I get so enamored with topics that I know are just going to resonate with you Magic Makers and I love when I am able to bring you people like Kersten Kimura. Overtraining? Under-eating? Not sleeping great? Kersten has been there done that and now she makes it her mission to help other women like herself!
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Kersten Kimura is a personal trainer and a women’s health coach. Her goal is to help high-achieving women recover from the burnout that’s caused by overtraining, under-eating, and too much stress. After recovering from severe burnout, herself, she now teaches women how to find the healthy middle ground with food and fitness and get results without doing anything extreme. She’s speaking my language because, I WAS ONE OF THOSE GIRLS!
I can totally relate to Kersten and her clients that she works with. If I didn’t workout every single freaking day and if I wasn’t sore all the time, I was a failure. 😩 If I wasn’t burning a certain amount of calories when I was doing cardio, my thought was then why do cardio and eventually… my body gave me the middle finger. Maybe you are an over trainer, or you have overcome it, or you are in it and you just don’t know it. That is the focus of the conversation that I had with Kersten and she dropped some serious knowledge bombs for me to give to you guys!
When you are in that overtraining mode, you think it is totally normal, you think that everyone does it. You think that you are no excessive, you are not crazy and that your body can take it. But guess what girl, I see you!!! I have been there, and it is just a matter of time before your body decides to not do what you want it to do and you are going to crash.
Kersten’s schedule was intense. She worked out 6 days a week running for about 60 minutes a day or 10K (6.2 miles for us ugly Americans 😉 ) then she started training for marathons and the running turned into more and more miles every day. She was eating less and running more, and sometimes would not eat and go run for hours at a time. After 6-7 years of this, she found strength training and how strong it made her and the muscle she put on but it meant she had to eat more. She started eating better with more calories, but the OVER TRAINING was still there.
Her workouts still consisted of 6 days a week and even on her “rest days”, she still had to do something. She always had this huge fear that if she didn’t work out 1 or 2 days a week that things would go to shit. Sound familiar??? As Kersten did more and more strength training, the running fell off a bit, but she was working out an average of 90 minutes to, sometimes up to 3 hours! And a lot of these workouts were extremely intense with HIIT and power walking. And this went on for a while.
There were signs that Kersten was overdoing it and pushing herself way too hard, but she didn’t want to think anything of them or pay any mind to them because she was way too focused on her how she look, how much she weighed and how long she was training for. Looking back, she used her training as a way to measure her self-worth. She was cold a lot, she had irregular and missed periods, she was not sleeping and she didn’t realize that this was part of something bigger until in 2016 she started getting really exhausted a lot and she knew than that something was up because she just wasn’t motivated anymore… She wasn’t excited to work out like she used to be. She just thought life was catching up to her.
Kersten had gone to see an acupuncturist for another injury and when she started talking with them about her health, she then realized that these symptoms she was having were not normal, they weren’t supposed to be happening. The acupuncturist started asking her all kinds of question, from her sex drive and period to sleep and right there she said that she didn’t have any of those! And that is when the acupuncturist told her that her body could be reacting this way because she was too active and told her that she needed to take it easy and slow down at the gym…
Kersten was waiting for this…. For this permission. She didn’t know how to do this, but she had wanted some sort of external permission to slow down... And hearing it from someone else that she can do it and that she should do it for her health, felt sooooo good! She knew that this acupuncturist was right, she knew that she had hit rock bottom, she just could not admit it. And this holds so true to so many of her clients even though a lot of them hate it when they hear me say this exact thing to them.
🛑 Slow Down…
For many of us, it has to be a cascade of events to finally say, maybe there is something wrong with me, maybe I need to see someone. Maybe I need that permission to see someone. And I truly hope that this podcast gives someone permission to slow down because if someone had given me permission to slow down, I would have slowed down before I broke down. Before I completely crashed.
Kersten said it best… “If you don’t hear your body whisper, you will never have to hear it scream.” You get these whispers from your body all of the time, and you (your ego) are still saying I know better and ignoring the whispers. But when your body does scream, it will shut down functions and coming out of that will take much longer than if you had listened. How many times have you been laying in bed and your body is like, “Girl, today is not the day” and you are like NOPE you don’t know what I need!! YOU ARE NOT LAZY!! THS is your body telling you to slow yourself!!
The line between being “dedicated” and being “obsessed” is very vague! And sometimes you don’t know where exactly that line is drawn.
You don’t have to be crazy about the numbers, you don’t have to be a perfectionist and get 30,000 steps in every day or burn 3,000 calories a day and stick to strict caloric intake or workout for hours a day! Make peace with numbers. Numbers now are a tool to experiment with, not something that runs your life and days. If we are able to get 10,000 steps then great, if not then don’t beat yourself up about it. These numbers are simply just data now.
I want you to think about your bank account, this is a great example of what I am talking about. If I have $3,000 in my bank account, and I want $5,000 in my bank account, I know it is not an overnight thing. I have to do a few things and it will not happen today, but I will eventually get there. For many of us, we think that the more we do now at this moment is getting us to our goal faster, but instead, you just need better tools to figure out how to get to that $5,000.
So, to help people with all of this, realizing they are overtraining, Kersten has created the 3 Phase Approach: The Recovery Burnout Spectrum which consists of the Burnout Phase, the Healing Phase, and the Balance Phase.
By the Burnout Phase, you are overtraining and under eating and being really stressed out in general! You are doing a lot of workouts and being super perfect with your workouts, you are under-eating or dieting constantly and your metabolism starts to slow down. In return you have no sleep, you get headaches, no periods, constipation, hair loss and just feeling really drained.
The Healing Phase you have to start doing the opposite things that you were doing before. So in order to get better, you have to nourish your body which means getting enough of all 3 macronutrients. Not cutting all the carbs and giving your body the fuel, it needs. You also have to slow down and do less.
The Balance Phase is when everything is healed and things are going well. You are mentally feeling better and your relationship with your body gets better as you enter into this phase. This is the middle ground. You start working out a little more intensely, but carefully this time. Can bring back your Fitbit and Apple watch as long as it doesn’t make you obsessive. You can start tracking your steps and be conscious of how much protein you are eating. THIS IS THE MIDDLE GROUND where you can make choices based on how you are feeling and what your body needs. And you add in your knowledge about basic nutrition and exercise that you have learned.
But let me make this clear… There is no 12 weeks to burnout free and healing and balance, there is no finite timeline. It is a “listening to your body” process. Everyone is so different. 12 weeks may be enough to get out of that damage phase for some people, but for others, they may require 24 weeks or more to get out of it.
How do you help someone who is at that burnout phase who is TRYING to step into that healing…?
Sometimes people see that there is no other choice and they stop completely!!
And others need a gradual approach and it consists of baby steps, like going from 1 hour of cardio to going to something that’s easier on your body. She doesn’t take everything away from you… And Kersten eases each person in and insures to give the mind and body time to adjust.
We know that you see people who have these perfect bodies and you want to be just like them, but in order to get that, it’s not about working out more and more and rest very little, you have to workout hard AND rest hard too! That is why people look the way they do and look as good as they do!! Balance! You can have it all, but you have to take the first steps to heal and what comes after that.
I want you to take some stock, are you that person who is caught up in the workouts that must be a certain time, you cannot eat a certain thing, you have to take in certain calories, do you have a LOT OF RULES? Maybe it’s time to take a step back from the rules and see where it takes you…. And ask yourself, “Are you in any of these phases right now?”, “Which phase are you in?”.
If you are unsure, reach out to one of us! We would love to help go over this more in full and help you get to that next level. With things like this, it is really imperative that you have a support system, that you have a coach and mentor to get you through this. HELL, I have been using a coach for 3.5 years after my burnout! And if you are in that burnout phase… please!! Kersten is the one to help you! No shame at all, just reach out to her if you have any questions. And if you know someone who needs to hear this, share it with them, they do not need to suffer in silence!
What is one thing that makes you feel magical?
“Getting a really good, full night’s sleep. Sleep has been a problem for a very long time. When I stopped doing so much it got a lot better. But I am still sensitive to it. So, if I do too much during the day, I know my sleep will be affected. A night of truly a good night’s sleep is what does it for me.!” Kersten
Another episode you may like is this one with Natalie Newhart, The Secrets to Heal Metabolic Damage
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