The Biggest Fitness Mistake I Made
We all know firsthand, or have a loved one or friend who has tried their absolute hardest to lose weight, even if it’s just a couple of pounds. You know exactly what I’m talking about, the person eating a chicken breast and two asparagus twice a day and half a banana as a “treat.” The same person pounding themselves with repetitive cardio, a real cortisol junkie.
While I truthfully admire the drive that’s at the basis of this approach, it’s unsustainable and actually extremely detrimental to your body… and I say that as someone who used to (and sometimes still does) function on
Cortisol is the body’s stress hormone, often called it’s built-in alarm system. Many of us have attempted to or adapted to running on this hormone for energy.
When I first started bodybuilding, I was 16 and working just shy of 40 hours per week at JCPenny. My typical day was up at 4am, pounding weights at the gym for 2 hours, straight to school until about 4pm, then straight to work until about 11pm, sneaking in meals whenever I could. Rinse and repeat everyday. Not to mention, I was literally intaking about a gram of caffeine per day, which I have a hunch still has effects on my body to this day, about seven years later.
All of that aside, my point of telling you that, is the whole gym portion of that was a pretty major waste of time. While I got practice with repetitions and built a strong base of discipline, my body went through practically zero change
I didn’t give it the tools needed to adapt, I was pushing it to its absolute limit, how could it muster any additional resources to losing fat or building muscle? It was just trying to survive through my bullshit. It became adapted to thriving on cortisol to make it through the 20 hour days.
I would have been much better off, doing light movement at home, sleeping another hour or two, and saving the majority of my lifting for weekends or days off work. And to be honest, I shouldn’t have even been working that much given the level of stress it brought me to on top of school. That way, my body would’ve actually possessed the resources to lose fat and build lean tissue instead of trying so damn hard just to keep me moving and awake.
My point of all of that is this… Harder isn’t better.
Pay attention to how you feel, give your body the nutrients, tools, and time it needs to do its job. Don’t pound your head against the wall, thinking you have to go harder just for the sake of going harder. Breathe, meditate, walk. Get some damn sleep.