Too Much Exercise is Toxic

One of the hardest things for me to get across to my new personal training clients is that too much exercise can be toxic to your body. For example, I just had a new client come to my gym last week that was in her 30’s with low body fat and apparently in good shape. I asked her how she keeps herself looking so fit and she said “I like to workout a lot so I can eat whatever I want”.

My 25 years of experience as a personal trainer has showed me that trying to control your weight with long hard daily workouts is an approach that will one day get you into a lot of trouble physiologically. I know it is hard to convince a 35 year old that too much hard exercise is not good for them especially when they have been controlling their weight so well with long hard spinning classes, long runs and body scripting classes on a daily basis. However, at 35 years of age the reality is that you are still relatively young and don’t realize the long-term damage you are doing to your body by over training for years.

I have had dozens of clients come to me in their mid forties and fifties that need knee and hip replacements for not listening to their bodies and pushing too hard for so long. Plus, there is a toxic reaction from exercising too long and hard that puts undue stress on your organs that people are unaware of.  For example, people have actually died from renal failure from running a marathon.

Keep in mind that I personally know how people feel who like to exercise. I over trained for over 20 years until about 12 years ago when I went to my doctor for my yearly physical. When the blood work came back my doctor called me and asked if I have been working out really hard. I told him yes and he said that my Creatin Kinase (CK) levels in my blood were through the roof. CK is used as a marker in blood work to determine if someone had a heart attack or extreme muscle breakdown. He told me to take a week off from working out and come back for another blood test. I did and my levels went back to normal. That moment was a real wakeup call for me.

The goal of any well thought-out fitness program should be to create the exercise response you want in the least amount of time, while keeping hard work to a minimum. The whole idea is to be very efficient in how you train. You can be just as fit and have as high of a Vo2max.  (Vo2max is a great indicator of how aerobically fit you are) as genetically possible by just doing a few short hard sprints a few times per week.  Same goes for putting on muscle. All you really need is one hard work set per exercise to put on all the muscle your genetics will allow.

The whole idea of eating a bunch of empty calories every day and then having to workout long and hard to keep your weight under control is just not worth the risk to your body. It’s much smarter to control your weight with a healthy all natural diet and keep the hard workouts short and to a minimum.

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Best – Mike Cola

Fitness Blog


About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York.Connect with Mike @ Google+

7 Responses to “Too Much Exercise is Toxic”

  1. Hey Mike,
    You mentioned something a lot of people don’t often ponder on. Some people actually tend to believe that over-working out while they are young, would somehow allow them to be fit enough to take a 100% break once they get older. The truth of the matter is, you have to spread your workout throughout your entire life, and make healthy eating, a second nature. If you haven’t eaten healthy in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, it is very painful to begin doing so in your 50’s. Coincidentally, that’s when your muscles and bones start showing their first signs of weakness…Bad timing isn’t it 😉

    Hey Mike – Just a quick FYI; 3rd paragraph, 3rd line, you wrote in “undo stress”…It is “undue stress”..I appreciate it when people correct me; I hope you do as well!

    Great article!
    Cheers
    Kodjo

  2. Thanks Kodjo,

    Best – Mike

  3. Great article Mike. I’m 30 right now and I sometimes push myself over the top in my workouts, and sometimes I’ve had to pay for it. One of my knees has a bit of a grind to it now, and it has to be in a tensor bandage for my runs in order to not feel sore after running for 10k or so.

    Keep up the great posts – I’ll be coming back soon for more information.

    James

  4. Hey Mike,
    You mentioned something a lot of people don’t often ponder on. Some people actually tend to believe that over-working out while they are young, would somehow allow them to be fit enough to take a 100% break once they get older. The truth of the matter is, you have to spread your workout throughout your entire life, and make healthy eating, a second nature. If you haven’t eaten healthy in your 20′s, 30′s and 40′s, it is very painful to begin doing so in your 50′s. Coincidentally, that’s when your muscles and bones start showing their first signs of weakness…Bad timing isn’t it

    +1

  5. It’s like anything – eating, working, and working out – too much of a good thing is not such a good thing.

    I’ve over-trained before. I end up fatigued all the time. It’s terrible. Now I set out a game plan for my workouts and stick to it. When I stick to it, I don’t overtrain.

    Also, I’ve been guilty after taking a few weeks off to come back and workout super hard to make up for lost time, which is nuts. I hurt like mad the next 4 days. It’s much better to return to our workouts slowly and in moderation rather than trying to make up for lost time.

  6. I agree too much exercise is toxic which is the reason my clients use the Repetitive Seven Day Program where they utilize short intense home workouts per day so they will not only achieve their goal but develop the habit.

    GET FIT WITH PASSION

  7. @Kodjo Thanks for this insight :O I’m in my early twenties and I’ve never thought about it that way…I mean, I know that working out is a lifestyle that you have to live every day – and there’s no way you’ll ever be “finished” working out, lol. But what you said about food struck me. It really makes sense to pay even more attention to eating healthy when you are young…