Hormone No No #2: What's Causing You Stress at the Gym

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

Part #2 of Balanced Bombshells 3 Part Hormone No No's Series

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Do you remember the first time you found exercise to be your happy pill? That just by moving your body you felt empowered and strong?


I fell in love with running when I was in high school and was active on the basketball team and ran track. Fitness has always been a part of me.


Something I didn’t ever hear health and fitness professionals say was working out too much can be a bad thing. I’m like you where I was taught in order to look good and stay slim, you must workout more and eat less.


So I worked out. A lot.


By my mid-twenties, it became clear I needed to make a change in my lifestyle. I was scared to stop doing so much cardio in fear I’d gain weight.


But something really interesting happened - when I stopped running to give my body a rest, I lost 10 pounds!


I was amazed.


This experiment lead me to learn more about stress hormones.


I learned that excessive cardio exercise can increase stress hormones, and when left too elevated, make you gain weight in your midsection - no matter how well you eat. Partner this with a stressful job, long commute, not eating in regular intervals, and all the other daily habits of stress, and weight finds its way into your middle.


Hormone No No #2 = avoid excessive cardio for a lean body and calm mind.

You might be thinking, “well I’m not gaining weight from my cardio sessions.”


Do you find yourself bloating the week before and during your period? Sometimes the weight shows up monthly and doesn’t always hang around. This is because the week before and during your period, your body is more sensitive to stress. So if you try to keep up with your hectic, balls to the wall workouts, you might notice more water retention.


When I first met my client Kim, she was training for endurance mountain bike races. She explained some of her symptoms and couldn’t understand why she was gaining weight with how well she ate and how much she exercised.


I asked her to take a two week break from her training so her stress hormones could calm down. She agreed to one week, which I coached her through. Through food and incorporating calmer exercises into her cycle, she was able to keep up with her training and noticed she recovered faster - without weight gain! She actually lost 10 pounds!


You might be thinking cardio is how you maintain your weight. It can be a powerful tool, but hormonally, it needs to be done in the right quantities.


I like to do a cardio session one day, then walk and do yoga the next. It’s about balance. I rarely do cardio sessions every day, and I’m still amazed at how I’ve managed to stay in better shape!


Check out Hormone No No #3: what’s causing you stress in the kitchen.


Missed Hormone No No #1? Read it here.


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DISCLAIMER: Laura Charelle is not a licensed medical professional. The content on this site is for information purposes only and does not equal medical, fitness, or nutrition advice. Any and all health information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician, especially if you are on medication, have a medical condition, are pregnant, or suspect you could be pregnant.