Why being inactive makes you feel like crap

I went from exercising five days a week for the past seven years to 0. It’s been six weeks where I haven’t worked out, and I feel the effects! This post is about why being inactive makes you feel like crap. I am hoping it will reach others who don’t exercise, to help them understand how inactivity impacts every area of our lives.

Why I decided to stop working out

I recently finished the Whole30 diet, and with the diet came a keto flu. It drained all the energy out of me during the first week. I didn’t want to do much, other than make it to week 2.

But then I thought, its summer. I’m doing this diet. I want to catch up on work with the blog and plan for the launch of my jewelry shop (coming soon). Why not take a small break and document the effects of how I feel not exercising for a few weeks?

A few weeks has turned into 6. And I am deep in the world of never wanting to workout again.

I’ve been exercising for so many years; it became a part of who I am. But I have also gone through periods where I didn’t work out at all.  The last time was six months of no exercise, about eight years ago. I was working around the clock managing my husband’s growing surgery practice. The stress kept my weight down, but I felt unhealthy.

My exercise routine before this experiment

being inactive makes you feel like crap

  • Cardio meditation at least three mornings a week – 2.5 miles
  • Crossfit Accelerator class – 2-3 days a week
  • Run 6 miles – once each weekend

Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? As I write this now, I’m thinking, “why weren’t you more shredded with all that exercise?!” Ha! I know that’s critical me talking, so I’ll move on.

When we don’t exercise regularly, it’s hard to relate to people who do. They seem so different than us. And who has all that time? It’s vice versa as well. People who are active tend to be confused by people who aren’t because, to them, it’s so easy to understand how important an active lifestyle is for our health.

How being inactive makes you feel like crap

being inactive makes you feel like crap

This is how I felt during my 6-week hiatus from exercise

Week 1

  • I didn’t notice any change, other than feeling like I had more time than before. The extra time felt great because I was able to get more to-do items done each day.
  • I’ll just get past this Whole30, catch up on things, and then re-convene to my workout routine.

Week 2 

  • How did I workout so much before? It takes up a lot of time! I’m enjoying the extra hours I have each day.
  • I’ll get back into my workout routine soon, but I need to modify to make it more time efficient.

Week 3 

  • It’s amazing how the body adjusts to change. I have lost all desire to be active.
  • I realize my general mood has shifted and I’m not feeling as energetic or positive as usual.
  • I’m not sleeping as well, and I’m staying up later.
  • I’ll exercise again soon. Just let me get past this Whole30 diet.

Week 4-6

  • I have a baseline feeling of irritableness 
  • It’s hard to feel relaxed
  • I realize even though I save 1-2 hours a day from not working out; I’m not more productive
  • I wake up multiple times overnight with racing thoughts
  • I feel unrested when I wake up in the morning
  • It’s hard to fall asleep
  • My body is starting to feel softer. My weight has stayed down 6lbs from Whole30, but I can tell I’ve lost muscle tone.
  • I have flashbacks of how happy I am after a good run, after morning cardio meditation or a strong CrossFit workout compared to now, but I’m apprehensive about starting back up.

Each night I say, “Tomorrow morning I’ll get back into my workout routine by doing my cardio meditation run.” The next morning, I wake up and say, “I’m not in the mood, and I have xyz to do anyway. I’ll start tomorrow.”

So here I am, in my 6-week exercise rut and I need to get out. I’m amazed by the power of mindset. It dictates everything about our lives. 

Make a plan to be active

If you’re tired of having any of the symptoms I describe in week 4-6, commit to doing something. Make a plan, work on adjusting your state of mind, think about what you may enjoy, and read about how to do it. And then force yourself to start.

It’s going to be unpleasant for the first few weeks. But after that, you will start feeling the benefits in your mind. And then, it will trickle down to the rest of your body. I’ll be right there with you! Let’s do it!

being inactive makes you feel like crap

Here are a few of my posts that may help you start your plan to be more active:

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.