Last post, I said I was starting the intense 1-hour-per-day, 6-day-a-week exercise program P90X. When I posted it, I was hoping that it would spur some people who actually know a lot about exercise to chime in on their thoughts on hormonal health and exercise so that we could get a discussion going about it.
I mentioned in the post that the person who inspired me to think about exercising a little harder was Amber from gokaleo.com, who basically claims that she got her hormonal acne and PCOS to vanish with exercise, particularly strength training exercise.
Now, it’s quite well known that exercise has a positive effect on the body, the mind, the hormones, and in the case of PCOS and the metabolism, exercise is a very important part of healing it.
On the other hand, there is the case where too much intense exercise can make hormones worse. Like female athletes who lose their periods, and anorexic “chronic exercisers” who lose theirs, for example. And I have read quite a few things saying that if you have hormonal problems, “moderate exercise” is better.
But what does that meeean? How much is too much? And does the type of exercise make a difference? Where is this fine line?
I was worried that P90X was going to be too much (at an hour of intense exercise per day), but I didn’t know. But with the help of some lovely commenters on the previous post and more reading on my part, I have realized that yes…. P90X as prescribed is too much.
Admittedly, part of me doesn’t even want to get into this, because I’m going to bet money that exercise is exactly like nutrition – everyone’s different, and therefore no one can agree on anything, and everyone’s got their little opinions about what is the best way to do things, and everyone fights about it. I am hesitant to go down that rabbit hole.
So I can’t guarantee anything I’m saying is correct – especially since I am no exercise guru – but there are some things that I am going to throw out there about exercise. These are based on the opinion of some of the commenters in the previous article (including Go Kaleo herself, and Tara from Sweat Like a Pig), things I’ve been reading, and my own gut feelings.
So here are the collection of random things about exercise, so we can all come to our own conclusions (feel free to debate any of them):
Collection of Random Thoughts on the Best Way to Exercise:
- Strength training for the win. It’s the best thing to do if you want to heal your hormonal problems (and acne), and get a sexy body too. If you want to lose weight, it will help you do that. If you want to gain weight, it will help you do that. Most importantly it will change your body composition so that you are actually fit and toned looking and not just skinny with saggy loose skin.
- If you’re a girl and you’re worried that strength training will make you all bulky and manly, it won’t, unless you really, really try for that. We don’t have the same hormones as men to be able to bulk up, and besides – that doesn’t just happen by accident by picking up a few weights. Bulking up doesn’t just happen to men by accident either. Don’t worry – strength training and weight lifting makes you look svelte, sculpted and sexy. Not like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Both Sweat Like a Pig and Go Kaleo say (and they have a lot of experience working with fitness clients and people with hormonal imbalances, so I am inclined to believe them): if you have a hormonal imbalance – and you can assume that you probably might if you have acne – it is best to stick to strength training with weights three times a week, and the rest of the time, just do light cardio like walking, bike riding, etc. Stuff that you can easily work into your day to day life, and is fun and convenient. Tara from Sweat Like a Pig says 30 minutes of intense cardio exercise per week max while you’re healing.
- On the matter of intensity they say: the more intense it is, the shorter it should be (with both cardio and strength training). On the matter of strength training, you should lift the heaviest weights you can with proper form and without injuring yourself (start slow and work your way up if you are a beginner). You’ll get stronger this way, and have way better results with your body and hormones by lifting heavy for a shorter amount of time rather than lifting light things for a long time.
- So why is it that intensity in high frequency can cause hormonal issues? Well although intense exercise has it’s obvious benefits and some vigorous exercise really is needed for health, it is a form of stress on the body (same but different than the psychological stress we usually think of) which releases the stress hormone cortisol from your adrenal glands. This is bad for hormonal health. So the longer you work out at high intensity, the more of that is released, which has consequences. Also, if your body fat drops below a certain percentage, apparently your body stops producing hormones.
- I believe a big part of the hormonal problems many people have when exercising intensely is because they get in a starvation mindset when trying to lose weight and keep calories as low as possible. You need enough food and calories to fuel your body’s processes, including hormone production. You also need carbs, apparently.
- So what if you want to lose weight? Strength train, bit of light cardio, and that’s it. Don’t emphasize cardio, like most people do to lose weight. Eating good, real foods will help you lose weight, while the strength training will change your body composition to something really sexy. Eat enough food so that you are within 300 to 500 calories less than the amount you burn each day, and not any less. This ensures you have enough fuel to support all your body procesess and healthy hormones, while still at a calorie deficit so you can lose weight. It might not happen as fast as if you were doing crazy amounts of cardio and eating like a bird, but it you will be much better off for it.
- What if you want to gain weight like I do? Same thing – eat well, strength train, and skip intense cardio. Eat enough so that you are eating above the amount of calories you burned that day, so that the excess will be put on as healthy lean muscle. That’s the only way to gain healthy, sexy, curvy weight, whether you’re a man or a woman!
- What about yoga? Well, I am not sure if yoga is cardio or strength… I think it’s a bit of both. But I have also heard that unlike other forms of exercise, it actually calms the nervous system and does NOT release stress (especially if you are making sure to breathe properly), and also has an extremely positive balancing effect on the hormones. Personally I think yoga is a really positive thing to alternate strength training with.
So… that’s what I’ve gathered. But of course it is not black and white. A different commenter from the last post said that she has found that intense running (ie. intense cardio) has an extremely positive effect on her hormones and her acne. However, the key seems to be that she only does it one to three times a week. She has noticed that her friends who run intensely for an hour every day end up losing their periods. So there you go.
So basically, I don’t want to screw up my hormones doing an hour of intense exercise per day. So I am going to modify P90X and cut it way down. Hopefully this will ensure that I get the benefits I’m after (nice sculpted muscle, energy, and hormonal balance) while avoiding overtraining which could hurt my hormonal health.
The general guideline for P90X is three days of strength training (each of which is followed by a 15 minute ab workout), two days of cardio, one of yoga, and one of stretching or rest. All an hour each (except for yoga which is an hour and a half), with a fairly high intensity if you are really giving it your all.
So what I’m going to do is cut each strength training session by half and use heavy weights. So it’s a half hour, plus the the abs workout.
Then I am going to replace one of the one of the cardio workouts with either yoga or a rest day, and cut the other one down to a half hour. It’s true that I really don’t need that much, because I also get a fair bit of cardio in the week since I have to walk and hike with my dogs.
For the yoga, I’m going to rock a different yoga video (somewhere between half and hour to an hour long) from www.myyogaonline.com each time, instead of doing the one from P90X. Because it’s just too long… personally I think an hour and a half of yoga is kind of excessive, but that’s just me.
So my schedule will go something like:
Sunday – Chest and back workout, abs (40 mins total)
Monday – Plyometrics (30 mins)
Tuesday – Arms and shoulder workout, abs (40 mins total)
Wednesday – Yoga (0.5 to 1 hour)
Thursday – Legs and back workout, abs (40 mins total)
Friday – Yoga (0.5 to 1 hour), or nothing
Saturday – Stretch (1 hour)
Watch Me Talk About All This in Video:
Okay! That’s it! Give your thoughts, experiences, and criticisms on exercise, hormonal health, and acne
what kind of working out will you do? I would love to do some exercises, preferably at home (because this way it would not cost me anything) but never really know what to do and where to start.
By the way – I have had my last session with that fruit acid peel and my skin’s looking really good. I can certainly recommend it. I will now wait and the probably continue with a session every two/three months to help keeping the way my skin is now – this way, I would be able to have good skin without taking accutane! If you like, I can tell you more about what it is like and how it is done – or is there already a post about this method? Greetings! xx
Hi F, nice to hear from you as always 🙂
Well, I’m following some workout DVDs .. P90X: https://thelovevitamin.com/8225/starting-p90x/ , it contains different workouts… different strength training routines, yoga, plyometrics, etc… as I said in this article, I’m shortening them by half, but overall I’m really enjoying them, because….. yeah! It’s definitely not very easy to just make up your own thing. So having people on a DVD tell me what to do is great. Although ideally it would be best to talk to someone who knows what they are talking about and can set up a program for you specifically. Go Kaleo and Sweat Like A Pig both have these services… I think.
Also, even though P90X is done at home, it still adds up… $140 for the program, and as I’ve discovered, buying heavy dumbbells isn’t so cheap! But I guess the gym isn’t cheap either, and at least I am building my set of home equipment which will last me hopefully forever.
Oh yes, I forgot, in my last video, I mentioned bodyrock.tv .. check it out, it has great strength training workouts posted every day for free. Great alternative to P90X
As for the fruit acid peel… I don’t know much about it but I’m so happy for you that you are finding something that is working aside from Accutane. lovex
About bodyrock.tv: it used to be run by Zuzana Light, but she’s since moved on. I like her workouts much more than the new stuff they have there. Try Zuzkalight.com, or find her videos on YouTube.
haha thank you! That’s a good tip. I actually did a stretching routine once with Zuzka that said it was from BodyRock.tv (which I think is how I discovered it) , but then I went to bodyrock and checked out their workouts, and I was like “Who’s this British girl? What happened to the Czech lady?”…. haha yeah, I liked her better.
WOW! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m getting married in July and have really wanted to know what kind of exercise I should be doing to help me gain weight and balance hormones. I’ve been doing Ashtanga Yoga which is definitely a mixture of both strength and cardio and I love doing it but I guess I now need to up the strength training.
Thanks for the advice. xx
Yay! Congratulations 🙂 Yes, I would definitely advise getting on the weights!
That sounds almost identical to my workout schedule. I do cardio every once in a while, but strength training and yoga just make me feel so good. Great post!
Oh awesome… that’s what I like to hear! Hopefully I get the same benefits. Cool blog, by the way ! 🙂
Awesome post today! I am myself looking into exercise for better health and skin, but don’t want to lose weight as I am already tiny. I started Eat Right 4 Your Type and have seen an imporvement in my skin and healt. I am recommended as blood type O to do intense exercise as this is best for my type. It has worked good so far, and I haven’t lost weight, I guess because as an O I eat a lot of red meat and veggies. I really believe this is why foods and exercise are different for many people, our bodies are all made up different! I still struggle with acne, but not like I was, and sometimes I feel like Im never gonna have clear skin, but when I stick to my diet and exercise, I see a major difference. Just an idea for those wondering about what foods and exercise are best for them, look into and research, Eating Right 4 Your Type! God bless! Thanks for all you do!
I didn’t realize Eat Right for Your Blood Type had exercise recommendations too! I think it’s an interesting thing to look into for sure, if you’re struggling to figure out what is the best way for you to eat/exercise … a good place to start the experimentation anyway, lots of people seem to find it to be accurate from what I hear
I definitely agree that as prescribed that program is too much! Many people over train and end up with more harm than good! I walk daily and do heavy lifting and strength training mixed with some sprint type exercise about 3 days a week. So far it is working well for me! I only started two months ago though so it’s probably a little early to say. But I love love love lifting! I used to run, worked my way up to a 10k, and I never enjoyed it the way I enjoy this. You still work hard but in a different way. Now I only run to do short sprints instead of hour long painful jaunts. I really want to add more yoga into my routine as well. It feels very healing and good (and hard sometimes!!!) when I do it 🙂
Keep us updated on how this goes for you! I remember a friend trying it and posting on facebook that she puked after the first workout >.<
Hi Sam! Yes, I’m kind of relieved haha… it’s nice knowing I can get all the benefits in half the time. I agree that I like the weights too… it’s hard, but I like it… feels powerful. I used to run too, but didn’t really like it that much.
Hmmm… I had to give up execise for my skin. After two weeks of regular workout, I start breaking out. It has been like 4 months since I had any real cardio aside from walking etc. and my skin has been liking it. I feel bad about it though. I have always been fairly active. I plan to get back to some routine after my skin is totally clear for atleast 3 months (which it’s getting there) and then try to add it back in.
How is this working with caveman regimine? Are you rinsing after each workout?
Hi Autumn… interesting. It sounds like different people can handle different intensity when it comes to their skin and hormones. So when you say ‘regular workouts’, are you referring to cardio, or weights, or both?
As for the caveman… I don’t rinse my face after it gets sweaty (which I’m not a massively sweaty person so it rarely gets like… dripping, but either way…). I never have rinsed the sweat off since I started Lol, that’s what the caveman is… doing the exact opposite of what you’d think. For some people leaving the sweat probably would be a problem, but for me leaving the sweat makes no difference to my skin. I think it probably just adds to the acid mantle protection layer!
Regular for me was fairly intense cardio 2-3 times a week, for about 45 minutes. I figured it was the growth hormones produced that were giving me a problem, like with cows milk. But maybe it was just the cortisol. I don’t think it was the sweat either. I wouldn’t break out right afterwards. But if I went like 3 weeks without it, it looked better. I also considered that the breakouts could be some sort of detox but even after working out for a month or more it didn’t pass (I tend to go in cycles with keeping up with exercise). I am hoping I can get back to working out regularly at some point…
Interesting! Perhaps strength training instead of cardio would give you a different result. I have no idea though, I’m just pondering
After watching your video, I was thinking the same. It sounds like cardio isn’t best for hormonal issues. I never considered strength training, just enjoyed the way I feel after walking up 10 flights of stairs or helped somone move. Thanks for this advice and for this post!! Very interesting!!
Gotta put my .02 in for kettlebell training being AMAZING – one hour is rumoured to burn 1,200 calories! (!!!)
I just finished my sixth week and am seriously digging the results.
I have only recently really heard about kettleballs and all its amazing benefits… sounds pretty cool.. I might have to check it out some more!
I don’t see why people get caught up in fancy, pseudoscientific ideas like P90X. I suppose things like that or crossfit are useful for those who need the outside motivation, but the best results will come from doing a program aimed at sprinters, weightlifters, etc. Cardio is just boring and probably doesn’t provide long term beneficial influence to hormones.
Yeah, there is too much cardio in P90x for sure. But it’s not pure cardio, there is lots of weight lifting in it too, so I think my modified version is going to be pretty ai’ght. I hope.
Yay, Tracy good thing you wrote this article 🙂 So informative and I was just thinking about picking up the weights again. I had no idea that weight lifting could help hormonal acne (which I believe may be the cause of my breakouts)
I tried p90x one time but it was so intense! I’m following this other book atm which looks pretty solid so i’ll see how it goes. I’ve been drinking green smoothies every morning for the past two months and although I feel great i think they’ve made me lose weight. Do you have any food ideas that are good for gaining weight? Whenever I go into forums about this all I ever hear is protein in the form of lot’s of milk and meat, food that just makes me bloat and have a face full of pimples.
Anyway, good luck with p90x, let us know your progress! I so enjoy your blog, always a good read 🙂
Glad you enjoyed the article 😀 Hmm… I’m not really sure yet of the best foods to gain weight with. I know that you can do it without dairy and meat though. Go Kaleo in recent years has been eating at calorie excess so she can put on muscle, and while she is often elusive about her exact diet because she doesn’t want to promote ‘diet religions’ or labels or whatever.. but from what I gather she says she does better on a plant based diet, so I don’t think she eats a lot of meat or dairy or whatever. And she doesn’t eat soy. So somewhere in there she gets enough food and protein from legumes, and such. I say go explore her blog, it might help 🙂 http://www.gokaleo.com
Tracy, I am crazy impressed with you. If you wanted to do the intense P90X
Sorry finger slipped
Tracy, I am crazy impressed with you. If you wanted to do the intense P90X, I bet you could and kick ass. I doubt you’d get bad results since you seem naturally strong and you’ve taken care of your health so well. Even if you did break out a little, so what, shit happens, you’ll know at least. I’m quite jealous you’re doing this, I kind of want to try it myself.
haha when I read that first part.. I was like huh? Is that some kind of sarcastic jab? “Well, Tracy. I’m really impressed. IF you were doing the intense P90x. But you’re not. So I’m not impressed.” LOL
So for the first time yesterday, I did the half strength training routine instead of the full one… usually it’s like you do a set of exercises, and then you go ahead and do them over again for a second round. So I cut out the second round and used heavier weights and went all out for the first round with fewer breaks in between sets (normally the people on screen are doing way more pushups, reps etc than me so I get a big break in between, which ends up making it less intense)….. anyway… WAY more intense than doing the whole thing at a slower pace hahah. And at half the time. So I’m pleased, and I really don’t feel like I’m missing anything at all by cutting it.
Anyway, if you want to rock P90X, you should… so far it’s pretty fun and I’m enjoying it. If you do decide to go for it, make sure you look after yourself and don’t push it just because of how the DVDs are prescribed. I’m happier now knowing that I can modify it how I want to.
Thanks for the shout-out, Tracy. I feel honoured to be included on your blog!
It sounds like you have the right idea now. I know you have a healthy attitude towards diet and exercise, and that will be beneficial for your skin. I would recommend doing yoga as often as you feel like it. It is incredibly healing to the body, and I believe it can be done almost every day with no negative effects.
I wish you all the best with embarking on your strength training journey – I know you will love it!
Awesome, good to hear your thoughts on yoga 🙂 I’m glad I was on the right track about that
Tracy, this has absolutely nothing to do with this whole exercise post, but i just wanted to let you know that after breaking up with my boyfriend, my acne has cleared tremendously!!!!!!! Coincidence, i think not! I’m not sure if you remember, but i was the girl who, sometime late last year, was posting on here about how my boyfriend was so critical and always making negative comments about my acne (among other things, now that I have reflected). I want to thank you for your support back then, I am left with only two small bumps and healing scars. I have learned that sometimes, in order to heal, we need to rid our lives of toxic things AND people …
Woohoo!! That’s awesome Nikki. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to see how toxic a relationship or situation can be until you leave and see how much better you can feel. I think a friend of mine who left a toxic relationship put it as… “suddenly it’s like I have so much energy..! He used to take all of it.” In your case, obviously the stress was affecting you so deeply it was coming out through your skin.
Hey can I quote this little comment from you in a blog post? Toxic relationships and acne sounds like a good blog post subject.
Haha I give you permission to quote me in a blog post! I went to the doctor and out of nowhere he said, ‘Get rid of toxic relationships from your life.’.. he must have picked up on my energy. Well what he said resonated within me, and I broke up with my boyfriend a week later. I am still good friends with my ex, however, I feel SO rejuvenated. I don’t feel sad or like I am struggling, even though we dated for a good year and a half!
I totally believe this. My acne was at its absolute, most horrifying worst when I was in an abusive relationship with someone who bullied me and even made snide comments about my skin. My main issue is digestion, but I don’t believe I’d have been able to get clear if I were still so unhappy. Seriously, I would just lie awake at night and cry. Other aspects of my health deteriorated as well. Even before changing my diet, I saw a marked improvement just from dumping the guy and moving on. Incredible how that works.
Hei Tracy, amazing post!
I started to exercise frequently when I was training for a half-marathon! I would say it definitly changed my skin a lot… that however might be because of the sweat, the stress-relief or the change of attitude towards my own body. I find out, that I just feel so good in my own skin after working out- that’s btw the reason I love working out in the morning because it helps me to maintain that feeling throuout the whole day. I try to do some weightlifting at least two times per week. Also there is a favorite youtuber that I can recommend : http://www.youtube.com/user/leansecrets
she is really all about hit-hormonally intelligent trainings. check her out folks!
Also I wanted to say that I love to see you getting into that whole exercise stuff. I was kind of missing it so far, since for me it is such a great component of a healthy, happy life!
Glad you liked the post. I’m liking getting into the details of exercise too and putting more emphasis on it. I knew it was important, but I guess I always have put more emphasis onto food (which was probably wrong as that’s so only a small part of the picture of health), and while I exercised, it was never so structured and I didn’t know a lot about the specifics. So I just didn’t blog about it much! Anyway, I’ll check out that youtuber. 😀
This is a bit off topic, but I really repect your opinion! I was wondering what you would recommend using topically for pregnancy breakouts? I am 8 weeks and my skn is going crazy. I know it won’t last forever, and the pay off is well worth it, so I am trying not to stress, but every day it is getting a bit worse..what natural things would you recommend? I hve only been doing wedderpoons manuka honey masks left on over night. I am hoping tht is safe even though it is unpasterized. Thanks or any suggestions!
Hmm I can’t say I know of anything different for pregnancy acne than what I already recommend. Washing with honey, using an oil to moisturize, and that’s it, although it’s hard to say how much anything external will help considering it’s all hormonal.
And also in order to moderate your hormones, eat healthy, really watch your stress levels, get sleep, and get some exercise, and of course that stuff is especially important when you’re pregnant for the health of the baby (although I know sometimes it’s super hard to actually eat healthy if you are dealing with morning sickness). Overall, don’t stress about it because the baby feels that.. it sucks, but you do know that it will pass!! And congrats on the new baby! 😀
Tracy, your body doesn’t stop producing hormones no matter how much you work out. If all the glands stop producing hormones, you will just die.
I never liked sports (I hated it at school) but my body just needs exercise. I started vinyasa yoga two months ago and it’s amazing. Unfortunately, the classes are only 2 times a day and I’m a bit afraid to try this at home. My body was very stiff and in the beginning I often got pain somewhere in the body and the teacher had to do some special massage (very painful but really helpful). Also, I prefer to have someone who can correct my asanas and sometimes push me harder (which I can’t do myself nor do I know the limits).
The yoga I do is really difficult and tiring. The teacher said that yoga is not about flexibility or strength, it’s where flexibility and strength meet. To be healthy, muscles need to ne strong and flexible at the same time. If you are not flexible you can injure yourself very easily. Do you do stretching after the weight lifting? It’s very important so don’t skip it.
I have noticed that all my body has become very toned. At least in vinyasa yoga there are many asanas where you need a lot of strength but unlike weightlifting you exercise the muscles but standing in the same difficult and demanding position. It may look passive but it’s not. Our yoga teacher has a similar body to the picture you posted – and she does nothing but yoga. So yoga does make you strong.
I wonder about varicose vains and exercise. I’m so young but I do have them so I’m not sure any weight is good for the my legs. If you have a genetic disposition to varicose vains even if you are young be careful with legs. They need exercise (it’s crucial) but too much and too heavy exercise will just ruin them. Mostly women have them, especially after pregnancy but they can be a problem for a man too.
since I’ve been lifting weights for quite some time now and managed to get noticable results (gained 22 lbs of lean muscles), I thought to chime in to give you and your readers a quick tip or two when it comes to weight training.
1. The best routine for building muscle is the routine you’ll be able to stick to long-term. Once you find a routine that you like, stick to it for AT LEAST a couple of months. Weekly routine skipping will get you nowhere.
2. Your routine should have compound movements in it like squats, deadlift, pullups, dips. I suggest you really focus on getting strong in those lifts first and foremost.
Here are some numbers, women should shoot for:
– Bench press 120-125 lbs.
– Do 4-5 chin-ups with body weight.
– Squat 200-205 lbs.
– Deadlift 225-230 lbs.
Believe me ladies, squats are the king of all exercises when it comes to butt and leg development.
3. Don’t fear overtraining. If you’re eating a lot of nutritious foods and you’re getting plenty of quality sleep, then you have nothing to worry about. But definitelty listen to your body because if you find that a workout routine is too much for you, then by all means cut back a little.
4. Fasting is the easiest way to create a caloric deficit, when trying to lose fat. Try fasting once a week for 24 hours to reap the benefits of fasting. Research studies (can give you the links upon request) have shown that fasting increases fat burning, boosts your growth hormone (good if you want to build muscle), raises your insulin sensitivity, etc.
I could go on and on and on and on about the best fitness tips, but for the sake of actionability I figured it’d be a good idea to limit myself to just a few tips.
Hope I helped 🙂
PS: In case someone else has a question, I’d be more than happy to help out. Just reply to this comment 🙂
Sounds like you know what you’re talking about! Everyone go visit his site 🙂
Yeah I’ve been hearing a lot about the whole “squats, deadlift, pullups, and dips” thing as the best ways to get an overall body workout without doing endless exercices.
You can’t go wrong with the old tried and tested 🙂
What about squats and varicose veins? I also have problems with my knee joints, do you think squats are ok for me?
If you’re overweight, you increase your chances of getting varicose veins. A good strength training routine will keep your weight in check thus decreasing your chances of getting varicose veins.
If you already have varicose veins though, squats/strength training will promote increased blood flow and better cardiovascular health overall. Start by doing squats with just your bodyweight and see how it feels. If it feels OK, then slowly increase the intensity every workout.
The same goes for your knee joints. Start with just your bodyweight and a partial range of motion – see how it feels.
Squats are awesome for your knee joint health, if done correctly. I’ve heard countless of stories where people who had knee problems, saw drastic improvement in a matter of weeks after they started doing squats.
Needless to say, use your common sense here … if something hurts, stop. Try decreasing your range of motion or reduce the resistance (try holding onto the door handle to take some weight of of your legs).
Hope I helped 🙂
I’m very slim (51 kg) and I have never been overweight or even a bit plump. I have also never been pregnant or on birth control and I got my varicose veins when I was 14. It’s genetic. I have heard that many women get them because of too much heavy exercise. Some kind of martial arts (like taekwondo) make my veins hurt. Sometimes even zumba dance moves make me feel uncomfortable and I should be careful. However, when I do exercise I learned in tae bo classes my veins feel great (lying on all fours so my legs get to move but don’t need to carry any weight, not even the body weight). So I would recommend to every lady whose mother has varicose veins to be careful. Also, never stop exercising, lack of movement will do a lot of irreversible harm to your legs (and sometimes you can even get hemorrhoids which I’ve heard are really painful).
I will give squats a try though. I’ll give you feedback.
I am very slim, like you, and am also hoping to get a bit more toned and stronger. I’m actually really glad you posted this because I also suffer from acne (hence my blog :p) and now I know not to over work myself! I also know now to get into strength training (I focused a lot on cardio before) and I want to start yoga. Hopefully we both improve our bodies in the ways that we want! Thanks again! 😀
I’d say it’s important to gradually increase your exercise. This will also help you stick with it and will help your body cope with it (if you’re not used to exercising then it will make you tired and very hungry at first – don’t worry, that will pass!). If you increase gradually, your body will get used to moving more without negative effects.
Think about it – it used to be normal to do physical work (farming etc) for several hours a day. I’m sure that didn’t make women lose their periods. If you sit a lot, an hour of exercise a day is really not much at all.
Within the last 3 years I’ve increased my exercise from 2-3 times a week to 5-6 times a week, with the length of the workouts now being 1-2 hours. I’ve never been healthier. I never get sick & my menstrual cycle is 28 days on the dot.
P90X seems quite tough so I think it’s something to work up to as well.
Just like with changing eating habits (or any habit really), gradual change is kindest on the body and also easiest to maintain. Listen to your body and you’ll be fine! x
Good advice! Yes, I don’t think it’s so much the amount of exercise, but the intensity of it… I think it is super healthy to be up and moving a lot of the day, but just not you know… intensely running for like 3 or 4 hours (how intense are your 1 to 2 hour workouts?). That’s why farm people would be in good health, because they aren’t working super intensely for hours and hours… it’s slower paced, but they are up and about. That’s why I’ve decided to also switch to using a standing desk while I’m working, along with starting to work out more… I know most of my lack of energy is not lack of exercise, but the too much sitting!
Also, I’m glad you said the tiredness and hunger will pass… even though I’m eating a lot since beginning working out, I’m so hungry all the time now! It sucks.
Don’t worry, your appetite will DEFINITELY even out. And the tiredness as well. At first I was so knackered all the time when I started working out but you get used to it.
My workouts are quite intense, I do a lot of running (training for a half marathon) and gym classes where I’m always soaked in sweat afterwards, so I’d say pretty intense. But I do yoga, too.
Every time I increased the intensity and length of my workouts, I felt a bit more tired and hungry again, but always get used to it after a while. As long as you eat healthy food you really don’t have to worry about how much you eat. If I go for a 90 minute run, I sometimes eat four bananas in one sitting afterwards. 🙂
I think your plan sounds good! x
PS: You could also try the ’30 Day Shred’ first, it’s only 20 minutes a day & it’s on YouTube, I think. A little less intense than the p90x 🙂
Hi Tracy! Exercising is rather a conundrum for me, because for some reason, whenever I do exercise, I tend to break out. Back when I ran nearly every day, my acne was terrible, and then I switched to swimming, but it seems my skin can only handle certain kinds of pool water…it likes my pool, and salt water pools, but straight up chlorine breaks it out. With the cardio, I was never sure why it made me break out, whether it was sweating, or as you said, the hormonal imbalance caused by high amounts of high intensity exercise. Which seems more likely to you? And do you think strength training would break me out? Because of course I want to be doing SOMETHING, I’m not fat by any means, but just to stay healthy and keep everything maintained.
Hey Ariana, it’s worth a shot to see if strength training is better for your skin! It sounds like for many people cardio breaks them out, but … yeah. I say try it, and cut the cardio
This makes a lot of sense. Strength training is just SO difficult for me. I get bored as well as frustrated – I’m super slim and my upper body strength isn’t great. I try to balance it out by doing pushups, situps and lots of yoga workouts on my own, but my favorite way to move has been and will always be stuff like biking, hiking and dance/Zumba. I’m much more likely to stick with this stuff – I HAVE been sticking with it – because it makes me so much happier than lifting weights. Which makes me feel dopey, little and like people are judging me. Lol. Maybe I’ll give it another go after reading this.
I was never really into it either Kit… that’s why I have mostly stuck to biking, walking, yoga etc… but I’m actually really enjoying it. So maybe us leopards really can change our spots!
It’s interesting that some people say cardio makes them break out. Running & cardio has improved my skin so much! I always think that good circulation and sweating helps the skin. But I definitely think you need to wash your face afterwards 🙂
I found this very informative. I am definitely trying to loose weight and would like to exercise less or at least switch it up with different exercises. This is what has become tricky to figure out:
I usually run for at least 15-20 min a day or I do that PLUS 9.0 speed intervals on the treadmill. I started doing some outside because I read articles on Mercola.com (Dr. Joseph Mercola’s health and fitness site)about his peak fitness program, where you do 8 reps of high speed interval sprinting to loose weight and gain muscle, or just gain muscle. All of this is like reading between the lines because I used to be very thin with doing just short bursts of running a day and cutting calories.( I was not over exercising I just cut the calories) Now that Ive been exercising a lot over the course of a year I find that my body has changed and become too muscley and flabby and the Flab is from becoming lazy for 4 months and not doing intense exercise. I’ve heard when you stop, the muscle just turns to fat. That seems to be my case. I love to exercise, I don’t want to give up cardio, but I would like to eat less do less cardio because my joints always end up hurting me. Is there any type of weight strength training you could recommend just for toning the body? Any suggestions would help!
Mmm.. from what I know, the most effective strength training exercises for toning the whole body are squats, deadlift, pullups, and dips. They work everything. Unfortunately, I don’t really know more than that! I say go explore Go Kaleo’s site, she has a simple strength training routine that will get you started, and I’m guessing is very effective!
Along the lines of healthy hormones, I wonder what your take is on drinking tea? I have a cup of green tea pretty much every day, and get varying information about how good it is for my skin: some sources say it’s great for skin and some say it messes with hormones. What’s your take?
I haven’t done enough research on it to say one way or another. It’s just another one of those things that people can’t agree on (and both sides can probably cite tons of studies to back up their opinions)… so… I have no idea!
I suppose.. I should go out and train again, Ever since I’ve been eating healthier and cutting out all the processed junk from my diet. I’ve lost a lot of weight (Nothing major) My abs are more visible, I am actually more muscular than I was before! Thing is I live in the cold north ,so I usually get lazy and not wanting to go to the gym even though I have a membership.. But.. It’s spring now! It’s going to be 10 degrees tomorrow and I’m going to train in the following week! Can’t wait! 🙂
Hi Tracy i wanted to ask you how would i balance my hormonal acne if i’m an athlete(runner)? I’ve cut out gluten and dairy from my diet and my skin has cleared up greatly. I also eat a clean diet and exercise intensely. I want to clear up my skin but I don’t want to give up playing sports.What do you suggest?
Hi Stephanie, hmm you know, I really don’t know, especially if a big part of the reason you are getting hormonal acne is because of the intense training. I suggest trying the supplements in this article though, as maybe they will help without having to cut down on your sports: https://thelovevitamin.com/6855/treat-female-hormonal-acne/
For great info on the connection between hormones and exercise (and diet), check out smarterscienceofslim.com. Research-based and supports less time working out, but higher quality.
You already mentioned this, but. . . I’m a big sweater, and when I do my 3x weekly kettlebell HIIT/Strength training (with pretty heavy weights) I sweat like a pig — literally dripping down my face. Do you think I should rinse it off? My flakies never went away, even though I’ve been doing caveman for over 6 months, but I HAVE been letting my face get wet in the shower and exfoliating every month or so. You think that might be why?
Hi Sam, I’m not sure why! You’ll have to experiment to see what works for you in that regard.
Hey my parents bought me a fitness trampoline and it’s the bomb! Fun, convenient cardio I can do in ten minute increments right in my living room. You can even incorporate weights. I hate working out, so being able to do it as my boyfriend watches tv is just genius, otherwise I’d just be on the couch with him.
Apparently this workout also clears out the lymphatic system…pretty awesome!
Hi there! This article helped me so much- I got cystic acne so badly I needed a plastic surgeon to remove and I think it’s from intense training (1 hour of boot camp twice a week with other cardio mixed in AND weight training). Not for sure but I think that’s a great assumption because I got about 6 and stopped working out, never got another one until recently (3 years later) I started doing elliptical for an hour every day and weight training 6 days a week and I got another several cysts….the only other change I made was eating a lot of chips (bad I know) so it could be both?
Anyway, I wanted to know where you got your resources?? I’m trying to learn more about hormones and exercise in women! Thank you so much in advance!!
Hey Jenna, sounds like it’s definitely linked to the exercise, I would definitely cut it down a notch and see what happens… maybe only do a half hour, 5 times a week or something? Or intersperse your intense days with gentle yoga days or something.
Thank you so much for this article, it is really helpful as I weight train about 5 times a week and they are long intense sessions. I am finding that the huge benefit to this is that my body has changed dramatically in a good way, but my face has just flared up ridiculously 🙁 which is even worse then just not weight training all together. I am going to take on board your advice and modify the amount of sessions I weight train, the intensity and add in yoga once a week (I do yoga but not routinely at the moment) .
Once again thank you so much for this article as I have been searching all over the web for some advice.
This article has answered just about EVERY question I’ve had for YEARS!!! Thank you! I love the way you laid it all out.
I have a hormone imbalance and have struggled to lose weight. I have worked out HARD and gained weight. I’ve read about not being so intense but didn’t believe it. But it seems to be everywhere in all of the articles I’ve read.
I appreciateyour schedule workout that you posted because no one has ever really broken that down. All they really say is don’t be so intense…but to an extreme person like me not so intense could mean knock it sown to an hour instead of 2! Lol…
I too did a DVD. ..Insanity and GAINED weight…no one really believes you when you tell them that.
I would just like to share that I have had WONDERFUL success in balancing my hormones with essential oils….I’m not selling anything….just wanted to share that with you, my mood has balanced out and I no longer am exhausted all day long!!! It’s been wonderful. Also, I have finally been able to lose some weight instead of gain it and now I feel like I just have to find the right workout for me and I’m going to give serious strength training a try! I actually LOVE to lift weights! So thank you!!
Hey Tracy, great blog post!
I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve been looking around for tips about getting rid of acne, and found your post.
I was wondering if you were still doing the P90X program, or have you since changed programs? And did you get any results doing it?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Tracy….I dance for 20-30 minutes everyday and I sweat well…but my skin is becoming red and am breaking out…I don’t wear any makeup during my workout…my skin is very sensitive and acne prone…should I stop workouts