’ll burn only sugar. You will never have access to the bigger fat burning fuel tank.
The other problem is the inflammation your over consumption of sugar causes. It bounces around in your blood stream causing inflammation before settling in on your butt or hips. This inflammation makes it harder for you to recover from your long exercise and is the reason you then wasted half your day recovering by lying on the couch or in the medics tent after a race. Again, you could have spent this time with your loved ones.
After my Ironman events (Reujen and Berns Tan too) I was ready to rumble. I cooked, played with my children and did not waste time. See here for How and why Fat Burning Beasts Recover Faster.
I will continue to run more marathons and do Ironman triathlons because I enjoy them. However, I will never over-train for these again at the expense of sleep, recovery or my family time (and therefore overall health and well-being).
5. Expensive in Terms of Money (Not Just Time Wasted)
I clearly enjoy exercising. I do it for enjoyment and to feel good and look better in my undies. I know it is but 20% or less of the recipe for long-term health. I used to train excessively and with my wrong diet I was not fit or particularly healthy.
The cost can be in terms of you getting sick by reducing your immune systems ability to fight illness and disease. If you get sick this could then be easily spread among family members and lead to high hospital and pharmaceutical expenses.
This example is best illustrated with my Primed friend who trained excessively to successfully complete his first half Ironamn in Cebu. Yippie right? Well, no. He then spent 4 nights in hospital as he had stressed his cortisol hormone and was chronically fatigued. The expenses were large and not quite what he expected from his health triathlon pursuit.
There is also a high cost in terms of buying sugarade, sports gels, energy bars, more carbo loading food that actually stimulates you to eat more. The problem is not really that you end up looking like Carbie but that you are sick first, then fat.
For more information on this fabulous topic read this about Chronic Cardio from the great Mark Sisson.
From 2 Primed clients who do not have to train as much as they did before:
(1) Jericho: “Losing mad weight, I’m 172 already. I stop working out everyday. I added rest cause the diet is good. I reduced the cardio as well and with the food that I’ve been eating. I’m very focused when I do everything.”
(2) Sarah: “I really really love it. It makes me feel terrific physically, mentally and emotionally. My fitness is at an all-time high (even though I train less) and my stress levels have NEVER been more manageable, my sleep has never been sounder.”
The Bottom Line
It is best to go for minimum effective dose.
Higher quality, more nutrient dense foods.
Higher quality, more muscle impacting eccentric gym.
Higher quality, more strength building running and not junk miles that take you away from your family and raise your stress on your body (hormone of cortisol).
Excessive training equates to no pain, no gain and no brain!.
Cool doctor Ted Naiman does not over-train running around in circles. He eats very nutritiously (Primed/LCHF), trains eccentrically and looks like this.