Poll: Have You Suffered from the Terrible Toos?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  123 comments   :  16,427 Views

With the holidays well behind us, many of us are motivated to finally do something that we haven’t done in a while and that is to get to the gym or hit the road to get fit in the quickest time possible. There is nothing wrong with getting back on the wagon, but the problem comes when we try to pack so much in so little time that we end up injured or burned out; therefore, we end up abandoning our program and find ourselves deflated at not meeting our goals we set only a few weeks earlier.

Running coaches and trainers often refer to this scenario as the ‘terrible toos’—too much, too soon, too far, too intense with too little recovery time.

I must confess that I, like many of you, have suffered from this way of thinking—if some is good, more must be better, right? But, I learned early on that in doing so, injury and overtraining were inevitable consequences to this way of thinking. I would find myself suffering from insomnia, slow healing and recovery, change in appetite, moodiness and lack of motivation.

So what can you do to help avoid the terrible toos. Below are a few ideas to help avoid this scenario.

  • Know that you cannot obtain health and fitness overnight Many of us spent years avoiding exercise so we can’t expect to go from couch surfer to full-fledge exerciser in a few weeks. We must allow our body the opportunity to heal and recover so that we can begin the adaptation process to the stress of exercise.

  • Build consistency Consistency is a key to getting in workouts as it helps us develop a routine. When we miss a workout we may feel the need to make up for lost time, as a result, we may find ourselves doing too much, once again leading us to a greater potential for injury and burn out.

  • Never underestimate the value of active daily living activities Studies have shown that participating in daily activities, not just formal exercise, can be just as beneficial to helping us reach our weight loss and fitness goals. In fact, many people can find themselves burning more calories by working in activities throughout the day, then they can doing formal cardio exercise alone.

  • Rest is part of the process This by far is something that I, myself, have had to learn to appreciate and that is giving myself permission to take a day off. Just like you cannot drive your car down the highway every day at 100 miles an hour before it begins to breakdown, same is true for our bodies. Rest is just as important as exercise in a healthy lifestyle. But remember it doesn’t mean you have to spend all day on the couch doing nothing, just do not worry about burning calories and getting your heart rate up.

  • This journey of healthy living is achieved by integrating fitness into our lives, not our lives into our fitness routine (unless you are a pro-athlete). This journey is not about getting to the destination as quickly as we can but by making it a part of our every day lives so that we can be healthy for a lifetime.

    Have you ever suffered from the ‘terrible toos? Have you ever felt guilty for missing a workout even though your body is telling you it needs rest? How did you cope with those guilty feelings?

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    • 123
      I think i am going through my terrible toos as we speak! - 4/25/2010   11:10:54 PM
    • 122
      I have unfortunately been doing this process for years. At one point in my life I was actually anorexic until a very blunt doctor got in my face and told me just what I was doing to myself. I have struggled with my weight ever since I was very young and have been trying hard to approach my weight and health in the best possible way without damaging my body and mind. I get very discouraged when I work out for days on end without seeing results by the scale. Does anyone know a good way to mix up your exercises for both cardio and strength to keep from the blahs of the same workouts and no results. - 2/7/2010   10:34:15 AM
    • 121
      Oh, I definitely suffer from the "terrible too's". I'm trying to change my attitude regarding exercise. The last time I incorporated serious exercise into my life, I was going to the gym for 2 hours a day and would feel guilty if I didn't go at least six days a week. Ironically, I toned up, but I hardly lost any weight and I was often exhausted. I'm now trying to take a more subtle approach to incorporating exercise back into my life. I'm focusing on the fact that things like walking around the mall for two hours count. I want to commit to going back to the gym, but I want exercise to be something that realistically fits into my lifestyle and that I stick with. Like most things in life, it's going to be about striking a balance. - 2/6/2010   11:01:57 AM
      Guilty as Charged! - 2/5/2010   10:04:20 AM
    • 119
      I've been working out 6 days a week since January 1, however I've been alternating heavy and light days and totally resting on Saturdays. I haven't been sore because I've been stretching and warming up and not overdoing it. I have a big engagement tomorrow night, so I don't want to sweat my hair out, so I'm not working out tonight or tomorrow (my first 2-day workout skip). I'm feeling guilty about that, eating more tonight, and praying for the strength and discipline to get back on track in full force Saturday- without overdoing it!

      - 2/4/2010   7:20:14 PM
      Sooo guilty, and still paying. My mom has two artificial hips due to arthritis, then I started to notice some pain in my left hip. I started working harder to develope the muscles around the joint. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with tendonitis in the hip. Cause....over working. Now I know what the terrible toos can do. A little bit does go a long way. - 2/4/2010   4:19:45 PM
    • 117
      I am guilty!! - 2/4/2010   1:51:35 PM
    • 116
      I have many times suffered form this ailment. And am worried about it in the future. I have been medically unable to get out and do my usual exercise and walking for the past month and probably won't be able to until mid march. So I'm afraid I will have too high expectations and try walking for miles again. It's good to be reminded that I can't have it all at once and that consistency is the key. - 2/3/2010   10:52:49 PM
    • 115
      I am concerned about this right now. My body has been a little achy and I am more tired than ussual. I gained about 5 pounds over the holidays and a cruise vacation in early January and I am trying hard (probably too hard) to undo it. I have my excercise goals set at 6 days of weight lifting alternating upper extremities with lower extremities and core. I have my cardio goal at 90 minutes 7 days a week. Ussually I cut that back to an hour long walk one day a week and make up the cardio on my weight training day off. I probably need a real rest day right now though. - 2/3/2010   12:02:34 PM
    • 114
      I suffer from feeling guilty when I try to take a day off from working out. I end up doing some workout that night to give in to the guilt and make up for the lack of exercise. Last Friday I only did one workout for the day and the guilt was horrible. I am not sure that I can go an entire day without at least a 30 minute workout in there somehwere.
      I really fear going back to my old lifestyle and weight gain so much that I over compensate for these fear. - 2/3/2010   7:52:27 AM
    • 113
      I took yesterday off and today was a great workout! I think the rest day really does make a difference. I did the same thing last week and the work out following the rest day was really good. Thanks for the insight. - 2/3/2010   2:20:21 AM
    • 112
      I have definitely done this. That is why I am still at my highest weight ever...I do too much too soon and end up either injured, burnt out, or both.. - 2/3/2010   12:49:37 AM
    • 111
      I started off a little too quickly and definitely felt the brunt of it. This time around, I've learned how to take it day by day and notice the changes that come from places other than the scale. - 2/2/2010   2:55:12 PM
      I am so guilty of too much, too fast, too soon, and it's a constant struggle for me. Not having been actively exercising for a long time, I've set the goal of going to the gym and doing at least 30 minutes of cardio five days a week, in addition to strength training. Right now I'm sore and feeling guilty for even thinking of taking a day off to rest, even though (or especially because) I just started getting back into exercise. It's very frustrating because I feel like it's impossible for me to learn moderation, how much is too much, and how much recovery time I need. Thanks for this blog, it's given me a lot to think about. - 2/2/2010   8:55:05 AM
      I learned a few years ago that I need to schedule a recovery day as much as I need to schedule the rest of my exercise. I normally choose one day a week where I do no cardio - nothing more strenuous than walking. I find that one day/week really helped my performance. In fact I can schedule a hard workout the day after my recovery day and know I will actually improve. I'm 53 and I'm sure sometime in the next few years I'll have to schedule 2 recovery days/week - and I know that will be the right thing for me. - 2/2/2010   12:29:01 AM
    • 108
      Oh yes, I've struggled with this at times, but after a few times of forcing myself to take a day off and realizing how much better I felt, I'm getting better at listening to my body. - 2/1/2010   11:49:37 PM
    • 107
      I've done it and I'm traying to avoid it now! I got a Wii and a Wii Fit Plus mid-January and I love it. I've been so active! I just bought Biggest Loser and Just Dance for the Wii and now I have to be careful about doing too much. This article is so timely for me. - 2/1/2010   10:52:47 PM
    • 106
      Ditto x 2. ibid x 2. Me myself and I (that's 3) are guilty in the second degree, and enjoying Day 2 of 2 rest days. Tomorrow, back to the treadmill with 2 sweet rested legs, refreshed and absolved of guilt. :)
      Thank you so much Nancy for the validation. - 2/1/2010   10:27:37 PM
    • 105
      Too much, too soon, with too little time can leave you TOOOO TIRED TOO! A little moderation helps me feel better over time. I like the surprise of feeling better a month down the road, when I don't look at the daily or weekly routine and want the results now! It's like when I quit smoking back in December, 2009. Now I'm not fighting it, not craving, and feeling great. I don't measure it in days quit, I don't talk about it with anyone, and I just easily push it out of my mind now. Same with exercise. Something I do today will benefit me some time in the future, if I don't do too much, too soon. I still remember the painful 6 weeks of recovery after pulling my Achille's tendon some 30 years ago. - 2/1/2010   6:57:35 PM
    • 104
      Too many times!!! Pardon the pun....... - 2/1/2010   5:21:30 PM
    • 103
      Slow and steady wins the race. We may not see the changes we want right away, but in the end we will benefit more. - 2/1/2010   4:43:50 PM
    • YSIL626
      Thanks. I feel guilty if I don't run but this makes me feel better. - 2/1/2010   4:11:37 PM
    • 101
      My body was obviously telling me that I needed to take Saturday off. I slept in a little bit (but got up in time for my vegan weight loss class). But, all day it nagged at me that I didn't "at least" get out for a walk. I'm not a super-exerciser, or a fitness-fanatic, so these feeling surprised me. I did take the entire day off from exercise; which for me is alternating Wii Active workouts, walking and recreational cycling. But I felt much better on Sunday! - 2/1/2010   3:55:43 PM
    • 100
      "Too much, too fast, too soon" is all "too common" and that's unfortunate because it is the fastest path to burning out and throwing in the towel... - 2/1/2010   1:54:27 PM
    • 99
      I'm relatively new to working out, so I've built-in two days off into my workout routine. That way I know I'll still get my five days of cardio in but won't burn out doing it. So far, so good! - 2/1/2010   1:26:46 PM
      You are so right, it is so difficult to get "back on the Horse" after our fall during the holidays, or any other reason we can think of. But once we resume the journey, I often ask my self "why was it so hard to start again?" I feel so much better after I exercise, why would I want that feeling to go away. Let's keep up the good work!!! - 2/1/2010   12:43:46 PM
    • 97
      This is a constant struggle for me. I am trying to really moderate it. As soon as I feel really tired or sore and am making the decision to rest I start worrying about falling into old habits. I am trying to get more acitivity in throughout the day so if I decide to take an evening off of exercise the impact is less. - 2/1/2010   10:35:41 AM
    • YOOVIE
      I must have serious issues because all the terrible toos sound like a great plan, lol - 2/1/2010   10:21:08 AM
      I am definitely guilty of this. My eagerness and want-results-now attitude is responsible for a slipped disk. So now instead of working out like a normal person, I have to slow down and get some physical therapy. Although I am pretty thankful for the PT. Now I'll get to learn how to strengthen my core correctly and safely. - 2/1/2010   10:02:42 AM
    • 94
      I don't think I have any choice but to over do! Noone will help me with mom but my husband & thats minimal at best. I'm 50 with dercums, heart, & back problems, but I'm living with mom 24/7 helping her to get thru the days. I fix all meals, clean, wash, ect... I'm so tense right now that moving slightly wrong throws my back out, but I have to keep going or we starve, wear dirty clothes, live in a dirty house ect.. Wish I could run away for a few days!! LOL - 2/1/2010   9:48:01 AM
    • 93
      OH YEAH!! It is astonishing what i have put my body through by
      being "hard-headed"!! When I started listening to my bodies needs
      at the very moment it needs it, my life has been so enjoyable!!! - 2/1/2010   4:59:02 AM
    • 92
      Yes, I lean a little that way. I never take a day off, as I fear it won't take much for me to gain back weight (and it doesn't) I feel I need to work out like a demon every day just to lose a little weight. I do feel good exercising and love cardio. Unfortunately, my job and lifestyle interests are reading, writing and computer work, so not much movement there. So I make it a point to do frequent cardio breaks. - 1/31/2010   11:51:08 PM
    • 91
      We've all been there but as we age we gain wisdom. I think I could get motivated to burn more calories with acitivities of daily living. Thanks for the reminder of over doing not always good for us. Let go of the guilt and just be into the moment. - 1/31/2010   8:58:23 PM
    • 90
      Yes I have felt guilty. - 1/31/2010   8:33:14 PM
    • 89
      So funny, saw the title here, and thought it was about KIDS!!! I thought, nah, haven't had that problem for YEARS....but facts are....I do NOT suffer from THESE type of terrible 2's either...thank goodness. I am NOT one to be that way at all. I am EASY GOING , happy go lucky, with HIGH HOPES....etc. etc. - 1/31/2010   8:13:23 PM
    • 88
      I have suffered from the "terrible toos" in the past but NOT this year! I have learned to listen to my body and now I understand it is the whole healthy living thing not just working out. - 1/31/2010   8:06:22 PM
    • 87
      Most of the time I suffer from "too" little time or "too" little energy. I'm taking small steps and finding the time to fit everything in. If I look at 10 minutes two times a day, for some reason I can seem to fit that in easier than 20 minutes once a day. Breaking it up into small, reasonable chunks helps me get over my terrible toos! - 1/31/2010   6:56:25 PM
    • ELILAU7
      This is so weird...I was just talking about this with my husband. I started to get back on track, intensely, like 3 weeks ago, and this week I just couldn't get myself to do but 1 day of cardio, and I overate like 200 calories daily...I caught myself letting go...and I just realized this blog is so right! Consistency is the key! - 1/31/2010   6:53:11 PM
    • 85
      Great blog as usual, Nancy! I'm learning about letting myself take a day off now and again. I remember after my triathlon feeling like I wasn't doing anything if I wasn't doing 2 or 3 workouts a day, and my wise trainer teaching me how to slow it back down a bit. It's a weird mentality to get into, but much more sustainable to be juuuuust right! - 1/31/2010   6:24:31 PM
      Been there doing it. - 1/31/2010   6:23:17 PM
    • 83
      This came at the right time for me. I am healing from an injury and am experiencing terrible guilt for not exercising. I find I am trying to negotiate with my body! The rational part of my brain says rest is necessary, however, the other side is still trying to do something physical. - 1/31/2010   6:17:50 PM
    • 82
      Good advice. It is easy to become overly enthusiastic and to end up with shin splints or other injuries. I'm trying to take the moderate approach. - 1/31/2010   5:45:50 PM
    • 81
      I feel guilty when I don't exercise for one day. I know that my body needs rest but I still feel guilty. My weight has bounced back and forth since I was a young girl, this is one of the reasons I feel so guilty. Some times I deal with my guilty feelings by reading a book and trying to have my mind think about something else. - 1/31/2010   5:22:53 PM
    • 80
      Terrific advice! My personality also tends to lead to overtraining ... I watch out for that, and schedule in rest days/lighter weeks even if I don't feel I need them. Workouts tell our body how strong they need to become ... but it's only with rest and nutrition that we actually make the improvements. - 1/31/2010   5:15:29 PM
    • 79
      I always try to do too much -- of everything. And I'm a perfectionist, so when I try to do it ALL, right now, and can't do everything at the level I think I should be doing, I beat up on myself and quit. - 1/31/2010   4:58:32 PM
      guilty on all counts! - 1/31/2010   4:37:46 PM
      I have definitely gone through the terrible too's. At my highest weight I was 240 and decided to go 110% into a workout - 5 days a week, 1 hr high intensity cardio, 1 hr lifting, and tracking via Weight Watchers. Did I lose weight - yes. Did I get overwhelmed and quit - yes.

      Yes, now it's about easing into it: mastering a new skill then adding onto it. - 1/31/2010   4:29:00 PM
    • 76
      I hiked the Appalachian Trail after I graduated from college and the "terrible toos" definitely played a role in whether someone finished the trail or not. Many people (even people in MUCH better shape than me) decided that hiking 2200 miles was a race and burned themselves out mentally or got repetitive stress injuries. I walked on average 12 miles a day including days off and finished without injury. I wasn't the fastest, but I finished and loved the experience! - 1/31/2010   3:58:46 PM
    • 75
      It took me so long to get to a routine of doing any exercise that Yes I feel guilty when I skip a day. I'm afraid that if I don't do it, I will give up. Its easy to fall back into old habits and a constant battle to keep going. I'm having to learn to take a day of rest as part of my routine. - 1/31/2010   2:51:56 PM
    • 74
      i was big on the terrible toos a few years ago. i've definitely gotten better over the years and work on a more manageable and realistic workout schedule. - 1/31/2010   2:28:28 PM

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