8 Signs You Could Be Overtraining

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More doesn’t mean better results. It’s important to balance work and rest in order to lose weight and repair precious muscle tissue for optimal results physically and mentally. When you’re in danger of overtraining, you are in danger of several factors that affect your health. Here are 8 important signs and symptoms of overtraining you should be looking out for.

SIGN 1: Illness/Sickness

Illness is a normal part of life, but what if you’re becoming ill more often or have symptoms of illness returning on a more frequent or daily basis? When we overtrain, our bodies are under an increased level of stress. With higher levels of bodily stress comes weakness in the immune system.

SIGN 2: Fatigue/Tiredness

One of the greatest benefits of living a healthy lifestyle is that it helps to increase and balance your energy levels so you have more stamina and mental clarity/focus throughout the day, but when you begin feeling chronically fatigued, that’s definitely a red flag for overtraining.

SIGN 3: Aches/Pains/Injury

As you’re probably aware, aches and pains come with the territory of working out. It’s called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and it starts to make itself known about 24-48 hours after a workout. This type of ache and pain in the muscle is normal and it’s a good thing. It means change and growth and shape of the muscle fibers. However, if you’re feeling a massive pain in your knee with every step of your run or incessant popping and crackling of a joint during an exercise, then it’s time to pull back on the reigns, modify your training, or have it checked out. Another concern with overtraining is that you could be slowly shifting into improper form during your workouts, which could also be causing skeletal problems and alignment issues that lead to imbalances, pain, discomfort, and injury.

SIGN 4: Loss of Motivation

Although it can sometimes be tough to initially start a fitness and health routine and there are definitely days you’ll encounter where you “just don’t feel like it,” this lifestyle should, in general, be motivating and enjoyable once you get the habits down and find the workouts you really look forward to. So if, all of a sudden, you’re struggling on a daily basis to workout when it’s normally not such a struggle to get up and get moving, then take a look at how much you’ve been training lately.

SIGN 5: Extreme Change in Appetite

In relationship to overtraining you can notice either a loss or increase in appetite. If you’re experiencing a loss in appetite it is due to physical exhaustion as well as an increase in the release of appetite-suppressing hormones. If you’re experiencing an increase in appetite it is due to your body searching for extra calories for recovery and replenishment of your glyogen stores.

SIGN 6: Plateau/Lack of Progress

You’ve probably heard the phrase related to weight loss that says it’s all about “calories in versus calories out.” So since 3500 calories = 1 pound, then MORE calories out during your workouts daily means more weight lost in a week, right? WRONG! There really is more to losing weight than calories in versus calories out. There’s a fine line you don’t want to cross. Your body needs calories for energy. In fact, the word calorie literally means energy. If you overtrain, you’re sending your body a signal and it progressively doesn’t have the resources to properly take care of itself. Its first priority is survival mode, so your goals of weight loss or muscle gain (or insert goal) get put on the back burner as far as your body’s priorities are concerned.

SIGN 7: Changes in Sleep

In addition to feeling chronically fatigued, you can actually suffer from the opposite, as well. You can feel over-excited, restless, and have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep at night. This happens especially if you’re overtraining at really high intensity levels (cardio or weightlifting like HIIT or Power Lifting). What happens is your Sympathetic Nervous System (responsible for “fight or flight”) gets excitable and your heart rate has a hard time coming down. This is also known as Sympathetic Overtraining. The ability of your body to enter into quality sleep and recovery mode is critical for health and physical progress.

SIGN 8: Difficulty Completing Workouts

As a general rule, you should be lifting to failure on your exercises in order to build and grow your muscles, add strength, get lean, rev your metabolism, etc., but when you try to progressively move through your workout routine from week to week and notice you’re not able to lift as much or perform as many reps as you did the previous week, then that could mean you’re working out too much.

In general, all of these signs and symptoms stem from high stress levels in the body. What happens when you overtrain is that your body deals with an increased level of stress. When your body is stressed the CNS (Central Nervous System) kicks in and the brain sends help to the receptors of the body where it is needed. Additionally, during stress high levels of cortisol are released from the adrenal glands. This can then lead to adrenal fatigue. Your body is such a dynamic, smart, and interconnected system that responds appropriately based on the signals we repeatedly send it. So if you’re noticing any of the signs above, it may be time to look at your current workout routine and make some adjustments. More time in the gym absolutely does not equal better results. You need to strike a livable and realistic balance between life and workouts that allows for optimal results AND the ability to be a rockstar in all the other areas of your life.

Yours in Health,

Tanya

Cellulite: How Do I get Rid of It?

ending-cellulite-12We’re all far too familiar with the term cellulite…and we dislike it, right? In fact, “dislike” might not be a strong enough word. I frequently get questions about cellulite – most of which ask me how in the world you can get rid of it. Well, I’ve decided to create a blog to answer all the most common questions regarding cellulite – including what it is, who gets it, why we get it, and what we can do about it. Here goes!

What is cellulite?

Cellulite is the term that describes the dimpled appearance of skin often found on the legs, butt, and even the abdomen. We often use terms such as cottage cheese, orange peel, and hail damage to describe the “unsightly” appearance of cellulite. The reason the skin looks dimpled is because there are uneven fat deposits that push through connective tissue just below the surface of the skin.

Who gets cellulite?

One common myth is that only overweight or obese women get cellulite. In reality, though, very skinny women also have cellulite. And not just women get cellulite, but men, as well. Cellulite is much more common on women, though, because of our higher percentage of body fat, which collects mostly in the lower regions of the body. I’ve seen women who are overweight have very smooth and dimple-free legs and booties while other, skinnier women have quite a serious case of cellulite. Cellulite absolutely does not discriminate!

Why do we get cellulite?

There are several things that may contribute to why we have cellulite. Most of them being gender, genetics, race, body composition (how much fat you have on your body versus lean muscle), age, circulation, hormones, the thickness of your skin, how well you eat, how active you are, and how much water you drink.

The burning question: How do we get rid of it?

There are a lot of creams, potions, and treatments out there claiming to be a cure for cellulite, but realistically, they’re not much good and aren’t well proven to work. Cellulite is pretty much something you either have or don’t and your best bet is to minimize it using the following three techniques (which work quite well, if you go for it!):

  1. Eat well – What you put into your body definitely shows on the outside. The cleaner your diet is, the more youthful and smooth your skin looks. A clean diet also helps lower your body fat percentage, which helps shrink fat cells and minimizes the deposits under your skin.
  2. Train hard – Combine both weights and cardio. Most people skip the weight portion of this equation. Lifting weights is what helps build a leaner body and changes the SHAPE of your body. When you build shape through lean, strong, and rock hard muscle tissue, you can help smooth out the dimply appearance of cellulite.
  3. Drink plenty of water – Water works to naturally flush the body of toxins and excess water and helps to hydrate your skin from the inside out. Not drinking enough water and retaining water can contribute to cellulite being more noticeable. Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces or 1 gallon.

I hope these tips help you out. Just like anything else, there isn’t a quick fix or magic solution for cellulite, but if you follow these suggestions and be patient and consistent, you should see an improvement.

Yours in Health,

Tanya

Tackle Those Cravings!

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Cravings are specific. They are not just general hunger for food. Some of us crave savory while others of us crave sweet. It’s natural to have a craving from time to time, but when you’re noticing a general consistent pattern with cravings there might be an imbalance somewhere.

More often than not, if you’re having a fluctuation in your cravings, there is likely a fluctuation in your consumption (timing, quality of nutrition, number of calories, and/or balance of macros). The likely result is an imbalance in your blood sugar levels. But there are a few other factors that can play a role in cravings like emotional factors, hormones, and hypoglycemia.

Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Eat Regularly – Make sure you’re not skipping meals or leaving too much time pass between meals (every 2-3 hours is your goal).
  2. Eat Low Glycemic Foods – High GI foods are quickly absorbed by your body spiking blood sugar levels (followed by a crash), while low GI foods process slowly and consistently.
  3. Restrict Sugar and Salt Intake – Moderation is acceptable, of course, but too much of either can lead to cravings.
  4. Watch for Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners (aside from being unhealthy) are often much sweeter than natural sugars and can trigger cravings.
  5. Eliminate Processed Foods – These foods are pumped full of extra salt, fat, sugar and chemicals which do not naturally occur.
  6. Exercise – Exercising reduces stress hormones (cortisol) and increases the mood boosting ones (endorphins) along with other happy hormones like adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, which all help keep away cravings.

Yours in Health,

Tanya

What makes a good Triathlon shop?

Image           There are many advantages to visiting a Triathlon specific retail space when you are involved in multi-sport.  A Triathlon specific store will be able to give you advice on gear and apparel that no other sporting goods store will be able to.  We see things differently.  We look at all aspects of training for multi-sport.  Angles that may be missed in retail spaces that are not specific to our sport.  For instance a run store may not have the ability to give you tips on how to fuel your body for triathlon.  They may be well versed in what works for a marathon, but what to do prerace for a half ironman could be a story.

Here are a few things that are key to having a great triathlon shop.

-Superior technical and brand knowledge

-Strong service to the local community.

-Specific knowledge of triathlon.

-Strong ability to match the right product and size to the customer

-Training rides and runs, clubs, involvement with local races.

At Trifitness we strive to do all of these things and more to make sure that all of your needs are met.  We always have the latest technical gear, and are always looking to increase our brand knowledge.  We do this through information from the brands that we carry, and actually using the products ourselves that we sell.  We actively talk and work with our clients to make sure their needs are being met by the products that we carry.

We are always trying to reach out a hand to the community around us.  We do this in many ways from putting on Fast Before The Feast (Where we collect food and money for local food shelves) to putting on clinics and seminars for student athletes.

All of us love the sport of triathlon.  We have trained for them, we have raced, and we have had good days and bad.  Our specific knowledge of triathlon is that we are triathletes ourselves. We work in an environment surrounded by triathlon apparel and training.  And when we punch out from work many days we are heading to do some training of our own.  We also know what its like to train long days throughout the year for just a couple of peak races. The staff here knows the importance of a good coach with a plan, and the strength given when you are part of a club with training partners.

The staff knows that there are many different kinds of athletes in multi-sport.  That requires knowledge of prescribing not only the correct apparel but the correct size.  We know that all brands will fit differently, that certain wetsuits are made for a particular type of build.  We can not only suggest what sizes and brands may work for you, but through our selection you can try several different brands on until you find the perfect fit.

We have training, apparel, and events at Trifitness.  And one of the ways that we help serve our athletes is through our Triclub.  With our Triclub there are three coached workouts a week.  There are discounts on our races, and the feeling of community that you can only get being part of a group that loves triathlon as much as we all do.  We are not just involved in local races, we put many on throughout the year.

At Trifitness we like to emphasize ordinary becoming extraordinary.  Your extraordinary can come in any form and with any process.  It might be an iromman, or it might be signing up for a weekly yoga class, or it could lie somewhere in between.  Through our retail, training, and events let us be your tri-shop and help with your extraordinary.

Fitness & Alcohol…SO Not BFFs!

AlcoholmultSo anyone who knows me knows I’m not much of a drinker, but I do enjoy a nice glass of wine now and again. When I’m working towards a serious goal, I choose to remove alcohol from diet completely. Now I know there are studies and research out there that say alcohol has its own set of health benefits, but let me tell you why the negative or long-term side effects outweigh any positive benefits when it comes to losing weight, gaining muscle, and achieving your fitness potential.

Alcohol is a toxin. When you introduce toxins, or poisons, into your diet your body will begin to experience several abnormal behaviors and side effects. Among these side effects are a significant reduction in your strength, aerobic capabilities, recovery, endurance, muscle growth, and the ability to metabolize fat.

1) Poor Muscle Function

Let’s start with alcohol’s effects on the muscles. The cells that make up muscle in your body can actually die from lengthy exposure to alcohol, causing them to function less efficiently. Your muscles will actually be less able to contract appropriately and will also be exposed to an increase in soreness that takes more than the average amount of time to recover. Recovery is important. It is where your muscle makes gains. Without gains and proper protein synthesis your hard work goes to waste.

2) Dehydration

Dehydration is a serious side effect to consuming alcohol. You know it’s important to stay hydrated. Water is everywhere in the body and is the most abundant substance making up 55-75% of your total body weight. It has an important function for every nook, crevice, organ, and process in the body. When you consume alcohol, your kidneys and liver must work overtime to flush and detoxify the alcohol you are consuming. The more alcohol you drink, the harder your body has to work. When you are dehydrated your mental clarity, energy, blood flow, and focus are compromised.

3) Difficult Fat Loss

When alcohol is in your system several things can begin to happen to your digestive, gastric, and nutritional absorption processes. Your body will spare your fat and metabolize glycogen instead due to a high increase of insulin in your body. This means your body becomes less able to lose fat. Your body will also not be able to absorb some nutrients causing the depletion of essential vitamins and minerals that aid in fat loss and other bodily functions.

4) Raging Appetite

What happens when you go out for a night on the town drinking loads of empty alcoholic calories? You get extremely hungry and wash it all down with fried foods and burgers slapped with fatty oils, cheeses, and sauces. Am I right? Alcohol impairs your judgement to make healthy food decisions, but alcohol also contains a ton of sugar. And when you consume high levels of sugar your body becomes very unsatisfied and starts developing cravings. Have you ever seen someone order a healthy, well-balance meal of lean protein and veggies after a night of drinking?

Bottom line, with alcohol causing so many effects on strength, speed, reaction time, recovery, skill, mental clarity, focus, energy, organ function, nutrient absorption, nutrient depletion, water retention, dehydration, sexual irregularities, psychology, fat storage, cell damage, balance, coordination, endurance, muscle growth, the nervous system, and appetite…whew…I’d rather just skip it!

If you enjoy your wine or like having a drink every once in a while, that’s totally fine. You can have a social life and be healthy at the same time. Moderation with alcohol is key, though. Just make sure you rehydrate (SO important) and restore nutrients to your body. But if you’re looking to live up to your ultimate fitness potential, try steering clear and you’ll see the gains you make without alcohol totally worth it.

Yours in Health,

Tanya

Fitness and Nutrition Myths…BUSTED!!

fitnessmythsIt’s important to be well-informed about fitness and nutrition when you’re trying to reach your health and fitness goals, but there are a lot of well-known and generally accepted myths out there that can end up providing you with the wrong information. I hope that by giving you the correct information about these myths you can better speed towards your goals.

MYTH #1: Crunches will give you a flat 6-pack stomach

You can do all the crunches in the world, but unless you clean up your diet, you’ll never flatten those abs and see that six pack you’re working so hard on. The saying, “abs are made in the kitchen” is absolutely true!

MYTH #2: If you’re a woman and lift heavy weights, you’ll get bulky and look like a bodybuilder

It takes a lot of work and an extremely particular plan to become a bodybuilder. You will not get bulky because your body doesn’t contain enough testosterone naturally to take on that kind of look. I can’t stress enough how important lifting heavy weight is. You’ll become a tighter, smaller, and more shapely fat-burning package.

MYTH #3: You can spot-reduce fat

You cannot choose where your fat comes off – just like you can’t choose where it appears when it builds up. Your genetics will mostly determine how your body reacts to fat, and unfortunately, the place you want it to come off first is often the place it comes off last.

MYTH #4: Skipping meals or cutting calories helps you lose more weight

If you’re planning on skipping meals or going below 1200 calories, your body will do the exact opposite you want it to. Your body is extremely smart and will notice, causing it to turn on starvation mode. It will slow your metabolism, hold on to fat, and actually eat away at muscle.

MYTH #5: Carbs make you fat

The right kind of carbs are essential for energy. It’s important not to scarf down simple carbs all day long (reach for complex carbs and earlier in the day when you need the energy), but carbs in and of themselves don’t make you fat.

MYTH #6: As long as you exercise, you can eat anything you want

Eating clean and exercise go together and they always will. They feed and fuel each other. One without the other always results in disappointment. As they say, “You cannot out-exercise a poor diet.”

MYTH #7: The more you exercise, the better your results will be

Overtraining can result in plateaus, stress, exhaustion, sickness, and injury. Your body needs rest. Rest allows your body to recover, making it stronger and better able to tackle your next workout. All the really good stuff happens while you’re resting….PROGRESS!

MYTH #8: A fat free diet is the best diet

Your body needs fat. There are 2 kinds of fat in the body: essential fat and visceral fat. In order to maintain the essential fat it’s important to consume some healthy fats daily. A few examples are oils, nuts, avocados, and fish.

MYTH #9: Supplements can replace a clean balanced diet

The word “supplements” says it all…they supplement. I think it’s important to eat whole foods whenever you can and make sure that’s the main source for your nutrition. There are some really great supplements out there, though, you can use and add to your nutrition plan, optimize your nutrition plan, and fill in any gaps in your diet. Just make sure you do your research, read your labels, or speak with a nutrition professional for help.

MYTH #10: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie

Not all calories are created equal. You could eat a handful of candy for 200 calories or a dish of nonfat Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and sprinkled with walnuts for 200 calories. Which do you think is going to do more for your body and help aid in weight loss? The dish of yogurt, right?

Yours in Health,

Tanya

10 Ways To Find Motivation

10-ways-to-stay-motivatedSometimes we lose the drive to keep on a straight path towards reaching our fitness and health goals. Workouts get monotonous, food gets boring, we feel like we don’t have time, we cheat, we decide that skipping one day of eating healthy or working out won’t make a difference, but sometimes it can lead to a snowball of poor decisions that sends us off-roading way off course. Staying passionate about and motivated towards your purpose is an important part of your journey. So, I’m going to give you a list of things you can do to keep you on the right track!

1) Create variety in your workouts!
Working out the same way every week or month can get really boring. Switch up your workouts every month at least. Try new things and get outside (these Minnesota winters don’t always help)! You will have something to look forward to and your body will thank you for giving it something else new to do. You’ll see different (GREAT!) changes in your body because you’ll be working it an alternative way.

2) Find new foods and new recipes!
Get online, find a new cookbook, or browse the grocery store. Open up your mind to new foods and flavors! Food doesn’t have to be boring if you don’t want it to be. In fact, you should be excited about eating and fueling your body in a healthy way! You’ll notice some fun things happen to your body when you fuel it well.

3) Get a workout buddy!
Having someone you can count on to relate to and have fun with will give you a push. You can talk about your results, make goals together, and help each other reach them. You can bounce ideas off of each other as well and open each other up to new workouts, recipes, etc.

4) Subscribe to a magazine!
I LOVE magazines that provide health and fitness tips and advice! They often also have transformation stories that inspire and motivate. They help give me ideas every single month on workouts, lifting moves, targeting certain parts of my body, recipes, EVERYTHING! So you get a push every time your new magazine comes in the mail.

5) Use an event to motivate you!
Do you have a wedding, reunion, or vacation coming up? Do you just want to look swimsuit ready for summer? Use that as motivation! Mark your calendar with a big red circle or put a note up on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror, on your tv where you workout, or on your bedroom door (so it’s the first thing you see every day)! Keep in mind how you want to knock everyone’s socks off because of how great you look!
eb166f6188d19dd97a4a314a1952d64d6) Weigh your options and evaluate the effects!
Is there a brownie staring you up and tempting your tastebuds? Are you having a bad day and want to binge on a giant bag of Doritos? Stop yourself and think before you act! Think about all the work you’ve done to get as far as you have. Then think about how you KNOW you are going to feel when you get done eating that brownie or downing those chips. Tell yourself you’re stronger than your urge and step away from the foods that are tempting you! You’ll be SO glad you did!

7) Just push play!
Even if you don’t feel like working out just do it anyway! Chances are, after you start you’ll end up finishing your entire workout! And if you weren’t in the mood to workout BEFORE your workout, you will be in the mood after 5 minutes of warming up! And afterwards you’ll be so proud you stuck it out! Keep in mind you’ll never regret the workouts you do.

8) Use your imagination!
Start thinking about the results you want and the way you want to look. Find pictures of people that inspire you with results similar to what you’re looking to achieve….imagine how you’d look and how great you’d feel being that fit and energetic. Imagine what you’d do with that energy and what losing those few extra pounds will allow you to do in the future that you can’t do right now.

9) Buy a new pair of kicks!
Remember back in elementary school when you were excited for the new year because you got to use your new lunch box and wear your new clothes? This is kinda the same deal, but fitness style. Get yourself a new pair of kicks and a new outfit to create a little excitement for your workouts! Looking cute and testing out new gear is fun!

10) Hire a Personal Trainer!

Having a personal trainer takes some of the guesswork out of a fitness program for yourself. Additionally, personal trainers are a great way to get ideas for exercises/routine, add extra accountability, or help you push yourself further than if you worked out on your own. Another great reason is safety. If you’re not working out safely, then you risk not being able to workout at all. It’s nice to have someone spotting you and correcting form. 

Yours in Health, 

Tanya