The Ups and Downs of Super Fitness

Exercise has its upside, as we all know: fitness, health, energy, longevity.  But did you know exercise has not just an upside, but a downside, too?

Here are the downsides of being super fit, according to my personal experiences:

#1 downside: The more I lifted weights (but did no cardio), the more I got called Lady Gaga and had my gender questioned.

#2 downside: When I trained two hours a day most every day, all I wanted to do was sleep.  In fact, after a two-hour workout, I’d be criticized for being lazy.  I just didn’t have the energy for much else.

#3 downside: breaks from studying involved falling fast asleep for fifteen-minute sessions throughout each day.  Studying itself was fifty-minute sessions of trying to stay awake.

#4 downside: cycling too hard led to severe knee pain.  Thankfully, I went through a period of my life without cycling, or I would’ve been a candidate for knee surgery, like many of my athletic friends and acquaintances, especially of the soccer type.  People in their 40s and 50s are getting joint replacement due to heavy training.

#5 downside: weight-lifting makes me aggressive, more prone to anger.  This anger impacts me adversely at work.  Just ask any weightlifter on steroids.  They can grow violent.

#6 downside: When I over train, I start crying and get moody.  Overtraining can cause injuries of joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, you name it.

On the flipside, super fitness brings with it a ton of upside, too.  Here are some of the biggest highlights of intense fitness:

#1 upside: I loved how I looked in my clothes.  Shopping was easier because everything looked great.  If you do weights and cardio or most any intense type of fitness, you’ll look fantastic in most anything you wear.

#2 upside: When I trained a lot more, I’d often run to my classrooms or run to the store.  Now I meander.  With fitness, you get stronger, faster, fuller of pep.  Your bones get firmer and your muscles start feeling like padding.

#3 upside: When I exercise, I don’t want it to end.  It just feels amazing.  Lots of endorphins are released.  You feel heavenly from hard exercise.

#4 upside: My dream has been to teach a fitness class.  With fitness, you can teach exercise classes, developing a following of lifelong fit friends.

#5 upside: If I had started exercising consistently at a young age, I may have fulfilled a dream of becoming an Olympian.  With extreme exercise, you may be a contender for global competition, even Olympic level athleticism.

#6 upside: I endured a lot more stress when I worked out intensely.  With fitness, you develop mastery over the mind-body connection, able to withstand a lot of pressure.

#7 upside: People would stop me at university and ask, “How did you get that body?” I went from outsider to cool in a matter of a year.  With intense exercise, you become a role model to other people, especially when they see significant changes in your appearance.

#8 upside: I met some pretty successful, healthy people in gyms.  The fitness crowd are often living healthier lives than the bar crowd, although there is cross-over.  You’ll make some high-quality (same gender) friends in gyms.

#9: Food tastes amazing, colors seem brighter with fitness.  Your senses will intensify with heavy training.

#10: Exercise and diet helped turn around my sickness.  With fitness, you’ll live longer.

Over the last six months, I stopped exercising altogether with the exception of a desk cycle.  Once I start cycling, I can’t stop, cycling until my knee feels pain.  But this newfound lack of exercise makes my mood more stable for work.

If we minimize exercise today, will we regret it tomorrow?