Cardio Conundrum

Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed some changes in my every day life. My mood has elevated, my hunger is under control, and best of all…my pants are fitting better.

biscuits

So what’s my secret? I’ve stopped doing intense cardio..and continued eating cookies and chocolate. OK so that is an exaggeration, but I do have a good balance with sugar right now, along with food as a whole. Intuitive eating has a whole new meaning for me.

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After my recent trip to Arizona I had somewhat of a small epiphany if you will. I was anxious about not having access to my gym, but instead of dwelling I focused my thoughts onto what I was eating. Hunger cues became my friend, and with no access to my gym I was forced to get outside and run. I ran short miles, and tried to run for the simplicity of the run itself. I was forced to step away from my routine. Hence my last post.

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I didn’t do any intense cardio workouts, instead I ran a few 3-4 mile runs, I hiked, I biked, and I listened to my body cues on when I needed to eat. I didn’t worry about burning calories and I finally just…relaxed. This is when I realized nothing I’ve been doing has worked. The intense cardio has not been working, and a couple weeks ago I decided it was time for a break. Are we noticing a trend with my constant breakups?

The only problem was that I LOVE intense cardio. It feels like a waste of motivation, but with nothing to loose I decided to give it a shot. This has allowed me to eat smaller, more frequent meals which has helped my digestion and overall I feel better. With minimal cardio in my daily routine, it was time to start some new workouts.

pilates

Along with casual runs I’ve been doing yoga, walking, hanging with Jillian, and Pilates. Let me preach for a moment..Pilates is a dirty demon that I can’t get enough of. My legs have never hurt so good. After a class I can’t walk right for days. The weight work that I’ve been doing through Pilates and my Jillian DVD have already started making small differences. I’m still doing intense cardio here and there, maybe once a week, but earlier in the day and I’m fueling accordingly.

So why am I sharing all of this? Well, for starters it just feels good to purge all the chaos that swirls in my brain from time to time. As a devout cardio junkie…I am admitting to the world that cardio is NOT all there is to life, I’m officially a strength training believer. I honestly don’t feel like I was fueling properly for the workouts I was doing, and since I don’t want to change my intake, this was the solution I needed.

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I still love you spin class…

As humans we are constantly changing and growing, reinventing and reevaluating. The trial and error with my workouts, and finding my perfect balance can relate to my personal life too. I am at a place of peace, and all the mental hurdles I’ve overcome within the last year have givin me the ability to switch my mindset when it comes to lower intensity workouts. It sounds ridiculous, and makes more sense in my head (per usual) but I’m saying it anyway! It feels good to start gaining back my confidence in a round about way.

Q: Do you feel that confidence in your workouts helps with confidence in your life? YES!

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49 thoughts on “Cardio Conundrum”

  1. Hell yes to this post! Glad you hopped on the strength training train, it’s cool right? I didn’t notice real changes in my body until I started lifting weights. I will now be calling all things that I love/hate a “dirty demon” haha!

  2. pilates–you mean that’s what it’s called? i always thought it was pies & lattes too ;)

    kudos to figuring out whats working for you!! it’s a breath of fresh air once you have that ah-ha moment. that’s what has happened with me and crossfit too.
    <3

  3. You had me at Pie and Lattes!!! :) I’ve only tried Pilates once or twice. I never thought I would get into it, because I also enjoy intense cardio sessions (aka Flywheel or running). I didn’t think that I would see much from pilates overall. However, I have change dmy mindset as well. I began doing Flybarre and OMG I’ve seen a huge difference in my body since I began this month. More defined and toned muscles. Hello, yes please!!

  4. YES! I feel like an invincible badass when I’m on top of my workouts. I love knowing I could run away from a bad situation or leap to someones rescue. Basically I run to live out my super hero fantasy. Leaning out was just a bonus. Pilates is amazing. It’s a love/hate relationship, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. I’m glad switching up your workouts is working for you. Nice to know your body can naturally keep itself in check!

  5. Yay- everyhting sounds awesome, especially that pilates burn!
    I totally think that confidence in exercise gives you confidence in other areas.
    Ha- I actually wrote a post today about doing more high intensity stuff since I so rarely used to. Switching it up always feels good and fresh! Now if only my pants would start fitting better…

  6. YESSSSSS! You know how much I love my strength training :) Im all about the intense cardio. Short bursts of work are where its at for me, because lets be honest, I freaking hate spending my time running lol Although I do like bike riding! But bike riding out here in LA is way too dangerous. Id rather not end up plastered to the road because of some idiot….
    And pilates is no joke! I always think Im strong until I do that stuff!!

  7. I’m so happy you are finding some balance :) I go back and forth.. sometimes I’ll be in the mood for constant cardio and any form of strength training feels like a nuisance. Other times I’m feeling strong from working out without any equipment or even leaving my bedroom and don’t want to drag myself out for a run or even a walk. These days though any physical activity is an accomplishment since I’m starting to move like a penguin. ;p

  8. lifting is my JAM. for real. i hate cardio but i can lift all day. training for me is lifting 5 days a week and 1 day of cardio. that’s it. through this, i’ve dropped a ton of weight and gained a ton of muscle. the thing is, we all need to do what we want. if things aren’t working, introduce something new. the key is to enjoy what we do and be open to new things.

  9. ahhhh you sound like JILLIAN MICHEALS and this blog post could be a motivational speech. love how much you have overcome and just literally ran out (no pun intended.. ok, i intended it) head on. life is all about finding what you enjoy and keeping balance. from the sounds of it, you are completely balanced and satisfied with where you are at and that is AMAZING. bravo my friend!

    ps that dessert….. tis good looking. me want.
    pss confidence is probably the best thing any gal could possible have, wear, and show. SO SHOW IT OFF!

    1. I do some kind of movement everyday. I walk about 30 minutes a day, I do the Jillian DVD I have once a day unless I go to Pilates, some days I go for a short run, and if I don’t work for the day I usually go to spin class. I do shorter, more frequent workouts throughout the entire day!! SO far, it’s been good!

  10. Love that e-card about feeling skinny some days and like a busted can of biscuits other days. That’s so me. I’m a huge fan of intense cardio too, but I’ve learned to balance it with strength training too!

  11. I love that e-card, and this post! I think you should do what’s right for YOU. I think we often get caught up in doing things that are not right for us – and then we end up just feeling off balance. I’ve recently just started keeping track of things a different way and trying to eat intuitively and exercise intuitively and I have to say I’ve noticed a huge difference! You go girl :)

  12. Got to love those exercise epiphanies! Kinda crazy how we get stuck doing something that’s totally not working for us without even realizing it, no? I remember doing tonnes of cardio and hardcore exercise and actually -gaining- weight because I was throwing my whole adrenal system out of whack… but my body found its happy place when I cut back. Counterintuitive, but true!

  13. I have never done Pilates but I’ve been doing barre and mannnnnn SUCH a burn – for DAYZZZZ. I love that you were able to relax and not worry about all the cardio you weren’t doing! It’s hard to over come that and I think we have all been there. Sometimes doing a lot of cardio lets you justify that cupcake, or this or that – which seems silly altogether anyway. Intuitive eating is pretty hard too – and man, it’s taken me years to get there.. why does everything have to taste SO GOOD? haha but seriously, hunger cues are pretty integral to eating and I guarantee half of the time people eat, they aren’t super hungry but food is there so they will put it in their mouth – myself included sometimes.

    Yay for fitting back into pants that were a little snug… although you’re “a little snug pants” are probably the size of my arm.. and I wouldn’t be able to get them over my knees if I wanted to. If there are ever a few extra pounds kicking around –> there is just more of you to love! <3

  14. I don’t like cardio except for cycling– but I don’t really count that as exercising since it’s more fun for me even when I feel like death cycling up a mountain! I LOVE lifting though.. you should really start! It’ll totally bump up your metabolism as you build more lean muscle. ;)

  15. I’m such a sucker – I genuinely read ‘I’ve stopped doing intense cardio and continued eating cookies and chocolate’ and I was like, ‘huh, really?’.

    I love it when you find a bit of a groove with your exercise and eating, and pilates, Jillian (I’ve got her on DVD), yoga and walking are right up my alley!

    Robyn xx

  16. I NEEDED to read this today. I’m a cardio queen too (big shocker, I know) but sometimes it’s just not what’s best for my body. I know my appetite is under control and I feel better in general when I’m running less miles than I think I need. It’s something I have to continue reminding myself. Less is more sometimes and my body will thank me in the long run.

  17. Ohmygosh YES YES YES! When I’m happy with my non-exercise life, my workouts are amazing. When I’m depressed and down in the dumps, my workouts feel like a chore, regardless of whether they’re cardio or strength training. And the whole fueling thing? I’ve never been good at it, partially because of how much baking recipe testing I’ve been doing and partially because of the articles that I’ve read about food. The ones about “more protein, less carbs” or “more complex carbs” or “no sugar” or “no artificial ingredients” or “desserts are the devil” or any of those fad/trend/get-on-the-bandwagon-now things. But what works for those article authors doesn’t necessarily work for me, and ditching the carbs for more definition will probably never happen in my lifetime. And I’m becoming okay with that.

    Anyway, I am SO happy for you that you’ve found exercise balance and happiness! It’s pretty scary to step outside of our comfort zones, and you’ve done it beautifully. You’re a huge inspiration and role model Brittany!!

  18. Totally agree on this one!! I’m addicted to high intensity cardio too, but I love it more now that I’m just trying to maintain my weight, When I was trying to lost 35 pounds though, I had to slow down. I mean, along with eating habits, my nutritionist said I was pushing myself too hard and just burning sugar, not fat (anerobic). So I totally know what your saying here and agree 100%! You feel like you were lazy during your workout at first, but you definitely start SEEING the benefits!

  19. i totally get this–i used to be a cardio queen, but since i’ve started doing more yoga and strength training and only using the elliptical to supplement it or as an occasional “easy” workout, my body seems to just be working so much better. i can’t believe that i used to routinely spend two hours on the elliptical going nowhere…

  20. I totally get this! I find that since I actually have no reliable routines in my life, I have to just listen to what my body needs/wants when it needs it… and I am not in the BEST shape of my life but I might just be in the most balanced shape of my life. And that feels good. Thanks for sharing!

  21. So so happy that you’re relaxed in your workouts and balanced eating. I think whenever I finish a marathon, I am forced to take it easy on my runs (or even take a week off), and I even stop craving sweets (probably because of all the GU and fuel during the run is sugary). I still need to be able to work on the intuitive eating.

  22. I love when I can leave a workout and feel like I’m so on top of my game. Leaving the gym afterward, I feel, giddy almost. I love seeing results and the more I do, the better I feel about myself! — Good for you for finding your happy place –.

  23. Working out is essential!! When I have a less than stellar workout, it kind of deflates my whole day. When it’s good, it’s GOOD!

    PS my favorite workout tape right now is one from Jackie Warner. I was eyeballing a couple of Jillian’s cuz I think I’m going to need some variety soon…

  24. YOU KNOW WHERE I AM EVERY MORNING – AND I AM THERE BECAUSE IT PUTS SO MUCH PEP IN MY STEP…. THE HAPPIEST FUC*ING PERSON ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET is put to shame when I walk in the room after a good work out. SUCK ON THAT HAPPY PERSON! SUCK ON THAT!

  25. I agree that it’s good to purge the brain some times and I always love your insights!!!
    What a great balance that you’ve found. Good for you for listening to your body. Happy Weekend!

  26. Definitely! I’ve been getting back into running the past few weeks after months off. It was a nice change in routine to focus on strength but I missed the cardio. A mix of BodyPump, BodyFlow, and running is my current favorite :) To each their own!

  27. Hi Brittany, I think it’s great to change up your workouts, your eating, overall not get too obsessed or stuck in your routine. I have some athletic goals that involve doing the same things over and over again to increase my skills, and honestly, it’s not the best for my body, it’s just what I need to do for what I want to accomplish. What you are doing sounds very healthy.

  28. ever since the new year hit, I’ve been trying to get in better shape. I do cardio, lift weights, and leg and ab exercises. I want to get a trainer but those are costly. *sigh* hoping that with the cardio and strength training I’m doing it’ll be enough. going to throw back in some pilates. yoga is what I’m afraid I’m doing wrong and ending up tweaking my muscles or joints or something.

  29. This is great!! I am so happy that you’re okay with changing things and coming to new realizations about what you like and don’t like. That is what life is all about! If you’re happy and your body is happy, then you are doing great! Woo hoo!!

  30. Well you already know that confidence in my workouts turns me into a mad monkey loving machine, which is a great thing in my book. My Hubby’s book too.
    I love intense cardio; I love the rush, the push, the drive. I also really like my strength training classes and my super Zen yoga workouts. For me, it’s all gravy baby. So long as it makes me feel good and it relieves my stress, then I’m winning. Sounds like you are too, and that makes me happy.

  31. I am SO excited to read this because I’ve been feeling the same way! I’ve FINALLY…after years and years learned how to relax about exercise! Last weekend I was away and didn’t get for a run…but I walked a lot, went show shoeing and really listened to my hunger cues, which I have been able to do much more lately for some reason! I also don’t do as intense cardio as I used to! I still love it just like you but if I don’t get to do it as much I’m okay with that. I’m been doing lots of different stuff…pilates included! I’ve been taking a class for the last 2 months and OMG it goes by SO FRIGGIN FAST and I feel AMAZING afterwards…and super sore! Glad to hear we’re on the same page ;) Also…had to write some CAPITAL words to get my point across, obvs ;)

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