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  1. #1
    Meghanner's Avatar
    Meghanner is offline Senior Member
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    The struggles of giving up chronic cardio

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    I need a bit of encouragement here. Years and years of chronic cardio, trail running, biking and gym training hours and hours a day has left me totally burned out. I haven't had a menstrual cycle since 2007 (I'm only 32yrs old and my hormone levels are that of a 10 year old girl) and my muscles feel chronically tired and achy. I've been gluten free for 15 years, dairy free for about a year and recently adopted a primal/paleo diet (dairy free). After a month or so of full primal I really bonked. Lost 5lbs and realized I wasn't replacing the carbs I used during exercise and realized just what sort of damage all that cardio was doing to my body. I've since committed to try to follow the PB model in an attempt to rebalance my precious hormonal cycle.

    How do you fight the urge to run, spin repeat? I'm trying to incorporate longer walks (hard when on call, I have to be within 15 mins of my car), TRX/bodyrock style workouts and a day of sprinting a week. I still feel wiped out and rather defeated. I'm afraid of becoming less fit. It's really hard to give up the cardio. I didn't realize what an addictive drug it was. Almost feels like I'm detoxing from it.

    Suggestions for workouts? Comments?

  2. #2
    MeatSleepRepeat's Avatar
    MeatSleepRepeat is offline Senior Member
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    Not sure how much help this will be for you, but I'm moving in the opposite direction. I've avoided endurance running/riding my whole life. I've been on Paleo and CrossFit for a year and recently decided to test out my distance running. I would bonk like clockwork at 35 minutes. Now I take in some paleo carbs (honey or something similar) before I take off and it's made a world of difference. I feel great the whole time and I'm doing 8 mile runs with a fair amount of ease (never did more than 3 previously).

    If you are looking for something else, I'd recommend checking out CrossFit. I'm sure a lot of others here would say the same. You will certainly not lose your fitness!

    As for your cycle, I am no help as I have never had one...

  3. #3
    TLoRu's Avatar
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    I second the Crossfit recommendation. I struggle with the same thing as far as chronic cardio goes. I immediately want to run outside, hit a treadmill, sprint, etc. I've had to really change my way of thinking. Today instead of "cardio" I did in swings, jump lunges, one legged pushups until I was tired. Heart rate was up, got a good sweat and was ok w not running 4 miles.

    Honestly it's so much more of a mental thing for me. Being a former college athlete I've always been taught chronic cardio. Now I'm trying to find a balance that works for me. Good luck!

  4. #4
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    john_e_turner_ii is offline Senior Member
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    I now walk 6-8 miles per day. I look forward to it each morning, and really enjoy it. It's time by myself to think, listen to the radio or some music, learn about my town, and enjoy nature. Maybe it's because I am now in my 40's, and I am stopping to smell the roses. I definitely have a different outlook than I did 10 years ago.

  5. #5
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    paleo-bunny is offline Senior Member
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    ^ what John ET says.
    F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.

  6. #6
    heatherdarbs's Avatar
    heatherdarbs Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Meghanner View Post
    I need a bit of encouragement here. Years and years of chronic cardio, trail running, biking and gym training hours and hours a day has left me totally burned out. I haven't had a menstrual cycle since 2007 (I'm only 32yrs old and my hormone levels are that of a 10 year old girl) and my muscles feel chronically tired and achy. I've been gluten free for 15 years, dairy free for about a year and recently adopted a primal/paleo diet (dairy free). After a month or so of full primal I really bonked. Lost 5lbs and realized I wasn't replacing the carbs I used during exercise and realized just what sort of damage all that cardio was doing to my body. I've since committed to try to follow the PB model in an attempt to rebalance my precious hormonal cycle.

    How do you fight the urge to run, spin repeat? I'm trying to incorporate longer walks (hard when on call, I have to be within 15 mins of my car), TRX/bodyrock style workouts and a day of sprinting a week. I still feel wiped out and rather defeated. I'm afraid of becoming less fit. It's really hard to give up the cardio. I didn't realize what an addictive drug it was. Almost feels like I'm detoxing from it.

    Suggestions for workouts? Comments?
    Oh boy....this challenge, for me at least, was harder than running 50 miles/week.

    I eventually had to treat it as I viewed it, which was an addiction, as you say. I personally had to stop 100% to break it. My hormone levels were untraceable (estrogen), osteopenia in one of my hips, faint heartbeat... With lack of estrogen, you experience bone loss, so assuming you can keep up at this rate is fairly unrealistic. I would run through injuries, heart palpitations, chronically sore legs, swelling and edema – I would run for miles a day, but could barely walk from my car to the grocery store entrance. I couldn’t get it through my head that my body was consuming itself for energy; I was totally focused on my weight and my jean size – not my health. Interestingly, I looked like shit and didn’t see it. I look at photos now and think “sick”, literally, I looked ill…but I was a size zero, so it’s all worth it, right? No.

    Finally, I had to make the decision, which was to quit altogether…and I gained weight; I won’t lie; it was horrifying. However, once I felt my head was in the right place, I started a new routine structured by someone other than myself, which allowed my muscles to grow, fat to burn, body to shrink, energy levels to be restored and most importantly, I got to enjoy my morning coffee without fretting over my runs. This was such a big deal to me that I just won’t let it go now…seeing the morning sunrise. My runs completely controlled and consumed me. It finally dawned on me that I was behaving exactly as certain people in my life that I had severed relations with due to their own addictions; and I couldn’t be a hypocrite. Maybe I’m assuming you’re in a similar situation and if I’m wrong; I apologize. If I’m not, asses your focus, find your fear and define the reason behind the fear. I find that neurotic behavior stems from just that. Fight it by doing just the opposite of what your obsession is forcing you through. There’s so much freedom outside of it. You ask how you do it, but you know how; you do it. Always work on your mind first and the rest will follow.

    Again, sorry if I went down the wrong path with this; but this sounds all too familiar.

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    Michelle83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heatherdarbs View Post
    Oh boy....this challenge, for me at least, was harder than running 50 miles/week.

    I eventually had to treat it as I viewed it, which was an addiction, as you say. I personally had to stop 100% to break it. My hormone levels were untraceable (estrogen), osteopenia in one of my hips, faint heartbeat... With lack of estrogen, you experience bone loss, so assuming you can keep up at this rate is fairly unrealistic. I would run through injuries, heart palpitations, chronically sore legs, swelling and edema – I would run for miles a day, but could barely walk from my car to the grocery store entrance. I couldn’t get it through my head that my body was consuming itself for energy; I was totally focused on my weight and my jean size – not my health. Interestingly, I looked like shit and didn’t see it. I look at photos now and think “sick”, literally, I looked ill…but I was a size zero, so it’s all worth it, right? No.

    Finally, I had to make the decision, which was to quit altogether…and I gained weight; I won’t lie; it was horrifying. However, once I felt my head was in the right place, I started a new routine structured by someone other than myself, which allowed my muscles to grow, fat to burn, body to shrink, energy levels to be restored and most importantly, I got to enjoy my morning coffee without fretting over my runs. This was such a big deal to me that I just won’t let it go now…seeing the morning sunrise. My runs completely controlled and consumed me. It finally dawned on me that I was behaving exactly as certain people in my life that I had severed relations with due to their own addictions; and I couldn’t be a hypocrite. Maybe I’m assuming you’re in a similar situation and if I’m wrong; I apologize. If I’m not, asses your focus, find your fear and define the reason behind the fear. I find that neurotic behavior stems from just that. Fight it by doing just the opposite of what your obsession is forcing you through. There’s so much freedom outside of it. You ask how you do it, but you know how; you do it. Always work on your mind first and the rest will follow.

    Again, sorry if I went down the wrong path with this; but this sounds all too familiar.
    Thanks for this post...honestly, this sounds like the exact same position I'm in right now. I've been doing way too much cardio every single day without ever taking a break for way too long now and really am realizing the consequences at this point. I really hope I can quite. It seems so incredibly strange to think of waking up and not going to do cardio immediately. It's like brushing my teeth at this point.

    I started another thread, but this is so related, I'm just wondering about this:

    "chronically sore legs, swelling and edema – I would run for miles a day, but could barely walk from my car to the grocery store entrance. "

    Right now this is my biggest side effect and it's really causing me huge frustration. I just can't live life normally as doing any walking after my workout sends me into soreness.

    How long did it take for this to heal/pass? And what did you do to help it? i'm almost wondering if I shouldn't maybe get some bone tests done or something. What did you have taken? I'm just worrying I may have caused more damage than I realize here.

  8. #8
    pace2race's Avatar
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    A dexa scan can determine your bone density and body composition. Lifting heavy and supplementing calcium with vitamin D can help slow bone loss and regain density. I think your best way through this would be to workout for a shorter time and at less intensity until you feel yourself coming back. Take a few cutback weeks or month. Run/walk easy most of your workouts and have one sprint day or do bike intervals. Work on sleep/rest quality and strive to get the most out of your diet if there are ways to add better food choices into what you are eating. It will seem like you are doing much less, but understand it is recovery from workouts you need to improve to get better, not working to push to higher levels of stress on the body from workouts. The time will come again to start adding hard workouts. It will be when you are ready, feel like you have been holding back and want to do them.

  9. #9
    heatherdarbs's Avatar
    heatherdarbs Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle83 View Post
    Thanks for this post...honestly, this sounds like the exact same position I'm in right now. I've been doing way too much cardio every single day without ever taking a break for way too long now and really am realizing the consequences at this point. I really hope I can quite. It seems so incredibly strange to think of waking up and not going to do cardio immediately. It's like brushing my teeth at this point.

    I started another thread, but this is so related, I'm just wondering about this:

    "chronically sore legs, swelling and edema – I would run for miles a day, but could barely walk from my car to the grocery store entrance. "

    Right now this is my biggest side effect and it's really causing me huge frustration. I just can't live life normally as doing any walking after my workout sends me into soreness.


    How long did it take for this to heal/pass? And what did you do to help it? i'm almost wondering if I shouldn't maybe get some bone tests done or something. What did you have taken? I'm just worrying I may have caused more damage than I realize here.
    You're getting swelling/edema? So, at this point you've gone way too far and your body is screaming, which from my point of view is critical. What more can your body do to tell you it's in a state of destruction? You want to stop it before it gets to that point, as you can imagine. Walk.

    Just yesterday, I told my husband that I finally feel balanced. I started this challenge last Thanksgiving...so it's taken almost a year. As far as my decision to do so, my poor family had to intervene - tears and all. I thought they were crazy, but that's because I was limiting my brain function; scary, huh? Your ENTIRE system is affected and 1000% out of balance. I also had to start visiting the doctor on a regular basis, which is why I stopped exercising and where the DEXA came from – doctor’s orders. The only thing I regret was following his nutritional advice, as he had me eating crap and my body swelled even worse with my sugar-laden food consumption. I kept telling him that’s where the massive water weight was coming from. Eventually I took over my diet and removed sugar, which is when I started a new exercise regimen, to help rid my body of the excess fat that accumulated…and boy did it.

    So today, I know my husband saved me – my health is back, my HAIR is back, my face doesn’t look like a pumpkin patch doll, I can think clearly, oh and I’m alive. I don’t want to over train anymore (ha- training for what?) – It’s not worth it to me. The interesting cycle of this is; you have to do it to know it. If you don’t, your only option is to continue to spiral and eventually, your body won’t let you; it’s inevitable and it’s already happening. I walked way too close to that line and I’ll never go back – I don’t care if people look at me and think I could trim up in certain areas of my body….my body if for my use, not there’s. I know of a girl who did this for too long and when she finally made the decision to live her life, she gained and her body never went back to normal. Maybe she was unlucky, but the risk wasn’t worth that scenario, either

    I’m certainly open if you need the support.

    Quote Originally Posted by pace2race View Post
    A dexa scan can determine your bone density and body composition. Lifting heavy and supplementing calcium with vitamin D can help slow bone loss and regain density. I think your best way through this would be to workout for a shorter time and at less intensity until you feel yourself coming back. Take a few cutback weeks or month. Run/walk easy most of your workouts and have one sprint day or do bike intervals. Work on sleep/rest quality and strive to get the most out of your diet if there are ways to add better food choices into what you are eating. It will seem like you are doing much less, but understand it is recovery from workouts you need to improve to get better, not working to push to higher levels of stress on the body from workouts. The time will come again to start adding hard workouts. It will be when you are ready, feel like you have been holding back and want to do them.
    ^^This exactly.

  10. #10
    Michelle83's Avatar
    Michelle83 is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by heatherdarbs View Post
    You're getting swelling/edema? So, at this point you've gone way too far and your body is screaming, which from my point of view is critical. What more can your body do to tell you it's in a state of destruction? You want to stop it before it gets to that point, as you can imagine. Walk.

    Just yesterday, I told my husband that I finally feel balanced. I started this challenge last Thanksgiving...so it's taken almost a year. As far as my decision to do so, my poor family had to intervene - tears and all. I thought they were crazy, but that's because I was limiting my brain function; scary, huh? Your ENTIRE system is affected and 1000% out of balance. I also had to start visiting the doctor on a regular basis, which is why I stopped exercising and where the DEXA came from – doctor’s orders. The only thing I regret was following his nutritional advice, as he had me eating crap and my body swelled even worse with my sugar-laden food consumption. I kept telling him that’s where the massive water weight was coming from. Eventually I took over my diet and removed sugar, which is when I started a new exercise regimen, to help rid my body of the excess fat that accumulated…and boy did it.

    So today, I know my husband saved me – my health is back, my HAIR is back, my face doesn’t look like a pumpkin patch doll, I can think clearly, oh and I’m alive. I don’t want to over train anymore (ha- training for what?) – It’s not worth it to me. The interesting cycle of this is; you have to do it to know it. If you don’t, your only option is to continue to spiral and eventually, your body won’t let you; it’s inevitable and it’s already happening. I walked way too close to that line and I’ll never go back – I don’t care if people look at me and think I could trim up in certain areas of my body….my body if for my use, not there’s. I know of a girl who did this for too long and when she finally made the decision to live her life, she gained and her body never went back to normal. Maybe she was unlucky, but the risk wasn’t worth that scenario, either

    I’m certainly open if you need the support.



    ^^This exactly.
    Thanks so much for this message - I sent you a PM about a few concerns. Hopefully that is okay.

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