Fitness Habits That Harm Your Health

by Alfonso Moretti, Jr.

Fitness Habits That Harm Your Health

Too much of a good thing is just that, even when it comes to health and fitness. It’s not uncommon to take things too far (credit it to your zest for life!), as long as you recognize it and scale back. Let us help you re-establish reasonable boundaries.

If You Over-exercise

You haven’t seen an off day since who knows when. Chances are you’re nursing an injury or achy joint, living in an ice bath, and too exhausted and sore to enjoy much of anything. Due to your poor sleep patterns and stress, you might have even put on a few pounds, which makes you think you should work out more, if that were possible.

The fix. The time you spend resting is just as important as the time you spend exercising. Give your body a chance to recoup before its next challenge. As a rule of thumb, try not to exercise more than three days consecutively and five days weekly.

If You Eat Too Little

You’re scared of getting fat and think that eating next to nothing is the best defense. Initially, you may notice that you drop a few pounds, but then your body turns on itself. Next stop: Famine response. You’ll likely lose muscle and hang on to every ounce of fat and calorie you eat because your body thinks it’s starving. Plus, your brain fog and lethargy probably make everyday tasks feel like a workout.

The fix. You need to take in calories in order to burn them. No one can fuel her workout on determination alone. Focus on eating whole foods: veggies, fruits and lean proteins. Practice mindful eating — rely on your innate fullness cues to tell you when to stop, rather than policing yourself.

If You Stretch Like Crazy

Sure, your leg can go where no woman’s has gone before, but overextended muscles are often weaker. That puts you at greater risk for injury. Stretching too much may also lead to joint instability, which can impact your athletic performance.

The fix. Start your workout with dynamic moves that stretch your entire body and warm you up, such as side lunges and hip circles, instead of static stretches. End your workout with foam-rolling, which helps loosen muscles and prevent injury. As far as the twisted pose you saw online, leave that for the yoginis.

Alfonso Moretti, Jr., aka “The Angry Trainer,” has been a certified personal trainer for 20 years. He is also a nutrition consultant. You can follow him on Twitter at @AngryTrainerFit.