The Playbook For The Modern Man

The Unexpected & Costly Side Effect Of Working Out Too Much

Not just your muscles will be sore.

We all know that working out and pushing yourself to your physical limits takes a toll on your body. It may mean you can’t walk the two flights of stairs to your office or it could leave you unable to open that jar in the kitchen, physical exhaustion is an expected side effect of working out. Apparently, though it is not the only side effect, and this one may hit you where it hurts.

Research undertaken in Europe found that there is a link between physical exhaustion and making poor financial choices. The UK and French researchers asked athletes to over-exercise and then scanned their brains and found that the exhausted athletes acted more impulsively when it came to financial decisions. So they would go for the instant gratification over longer-term but bigger rewards in economic tasks. Think buying a shirt that looks cool over saving for a house deposit or eating out for lunch rather than meal prepping.

The study was done exclusively on males and those that overtrained only had to increase their training by 40% to see symptoms of overtraining. The study found that alongside more fatigue, which is to be expected, the brain of athletes who had been physically overloaded showed diminished control of their economic decisions. Your brain is a muscle like anything else and if you’re physically exhausted you are going to make bad decisions.

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Some of the athletes even showed symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome, which can shut down more than just your muscles and brain temporarily. Fortunately, exercise scientist David Lawrence said it was unlikely that everyday people would be diagnosed with the syndrome that was usually reserved for ultra-marathon runners.

“Overtraining syndrome is more prevalent in sports such as ultra-marathons or Ironman triathlons. However, people of all backgrounds who are undertaking an intense training schedule and under-emphasising their recovery can certainly experience some of the same negative physiological responses.”

Unfortunately for both your training and your wallet, knowing when you’re overtraining is not an exact science and will vary from person to person. So protecting your gains may be hard, but is protecting your wallet any easier? According to financial advisor Jessica Brady the simple answer is no but you can use some basic fitness principals to help you.

“If you say you just want to save money but you don’t have anything specific to work towards its unlikely you will be as successful as when you have something you are really committed to, have you ever wondered why you are so good at saving for that upcoming trip?”

In fitness failing to plan is planning to fail and every gym coach will tell you to have small but specific goals as opposed to “Look good naked”. The same can be applied to your money & just like in fitness you have to work towards your goals. At the gym, you go in with a program so you know what you’re doing each day to work towards a goal and Jess says you should do the same with your money.

“Really imagine what it would be like to achieve your goal, what would it mean to you in terms of how you live and feel? Remember that, the stronger you are connected to that life you want, the easier it will be to say no to things that are slowing you down from achieving it.”

So the rules of getting the most out of the gym also apply to getting the most out of your money. Go figure.

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