Exercise leaves you exhausted instead of energized.
Exercise should make you feel good and give you an energy boost. Yes, you might feel tired or fatigued right after a tough workout, but if you leave the gym exhausted, tired or generally feeling like you could go home and take a nap, it might be a sign that you’re overdoing it. If you’re not getting that feel-good endorphin rush that’s one of the awesome by-products of being active, it’s time to take a look at your training and see what your body may be telling you!
You get sick easily (or it takes forever to get over a cold).
When you exercise regularly, your body is constantly spending energy and working to repair those muscles. This means that when you come in contact with a bacteria or a virus, your immune system isn’t able to give 100 percent to fighting off that cold or flu. So you get sick and can stay sick longer if you don’t give your body the time off it needs to take care of itself. Remember, your body is an amazing machine that does much more than just power your workouts!
You have the blues.
Do the workouts you used to love feel more like a chore than anything else? Or do you generally feel down and unmotivated? It may seem counterintuitive since exercise has been shown to boost feel-good endorphins, but overtraining has been linked to a decrease in energy and mood. So if you have the blues, letting your musclesrecover for a few days and getting really good sleep might be just what your body really needs. Of course, if you are severely depressed, see your doctor.
You’re unable to sleep or you can’t seem to get enough sleep.
How are you sleeping lately? Is your mind racing when your head hits the pillow? Are you unable to fall asleep no matter how many sheep you count or how tired you feel? Are you on the other end of spectrum where no matter how many hours of sleep you clock, you still feel tired? Both of these can be caused by overtraining. When you exercise too much, your body can interpret it as a stressor, sending out stress hormones like cortisol that can make going to sleep difficult. On the flip side, overtraining can actually make some people more tired than normal. Sleep is a time when the body and brain recovers, and if you’re pushing it too hard, your body might be telling you that it needs more rest that you’re giving it.
You have ”heavy” legs.
You used to go out for a walk or a jog with a spring in your step! But these days? It seems as if your legs have been traded out for heavy lead; it takes a lot more effort to get going and stay going. Sound familiar? If so, overtraining may be wreaking havoc on your body. Heavy, tired and overly fatigued legs (or arms) can be caused by muscles that just haven’t had enough time to fully recharge and repair.
You have a short fuse.
If the smallest things set you off or if you’re feeling more irritable than normal, it could be due to over-exercising. When we’re tired and worn down, it’s far easier to let the little stuff get to us than it would if we were well rested. Think of exercise like spending too many hours at work on a big project for weeks at a time. Sometimes you just need a vacation and a break for some rest and relaxation!
You’re regularly sore for days at a time.
We all know that muscle soreness is a good thing. It means that we’ve really challenged ourselves and that our bodies are working hard to make us stronger and fitter. But if you’ve been doing an activity or exercise for awhile but tend to get sore really easily—or stay sore for more than 48 hours—it’s probably a sign that you overdid it and next extra rest. This is why it’s so important to ease into exercise, adding time or intensity slowly over weeks instead of all at once. The body simply needs time to adapt and improve!
If you have any of these signs, it’s probably worth cutting back on the intensity, frequency and/or duration of your workouts. Swap an hour run for 30 minutes of easy yoga or trade that high-intensity boot camp for a long walk with your dog. While it might seem like you’re taking time off from your fitness and weight-loss goals, you’re actually doing the opposite: You’re making yourself stronger by giving your body the rest that it’s (subtly) asking for!
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation.
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and offers NO nutritional value. It only adds empty calories to your diet. Why not spend your calorie budget on something healthier?
Alcohol affects your body in other negative ways. Drinking may help induce sleep, but the sleep you get isn’t very deep. As a result, you get less rest, which can trigger you to eat more calories the next day. Alcohol can also increase the amount of acid that your stomach produces, causing your stomach lining to become inflamed. Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to serious health problems, including stomach ulcers, liver disease, and heart troubles.
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which is detrimental to your diet plans. Alcohol actually stimulates your appetite. While you might be full from a comparable amount of calories from food, several drinks might not fill you up. On top of that, research shows that if you drink before or during a meal, both your inhibitions and willpower are reduced. In this state, you are more likely to overeat—especially greasy or fried foods—which can add to your waistline. To avoid this, wait to order that drink until you’re done with your meal.
Many foods that accompany drinking (peanuts, pretzels, chips) are salty, which can make you thirsty, encouraging you to drink even more. To avoid overdrinking, sip on a glass of water in between each alcoholic beverage.
Skipping a meal to save your calories for drinks later is a bad idea. Many drinkers know they’ll be having some alcohol later, whether going to a bar, party, or just kicking back at home. Knowing that drinking entails extra calories, it may be tempting to “bank” some calories by skipping a meal or two. This is a bad move. If you come to the bar hungry, you are even more likely to munch on the snacks, and drinking on an empty stomach enhances the negative effects of alcohol. If you’re planning on drinking later, eat a healthy meal first. You’ll feel fuller, which will stop you from overdrinking. If you are worried about a looming night out with friends, include an extra 30 minutes of exercise to balance your calories—instead of skipping a meal.
What are more important, calories or carbs? You might think that drinking liquor is more diet-friendly because it has no carbohydrates, while both wine and beer do contain carbs. But dieters need to watch calories, and liquor only has a few calories less than beer or wine. Plus, it is often mixed with other drinks, adding even more empty calories. Hard liquor contains around 100 calories per shot, so adding a mixer increases calories even more. If you are going to mix liquor with anything, opt for a diet or club soda, instead of fruit juice or regular soda. Sweeter drinks, whether liquor or wine, tend to have more sugar, and therefore more calories. In that respect, dry wines usually have fewer calories than sweet wines.
The list below breaks down the number of calories in typical alcoholic drinks. Compare some of your favorites to make a good choice next time you decide to indulge in a serving of alcohol.
DrinkServing SizeCaloriesRed wine5 oz.100White wine5 oz.100Champagne5 oz.130Light beer12 oz.105Regular beer12 oz.140Dark beer12 oz.170Cosmopolitan3 oz.165Martini3 oz.205Long Island iced tea8 oz.400Gin & Tonic8 oz.175Rum & Soda8 oz.180Margarita8 oz.200Whiskey Sour4 oz.200
Alcohol can easily be the enemy when it comes to weight loss. It adds extra calories to your diet, encourages you to eat more food, and alters the normal digestive process. Not only are the extra calories a hindrance, but the changes in food breakdown sends turns those extra calories into unwanted body fat. Alcohol does have a bad reputation when it comes to weight loss, and rightfully so, so be smart about your alcohol choices if you’re watching your weight. This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople’s nutrition expert Becky Hand, MS, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.
Whether you’re tossing and turning all night thinking of everything going on in your life, or just choose to stay up till the wee hours of the night working or playing, you are missing out on one of the most powerful health and weight loss boosters around — SLEEP! Here are 5 good reasons why you need to get a good night of shut-eye.
- Lack of sleep promotes weight gain
Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your metabolism and has negative physiological effects promoting weight gain. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that sleeping for short durations (less than 7 hours per night) is associated with future weight gain. In fact, the study showed that women who sleep less than 7 hours per night are likely to gain an extra 2.5 lbs.
- Sleep promotes more FAT burned when trying to lose weight
If you are eating clean, exercising and trying to lose weight, lack of sleep can impede your efforts. A study conducted at the University of Chicago suggests that lack of sleep reduces weight loss efforts by 55%. In addition to that, in those who slept less, only 25% of their weight loss came from fat — the rest came from loss of muscles and water (not good). Whereas, those who slept more, lost more actual fat than those didn’t.
- Sleep regulates your hunger hormone
When you compromise on sleep, your body produces more ghrelin (the hormone that triggers hunger) and less leptin (the hormone that tells you to STOP eating). Adequate levels of sleep (7 to 8 hours/night) regulate your hunger hormones, whereas 5 hours or less can promote a hormonal imbalance1. Think about it: if you’re tired, you tend to reach for food as fuel to boost your sagging energy (and tend to be hungrier thanks to ghrelin). But higher ghrelin levels are also associated with reduced energy expenditure and reduced fat oxidization. That, coupled with the decrease of leptin that tells you to stop eating, is a potential weight gain nightmare.
- Lack of sleep depletes your body of vitamins and minerals
Vitamin C is such an important vitamin; an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to manage stress, support your immune system, slow down signs of aging caused by free radical damage, boost mood, and aid in weight loss. In fact, studies show that upping the intake of vitamin C before a workout promotes more calories burned. Vitamin C deficiency may also be correlated with weight gain. And, guess what? Sleep deprivation sucks you dry of vitamin C — along with other precious minerals, such as zinc — further compromising your immune system and contributing to weight gain.
- Lack of sleep increases risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease2 3, diabetes4, and cancer.5Studies suggest women who work shift work have higher incidence of breast cancer.6 7 Melatonin, an important hormone produced during sleep, seems to inhibit the estrogen pathway, and its antioxidant activity may specifically combat free radical damage due to estrogen metabolism8. If we’re not sleeping well, melatonin production is reduced, increasing the potential risk of estrogen-related cancers.