Intuitive Exercise

November 21, 2013

A bit of a heavy topic today. If you’re looking for something lighter check out Tuesday’s post that is all about puppies!

If you frequent the blog world like I do then the term “intuitive eating” isn’t anything new. If you’ve never heard of it, it is exactly as it sounds. You eat when your intuition tells you to eat and you stop when it’s telling you to stop. Pretty simple idea right? I think we all have that intuition, it’s just a matter of whether we choose to listen to it or not. Your intuition likely isn’t telling you to eat that entire chocolate buttercream cake, but I highly doubt it’s telling you not to take a bite either. Our bodies instinctively tell us what to do and what to eat, but in a society that is constantly bombarding us with diet ads and cronut burgers it’s easy to get lost.

Wine is a balanced part of my diet.

 In the last several years I’ve made some great strides to reach a comfort level with my diet. I’ve gone through the junk-food and diet-coke phase and the phase of low-calorie everything, no-gluten, no-dairy, no-eggs yada yada yada but it’s starting to come full circle. There are days when I might eat cornbread for every meal and days when all I want is salad. It’s just a matter of giving my body what it needs and occasionally what it wants (I’m looking at you Trader Joe’s chocolate sea salt almonds!)

I wish I could say I’ve made the same strides when it comes to exercise. Fitness has always been my kryptonite. There’s no denying you feel better after a good workout sesh. But for me, a day without exercise meant an unhappy one. I was the first person to admit that I was addicted to the endorphins.

Endorphins are a great thing. They are life’s natural anti-depressants. But your doctor isn’t going to throw you onto the highest dose to make you the happiest you can be, right? In the same light, exercise doesn’t need to be done to the max to yield your perfect level of happiness.

I remember feeling exhausted and worn out on this day but went anyway.

I have a lot of regrets. But instead of dwelling on them, I’m trying to learn from. I recognize now that working out stopped being fun and started becoming a chore. I ignored the aches and pains, I ignored the fatigue and I rallied my exhausted body to run even if it was -5 degrees and snowing outside. My attempts to keep myself happy were ultimately hurting me.

Enough was enough. For the first time in about 5 years I let go of my incessant need to exercise and did exactly what my body was telling me to do, rest. And rest I did. It’s been 2 months since I’ve done any form of higher intensity exercise and I’ve never felt better. I haven’t stopped moving my body though. I walk daily and when I have the time I try to make it to a yoga class. Have I noticed some changes in my body? Yes. But I am trying to view them as positive changes. I’m not 18 years old anymore. If my body wants to have curves and a little junk-in-the-trunk then so be it

Spinning with my bestie. This is when exercise is fun!

 I love exercising, but I got so caught up in the numbers and the progress that I completely lost sight of this. I would like to eventually get back into the gym, start lifting, running, spinning or maybe even a BodyPump class, but it’s not going to be the same as it was. It won’t matter how far I run, how much I lift, or how often I go. Just like my cornbread days, I may have weeks where I only do yoga or spinning, or do absolutely nothing at all! What matters is that it feels good, and when it doesn’t anymore I need to stop.

I never thought I would say this, but I am so grateful for getting injured. It showed me that I’d become a slave to exercise and completely took advantage of my body. I ask you to take the time to listen to your body, and no I’m not talking about that nagging voice that tells you to stick to your workout plan or else you’ll get fat. But to really listen to your intuition. You’d be surprised how often your body will tell you to move, but when it’s telling you to rest, rest. Accept that not every run has to be your fastest or your furthest, that walking is exercise and that it can still be a great yoga session even if you don’t do any of the advanced options.

Listen to your body and exercise intuitively. 

Everyone’s favourite blogger, Arman asked me to weigh in on this topic for his he says/she says series. If you’re interested in hearing more, head on over to The Big Man’s World to check it out.

Do you exercise intuitively? Have you ever found yourself exercising too much? 


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  • Reply
    June 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hi there! This post couldn’t be written much better!
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  • Reply
    January 26, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Love your post. I was currently writing a lesson for my wellness group, on the topic of exercising and researched Intuitive exercising ’cause that is my message. and this is how I have been functioning for at least 10 years. In my 20’s and out of 15 years+ of strict dance training I definitely exercised way too much for my own good. although looking back I can also see how intense physical exercise was a wonderful outlet for pent-up anger and all sorts of dark emotions I wasn’t even aware of at the time! So maybe every is perfect as is. Everything is an experience to be had, and to learn from. In any case nowadays when someone asks me how often I exercise (same as with what do i eat for breakfast!), I never really know what to answer because I function intuitively. I would like to point out also that intuition is something we all have, but that has often been buried under mountains of should’s + society/culture/parental expectations…for me meditation is the best and most important means of accessing that “little wise voice within”.
    With Warmth,

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