Are you suffering from exercise addiction?

In most cases, exercise is a healthy activity. But just like anything, too much of something can be a bad thing and can lead to extreme or dangerous conditions if one isn't too careful. One can get addicted to exercise. This one hits home for me because I feel that there was a time in my fitness journey where I experienced a brief period of exercise addiction. For me it was around the time I was trying to maintain an "off-season" bikini competitor body. At the time I didn't realize I was on the road to burn out, but by the end of 2015 my body did and minor injuries began to be an area I needed to be better about managing. 

Here are 7 signs that might tell you to cut back just a little bit: 

1. Exercise leaves you exhausted rather than energized. The right amount of physical activity gets your blood and endorphins going. It gives you that rush you need to get through your day. However if you feel the opposite after finishing a workout, it might be a size that you'e overdone it or you need to revisit your exercise routine and scale back a little.

2. You get sick too easily or it takes a long time to recover from a common cold. When you strength train you are essentially tearing muscle fibers and your body is an incredible bio-machine that repairs it on its own. This is how your muscle grows. The anabolic process of muscle growth requires a lot from your internal system. Over-exercising can lead to a break down in the immunity system. 

3. You're irritable or extremely moody. When hangry goes beyond the time frame when you're needing food and the little things seem to set you off regularly. I've been there and man does it suck! I remember being there during the times I competed and had a terrible coach who had me on a very demanding exercise routine that didn't have enough planned out for rest and proper fuel. Sadly, I had plenty of fights with my husband over the smallest things during this time.

4. You can't seem to ever get enough sleep or you're always tired. I know we joke around in this society that we're always tired, mostly because work/life balance in America is such a struggle to find. But if you're getting adequate amounts of sleep, between 7-8 hours a night for an adult, and you're still waking up struggling, you may want to check to see if you're overdoing your burpees and jump squats. 

5. You have "hungover legs" for days at a time. Heavy legs is a sign of fatigue. If you feel as if your legs are just dead weight and you can't move with ease, it might be a sign that your muscles haven't had enough time to fully recover. 

6. You are sore for more than 2-3 days at a time. Oh the DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness isn't a terrible thing. But when you've done all the things you need to do to help the muscles recovery such as foam rolling, manual release therapy, and an epsom salt bath and you're still feeling that way, it can be a sign. 

7. Your workouts become a chore or cause you to have the "blues". PTSD with over-exercise can be a thing, I believe it. I've seen the blues in many different forms with from different people with different experiences. Some people experience the blues after planning a wedding or large event, after completing a 12 week workout program or competition prep, or even on a rest day. Over training has been linked to decreased energy and mood. So make sure that you're scheduling a rest day and honor it, something I'm working on this year.

I'm beyond guilty of getting to the breaking point of exercise addiction and after trying to figure out why, I couldn't pinpoint a particular reason except that I have a strong passion for improving myself. But because of that, I've put my body into a bit of a shock and have caused minor injuries along the way. Although these injuries haven't required any surgery or major periods of rest between exercising, it has resulted in hungover legs, feeling unmotivated to move, and not getting enough sleep. Pre-workout can definitely help push me through another day of training, but its just a band-aid solution.

Since starting nutrition school, I've been learning a lot about holistic healing and thousands of nutrition theories. A few things that continue to stick out to me are ancient healing such as Chinese medicine and repairing the body with natural remedies like bone broth, beef gelatin, and collagen.

For almost a year I've used a different form of muscle/tissue repair supplement called glutamine. Which was working out amazing in the beginning over time I think my body was just over it, so it was time to move on. I recently discovered Vital Proteins and have been intrigued on it since its been gracing my feed left and right from all the fitness accounts I follow. I decided to bite the bullet a month ago and give it a try. Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissue such as your muscles, tendons, and even your digestive system. It also stops producing in our bodies after 25 years old. FUN TIMES! I've been dealing with shoulder and hip joint issues and after a month of using Collagen Peptides by Vital Proteins for a month I've found that along with the mobility exercises I've been having to do from my coach, its been really helping heal my body naturally. I use the Vanilla and Coconut Water Whey, Collagen Peptides, and still on a hunt to find the best way to use Beef Gelatin aside from swapping it out for the cornstarch in my stir fry or throwing it into the Bolognese sauce for the family's dinner.  

I've been pouring my Collagen Peptides into anything I can blend, sip, or shake. The unflavored Collagen Peptides is truly unflavored and can be easily masked in anything you drink. So one of my favorite forms is to actually put it into my coffee in the morning or afternoon. 

As you go into 2017 strong with your heart and intentions set on getting fit and exercising like superman, make sure to be mindful of balance. We all lose sight of it and that's perfectly ok, just keep these 7 things in mind to make sure you're not over doing it. Drop me a comment and let me know if any of these resonate with you.

This post was sponsored by Vital Proteins and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own.  


The one thing I'm terrible at...

Mercury retrograde is finally over! Which means its time to get fueled up and kick start all those brand new and shiny exercise and fitness programs. I remember the first day I started working out. I was both eager and terrified out of my mind. Before my commitment to myself I hadn’t worked out consistently since high school P.E. The secret is, even 3 years later, there are still days I’m terrified out of my mind to workout.

Progress isn’t linear. This is probably a phrase I say over and over again on my Instagram. (a note to self anyone?) I’ve experienced a surgery, injuries, changes in my fitness goals, and major life changes throughout the past several years. And despite knowing that these changes are happening and even living through them, for some odd reason I seem to forget that this affects every thing I put my energy and focus into even fitness.

Often times during these high stress levels of life I run to my exercise as a way to decompress and destress. It’s great for my mental health, but taxing on my body. Because of this I’ve sustained some minor joint injuries from lack of rest. 

Rest is the one thing you NEED to schedule in when starting an exercise program. And its the one thing I’m terrible at.

I cannot stress this enough especially based on my own experience. At the tail end of 2015 I thought it would be a great idea to try to prep for another body building competition, do BBG workouts as my cardio, work a full time 9-5 job that had a 1 hour commute each way, and plan and host meet ups with our SF Bay Area fitness community. Oh did I forget to mention that during this time I also still photographed weddings with my husband and have two kids to raise. Mentally and through Google Cal, I had this all worked out. It felt like a great idea at the time especially since I knew I had done it before. But when I take a step back and reflect on the differences 2015 and 2016 had, I realized that there were things taking up my mental capacity that required more physical energy. Because of this I tore my shoulder at the end of 2015 and I’m having some hip and knee mobility issues. 

So this year I’m going to do better with my rest days and scheduling a FULL COMPLETE rest day each week. Rest is needed so I honor the hard work my body has done for me. There are some things that help me along the way such as Arnica, a homeopathic supplement that aids in muscle soreness and bruising. And something I recently picked up as one of my gym bag essentials in case my knee starts to bother me with box jumps, heavy squats, and SoulCycle. 

backpack by  Sol and Selene

backpack by Sol and Selene

I started to use the Dynamover brace by Whole You. It’s a compression sleeve that helps with the support of my knees. A lot of the leg workouts I do involve my hamstrings and quad muscles which become contracted naturally through movement and exercise. The Dynamover helps to elongated those muscles relieving tension and stress. It was designed with a seamless 5 zone design which provides you the right amount of compression and support where you need it most. 

Along with the rest days, I’m trying to commit to more foam rolling while watching TV. Foam rolling is a form of myofascial release and helps to break up the excess fascia around the muscles caused by working out.

Now that you know the biggest thing I’m terrible at, I’d love to hear yours. Comment below.

This post was sponsored by Mirum Shopper and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own.  The wonderful folks at Whole You has extended 50% OFF and free shipping using my promo code: GOFITJO. One product and on order per person.  

DO // Importance of Muscle Recovery

If you’re like me and spend a majority of your week lifting weights and working on cardio endurance and training, then kudos for building a strong body! But between all the training and running around in life its important and vital to spend some time off to allow your body and muscles to recover or you wont be able to maximize your fitness goals.

Recovery simply means to gain back and restore. We need to make sure to carve out the time to restore our bodies to its upmost optimum performance in order to get ourselves back into the gym to train hard. 

Here are some things you can do for recovery:

1. Sleep! Its so important that you give your body the sleep it deserves. Lean muscle growth happens more rapidly when the body is shut down. Lack of sleep raises the cortisol level in the body, which can break down the lean muscle tissue you’ve worked so hard to gain. When you lack sleep, stress levels are elevated which is when cortisol level are at its highest. Makes sure you do your best to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you can take horizontal life pauses (NAPS) on the weekend, do it!

2. Soft Tissue therapy can come in many forms. The most common ones are massage, foam rolling or myofascial therapy, or active release therapy. When you are doing the same form of constant movement such as working out, playing sports, or even working in the office in the same position for long periods of time adhesions are easily formed in the body. These adhesions are most commonly referred to as knots, tightness, or soreness on the muscles.

3. Stretch before and after a workout. I’m guilty of not making the time to stretch both before and after a workout, but its something that is extremely important to do. When doing any type of resistant training you are contracting the muscles making them tight. Its the stretching and lengthening that will help keep the muscles functioning and prevent adhesions and tightness. 

4. Change up your exercise routine by incorporating flexibility and alignment exercise such as yoga, pilates, or barre. These types of workouts help with body alignment and are perfect for an active rest day recovery routine.

5. Take supplements that will help with recovery.

BCAAs are a common intra and post workout recovery supplement. Branch Chain Amino Acids can be found in normal protein structures and help prevent the breakdown of lean muscle. 

Glutamine has some of the same benefits as BCAAs. Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in muscle tissue. During intense training glutamine is greatly depleted in the body, its important to supplement this back into your system to keep those hard working muscles functioning. 

Arnica is one of my favorite remedies. You can get this topical form: gel, cream, or oil. You can also take this in an oral form as a homeopathic treatment. Arnica helps with muscle soreness, pain, swelling, and bruises.  

6. Listen to your body! Overtraining can be detrimental to your results, make sure you take the time to listen to what your body is saying. It is often giving you clues on what you need to do and why.