Many of us are working from home now.
We no longer need to travel to and from work, our 2 hour commute is now gone!
That’s two hours of our lives we just got back, what should we do with them?
Oh I know, let’s do a double! Ooo or even maybe just workout for 3 hours straight! Yea that sounds great.
Hold your horse there buddy.
Doing high intensity workouts and weight training for 2, 3, 4 hours a day may not be the best thing. Now if you’re a professional athlete who gets paid to workout, yes you should ABSOLUTELY be working out that much.
I’ve got some bad news for most of us though, most of us are NOT professional athletes, and never will be. Sorry for the bad news, but sometimes we just need to be told.
Alright now that the harsh truth is out of the way, should you be working out 2, 3, 4 times a day? No, that would be overtraining and later this week we’ll get into why this is detrimental to you, but for today we’re going to go over the psychology of WHY you have this desire in the first place.
There are two reasons why we overtrain.
A sympathetic state
Let’s tackle the first one, as it’s a bit easier to understand. When we workout our body releases endorphins, if it didn’t we wouldn’t workout. Endorphins are designed to mask our pain. This is why we can run for longer distances and push harder in workouts. If we didn’t experience the “endorphin high”, that feeling of euphoria after working out, most of us would never do it again, as there would just be pain. So we workout more to chase that high, sounds terrible, but it’s true.
So a sympathetic state….. no it doesn’t mean you have sympathy for someone or something. Our sympathetic nervous system is in charge of our pupils, liver, adrenal glands, sweat glands, and airways, among a few other things. In today’s current environment, our sympathetic nervous systems are in overdrive. Think of it like being in a constant state of flight or fight. There is so much uncertainty in today’s world, with what’s going to happen next, to how do I control my kids now that school is out for summer, to will I keep my job? So in order to over compensate for this tax on our sympathetic nervous system, we indulge in sympathetic overtraining, or high volumes of anaerobic exercise. Think of this as the “All I want to do is do 4 workouts back to back where I push real hard, crush it, and am lying flat on back rolling on the ground afterwards.” It’s our subconscious way of relieving the pressure on our sympathetic nervous system.
Both of these factors create a habit loop similar to any addiction. You feel constantly stressed out and unsure of how to handle your current environment, so you crush yourself in workouts to momentarily escape the consistent flight or fight feeling and get that endorphin high.
The problem is, all of this has big side effects, which we will talk about later this week, so stay tuned!
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