I Like The Way You Move
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
We all know how important movement is for a healthy life, mind, and body. We also know that not all movement is created equal, nor are our bodies.
The type of movement really depends not only on what you like but what your body likes. Ever feel beat up and drained after a workout? That’s your body’s way of telling you this movement isn’t working.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to tell you how to move. I’m simply sharing (you guys asked for it), what works for me and my body and how I slowly transitioned away from HIIT to low impact when I suspected my adrenals and thyroid needed some TLC.
Why I scaled back on high intense workouts:
First of all HIIT and spinning aren’t my favorite forms of exercise. I was an athlete growing up and most of my training was high intensity, but over time, I just started to dislike it. Secondly, I left feeling exhausted with depleted energy. I'd also find a couple of hours later, I was reaching for sweets and coffee or BOTH! That's just my personal experience.
When we do really high-intensity exercise or chronic cardio, our body releases sympathetic catecholamine hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine and aldosterone) in response to the stress. Remember that our body doesn’t differentiate physical stressors (sleep, infection, trauma, and exercise) from psychological ones. This will set up for fatigue and imbalanced blood sugar when done too much.
Doing higher intensity workouts less than 3 times a week is classified as acute. If you’re doing intense workouts more than once a day and several days a week, and you find you’re gaining weight, feeling inflamed and your sleep is impaired, your stress hormones, such as cortisol, are remaining elevated. If cortisol levels are chronically high, this can cause a host of serious health issues insulin resistance. Cortisol is a glucocorticoid – gluco: meaning glucose (sugar); and corticoid: meaning a steroid made from cholesterol. Cortisol functions to raise blood sugar to provide quick energy for necessary activities used to combat the stressor(s).
Over-exercising (doing 2-3 workouts a day) also releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), a peptide hormone, that increases the permeability (think leaky gut) of the intestinal wall as well as the wall of the lungs, skin, and blood-brain barrier.
My workout routine:
I like to mix it up with walking (I'm the self-proclaimed Forest Gump of walking), pilates, mega-reformer, yoga, barre, reformer, and Melissa Wood Health workouts. You’ll see that these are more on the low-impact side. For me, I feel my best when keeping it semi-low-impact, hot yoga, and pilates definitely get my heart rate up, but I always leave feeling so good! I'll throw a HIIT workout in a few times a month and sync it with my cycle. I really just listen to my body. For my cardio, I love walking and swimming. Again, this is what works for me and what I love!
It's important to note that I love sports and working out. I grew up an athlete playing ice hockey, soccer, and softball. Sports, the gym and group fitness classes are not for everyone, and I totally get it! For my clients who fall into this category, I tell them to aim for 30 minutes of cardio/ lights weights right when they wake up. Maybe it's a 20-minute walk followed by 10 push-ups. Maybe to start it's only walking and they work your way up to some at-home workouts.
Working out should not feel like punishment (hello, more stress hormones!), it should feel like self-care. Find what works for you!
A typical day would look like this:
Warm lemon water
30-60 minute fasted walk with the pup
If it’s in the morning, it’s 9 times out of 10 it's a fasted workout. I try to limit my evening workouts in an effort to support my circadian rhythm.
Some days I'll only walk and other days I add on Pilates or yoga post-walk. It really depends on a lot of factors: my sleep, blood sugar, and overall energy levels. I won’t do HIIT and another workout on the same day.
If you’ve been following me a while, you’re sick of hearing me say “my fasted morning workout,” ha!
Here’s why: Fasted workouts can increase human growth hormone, testosterone, and help burn fat and increase lean muscle. Going into a morning workout fasted can increase HGH, which will help preserve muscle tissue and ignites lipolysis (fat breakdown). Pair a morning fasted workout with the right exercise for you to get the biggest changes in body composition.
If you suffer from low blood sugar, eat before your workout.
Do you need to go fasted? No! Do what works for you, you know your body best, these are simply tools, not rules!
If I have a workout at after 10 am, I will not go in fasted unless I had a really late-night dinner and am still not hungry.
IMPORTANT: How you break your fast is so critical. Get in a mix of protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates (veggies, veggies, VEGGIES!). No time for veggies? Add in some plant fiber like chia or hemp seeds. Don’t skimp on amino acids - they lead to muscle growth and repair, but not too much as this will breakdown to blood sugar.