How my workouts have changed while healing adrenal fatigue

When it comes to working out, I used to have the mentality that more is always better. I thought this way for a couple different reasons.  I enjoy working out, I like the feeling of a good sweat.  I viewed working out as a way to measure my self-worth.  The more I did, the more workouts I accomplished, the better I must be.  I worked out to look a certain way, to fit a mold of how I thought my body should look.  I worked out to have control.  I also have a career in fitness so workouts are part of who I am. 

Ever since I found out my body was begging me to slow down, that my adrenal glands were exhausted from the stress, I have a different approach to my workouts.  I now only workout to make my body feel good.  My workouts aren’t a punishment or a measurement of self-worth.  My workouts are an expression of self-care.  This new approach looks different every week, sometimes every day.  Instead of forcing myself to get through workouts that I am too tired or sore for, I do what my body is asking for.  I like to say that I now workout intuitively. 

Before learning about adrenal fatigue, I would push myself super hard and do as much as I could.  Sometimes this would mean 2-3 workouts a day.  There was a time when I would go for a run, take pilates and then do a yoga sculpt class.  I was convinced that the more I did the better I would feel and the better I would look.  This was the opposite of how I actually felt.  I was so tired all the time, my body ached and I was way more inflamed.  Even mornings I woke up completely dead, I would still force myself to do too much because that is how I felt good about myself.  I thought that by doing less or taking breaks I was being weak.  In reality, I was damaging my body.

Now that I know there is a such thing as over exercising and I saw the lab work of what was going on internally, I am much more comfortable pulling myself back, taking rest days when I need.  There are some mornings I had the intention of going for a run but I wake up tired or feeling a little off and I will choose to take a walk instead.  Sometimes on a Sunday morning I was planning to go to yoga but lying in bed with my husband sounds way better when I wake up.  Things are different now because I listen to my body, I take in how I feel and I let that dictate what I do.  I have traded most of my high intensity workouts for slower, deeper workouts.  Another big change is I absolutely do not work out 3 times a day anymore.

Since I started actually listening to my body, I feel completely different.  I have way more energy than I did before, more energy for other things I enjoy like hanging out with friends, cooking, reading and writing.  My body looks better now than it did when I was doing too much.  Once I slowed down and let my body have time to rest and recover, the results were what I was looking for all along.  Now when I am sore from a workout it is in a good way, a way that I know I worked hard, not in a way that my body just wants to give up.

While healing my adrenal fatigue, my workouts look like this. 

·      Way less running and way more walking

·      Vinyasa yoga classes, not sculpt yoga classes

·      Pilates only once or twice a week

·      A short HIIT workout instead of an hour at the Santa Monica stairs

·      Most importantly, way more time on the couch resting

It is hard to change from a go go go mentality to one that allows you to slow down.  I still find my mind racing and telling me to get up and move, do more, work harder.  As each day goes by and I can feel the benefits of slowing down, it gets easier to quiet that voice inside my head.  I don’t think it will ever go away, I am wired to be an over achiever but I no longer feel the guilt and shame for listening to my body.  My new approach is to workout smarter, not harder. Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to take a whole week off from working out just because I feel like it.