We at Mission Lean encourage all women (and all people really) to focus on their fitness and health first and foremost. Being fit and eating well is part of being healthy overall. Fitness is about how you feel inside your body and how your body performs — not just how it looks. We always encourage our clients and our subscribers to think like athletes and do everything to ensure their body is functioning at its highest level. Lean is about being fast, agile, flexible and strong. It’s workouts that give you toned, functional muscles and meals that give you positive, lasting energy throughout the day.
Sometimes, however, people can take good habits to the extremes. And when this happens, the consequences can be very unhealthy. Let’s talk about 4 of them:
- Extreme dieting while training very hard at the same time. Sometimes, when super motivated to lose weight, women can go to extremes — spending hours at the gym while cutting their calorie consumption as low as possible. The body cannot withstand this kind of abuse and will eventually break down or suffer negative consequences. Amenorrhea (missing your period) is one side-effect that affects many female athletes and can affect anyone who is on an extreme weight loss program. Remember, it’s always important to eat enough food to energize you throughout the day and fuel your workouts. The goal of weight management should be to have a healthy body that you feel amazing living inside of every day — to reach your healthy weight and not the absolute lowest weight.
- Working out late at night. Working out has a lot of great benefits — giving you more energy, raising your heart rate, moving blood throughout your entire body… but those are things that you want to feel during the day and not when you’re supposed to go to sleep. If you work out after 8, expect to stay up for at least a couple hours more. The workout will keep you awake, not to mention will probably make you hungry some time later. Eating right before going to bed is not recommended. So working out so late will throw off your entire circadian rhythm. If you consistently ignore your body’s natural circadian rhythms, you will suffer negative consequences in the long run whether it’s burnout or something even more serious.
- Spending hours on the elliptical when you’re healthy and fit enough to do a more intense workout instead. If you are able to, try doing a challenging 20- 30 minute run on the treadmill instead of heading to the elliptical for an hour or more. I see women in the gym spend literally hours on the elliptical machine when they could get far better benefits doing a more intense workout. Of course, sometimes injury or other health factors force a person to use the elliptical. However, if you’re healthy… work on your cardio fitness by getting your heart rate up with a run or a HIIT session. The high intensity workouts will regulate your metabolism, appetite, and sleep.
- Heavily restricting calories. This is very common for women. If you restrict your calories too much, you will wind up depleted, exhausted, and without motivation to do very much. Being hungry and tired all the time will leave you unable to workout properly or sleep well. This will affect your general health beyond just the physical. It’s best to eat healthy, whole foods in the proper portion for your body and stay active.