Why Working Out More Actually Hindered My Progress

As I start to type out this post, I really don’t even know where to start. But ever since I started talking more and more about working out LESS and seeing better results from it, I’ve been getting flooded with questions on social media. And the more I’ve shared old photos from when I was working out NONSTOP to now (working out 3x per week), the more interest I’ve seen in this topic. So today I wanted to share my own experience with exercise addiction and the issues I ran into because of it. We live in a world where MORE is better. More money, more things, more likes. We want more more more. So in my early 20s, when I still had so much to learn, I always thought more exercise meant more results. More hours in the gym meant I would finally see the results I had always hoped for. But man was I dead wrong.

When I was 21 I started doing CrossFit and it changed my life forever. Not only did I finally meet a community that I felt part of, but I found a new purpose. A purpose that didn’t include obsessing over my own weight. Instead I began obsessing over the weight I could put on the barbell, or getting my first pull up, or running my fastest mile. I had a new purpose that impacted me so deeply that I was never the same. And I took that obsession very seriously and began training twice a day and competing in CrossFit competitions every other weekend. For the first time in my life I wasn’t obsessing about my weight, I felt this new excitement to workout every day, and I was actually losing weight without thinking about it…all while constantly seeing improvements to my fitness. I was hooked!

But that’s where addiction begins – you get hooked and you never want to stop. I thought to myself, “Well, working out once a day has gotten me this far….what about 2x a day? Even better, 3x?” And my addiction took over. At this point, I was 22-23 and working in multiple CrossFit gyms so I would spend my time between classes working out with friends. A friend would want to work out, I would say yes, then it would happen at another gym. And since my whole goal was to make it to CrossFit Regionals and hopefully the CrossFit Games, I kept this behavior up because it kept me beating people in the gym week after week.

But what I didn’t understand was why I looked so extremely puffy. And it was something I really struggled with because all my friends would tell me I was crazy when I said this. It was such a mindfuck – I would look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back yet everyone I trusted said I was wrong when I mentioned my weight. Yet I was 30lbs heavier and extremely uncomfortable in my body. So I really didn’t know what to do. I wanted to work out all the time because I was addicted and I wanted to compete, but I also wanted to feel like myself. So what did I do? I worked out more like running 5 miles on my rest days or completing rower sprints for time. I continued to work out MORE and began eating LESS because I thought that would decrease my constant bloating throughout my body. But the eating less just led to binging and the constant working out led to more inflammation in my body. I was lost, simply lost.

It wasn’t until I learned about inflammation and stress on the body. I don’t know if it was something I read or something someone said to me, but something finally clicked. I finally learned about cortisol and how it affects our bodies. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is released when you are ‘fight or flight’ mode. Now if you’ve ever done CrossFit, you know that every workout is fight or flight. You go to the gym anxious about the workout, you’re sweating before it starts, and then it’s GO TIME when the buzzer counts down. So when I was working out 2-4x per day, I was constantly releasing cortisol. And this constant release of cortisol can lead to a bunch of different health problems, including weight gain. Then pair this with the constant workouts that included lifting extremely heavy weights, sprinting, and exerting as much energy as possible…well that led to extreme inflammation. My inflammation showed itself through injuries during workouts, poor sleep, extreme cystic acne, and edema. I was swollen everywhere.

So one day when I was looking in the mirror and seeing the same face I hadn’t recognized for years, I finally said fuck it. Fuck.this.shit. If I was working out MORE and seeing LESS results, why not try the complete opposite? Instead of working out 2x/day with no true rest days, I started to work out 5x/week with 2 REAL rest days. Rest days that didn’t include a 5 mile run or rower sprints….rest days that included nothing but rest. When I started this, I HATED it. I felt deep in my heart that there was no way I could still see results from working out 5x per week instead of 21x or more. But I continued to remind myself what Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So I stopped doing the same shit over and over, and stuck with my plan – workout less and see how it goes.

And guess what? My cystic acne decreased, my edema and constant swelling decreased, I slept better, I felt better, and my workouts were better. Sure, I wasn’t as strong because that wasn’t my goal at that time, but my life was all around better. But to be clear, this took a while. It took me 3 years to lose 30lbs. And this took that long because I really took my time getting to know my body. I didn’t count calories or macros, I didn’t obsess about what I was eating, and I didn’t worry about missing a workout. I LISTENED to my body and what it was needing – if I was craving french fries, I had french fries. If I wanted pancakes, I made pancakes. If I wasn’t craving those things, I ate my normal veggies-and-meat meal. And when I was full, I stopped. When I stopped restricting, my binging behaviors subsided.

As the 3 years went by, I was able to really get to know what my body needed. If it needed more food, less food, heavier workouts, or no workouts at all. 3 years may sound like a long time if you’re a person who is looking to lose weight, but those 3 years taught me so much and those healthy behaviors have been able to continually grow over time. And because of that, I can see how my body reacts to certain foods and certain workouts. I’ve stuck with working out 5x/week for years now and it’s worked really great, but since I started working with a trainer who gives me more intense workouts, I’ve needed to cut back. And I knew that because I’ve taken the time to get to know my body. When I started working with the trainer while still doing my normal workouts, I could see that inflammation creep back in. My thighs started to get a bit puffy and I was feeling more sore than usual. So what did I do? I cut back. I cut back to working out only 3x per week…and I felt scared AF to do that because I didn’t want to slow down my progress. But just like I did in 2012, I reminded myself to trust the process and LISTEN to my body. It’s been a month of working out only 3x/week and all my strength numbers have increased all without seeing signs of inflammation.

I don’t know if you’ll connect to this story in any capacity, but I hope it resonates with at least a few people. I felt so lost during those years and I never had a coach to lead me in the right direction or question the amount of time I was spending in the gym. I never had a coach mention inflammation or cortisol or even exercise addiction. All I had was myself and my gut, and I’m sure AF glad I listened to it. If you take anything from this long ass post, I hope it’s understanding that more isn’t MORE. You don’t have to do hours of cardio or lift the heaviest weights or push yourself to puking to simply get results. You just don’t. It took me years to learn that and I hope that this post helps someone before they go down the same difficult path. More isn’t better, it’s just not. And if you’re afraid to reduce your exercise because you think you won’t continue to progress, I’m here to remind you that it is possible! All you gotta do is trust the process.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section below. I tried to touch on everything people have asked me on instagram, but I may have missed some things. Let me know and I’m happy to answer anything that I can based off my own experience!

Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


120 thoughts on “Why Working Out More Actually Hindered My Progress”

  1. Juli! Thanks so much for writing this post. Looking back on my journey I see that this is what I was doing to myself just before getting pregnant with my first child. I wonder sometimes if that’s what was really causing my hypertension (despite good eating habits). In this postpartum period I’ve been hard on myself and thinking that I needed to do more but my body has been begging to do less. So I’m going to try 3 days a week and see how that feels and if this inflammation finally subsides because right now it looks like I’ve been doing nothing but eating ho-hos even though I’ve been busting my ass for months.

      1. I just want to say,Thank You for this post! I’ve been obsessive about CrossFit for a few years now and I’ve felt like I need a change. I’ve had a few injuries during this time and I’m just ready to not have to go all out 6 days a week. This makes it seem a lot less scary to quit and do something else.

      2. It’s ironic I came across this post… 6 years and three babies ago I was a huge Paleo and CrossFit junkie (I read your blog way back when). I’ve been intuitively eating and working out when I can during the past 6 years… Today after a PMS binge fest of Paleo Chocolate Chip cookies I told myself I’m going to get back to the strict Paleo/CrossFit lifestyle, but honestly after reading this I think I’m good where I’m at. Lol I workout 5 days a week. I eat what most would consider “healthy” it’s just feeling like a crack addict around any sweets for me. I hate that loss of control, but I should probably cut back on the cannabis too. Any suggestions for getting rid of the sugar cravings would be much appreciated. I don’t feel like I should binge or deprive myself it’s just finding that balance. I look good, and I feel healthy and strong just like my dark chocolate.

      3. I,be done CrossFit for over 2 yrs and lost close to 30lbs but had to stop because of the weight lifting was killing me could,t get the bar over my head even with 2&1/2 weights on it so now I’m looking at going to a regular gym to try other things.

      1. I can’t see all the comments but how long are your workout sessions now? Are you doing full body with complexes? Any cardio?

    1. I’m in the same boat as Grace – I’ve spent the last 2 years post-baby working out insanely hard 6-7 days a week and trying to eat well. I’ve lost 15 lbs but hit a lot of plateaus and not lost the 25+ lbs that I need to get back to my pre-baby happy weight. I am so ready to sleep better and feel better and not feel crushed by trying so hard with minimal results. I am going to commit to lifting weights 3-4x a week with 3 real REST days (other than, you know, caring for a puppy and a toddler and lots of walks with them).

  2. Your blog is spot on. I was only addicted to CrossFit for a few years and ultimately pushed through pain because I began processing the intensity as a mental game of toughness and perseverance through pain vs listening to my body. I also gained an additional 15 pounds that everyone would say was muscle but when I looked in the mirror all I saw and felt was inflammation. My last ever CrossFit class required a mile run at the end and I ended up tearing my calf muscle but continuing to run because I had convinced myself that mental toughness against pain was something earned. Here I sit a few years later looking at a knee cap replacement due to early onset arthritis, bone on bone pain, and I’m 39 years old. I wish I would have listened to my body and I hope this blog post inspires others to look through a different lens. Thank you for this post, in hopes that it resonates with your readers because it’s so real.

    1. oh man, i hope others read your comment, Katie. such proof that we need to learn to listen to our bodies. and it’s so hard in an environment with a coach telling you to go harder and faster, and you don’t want to let them down! i hope you continue to heal, i’m so sorry you’re going through that!

    2. Very interesting post. Do you think this could apply to work? I walk, on average, between 10,000 and 18,000 steps five days a week for my job. I work full time in the parcels section at the post office, so in addition to the walking, I am lifting parcels of all shapes, sizes and weights. I definitely have inflammation, and had put it down to food intolerance, thinking I move a lot at work, so it has to be the food. I feel like since I move around so much, I must have to try harder to be very strict, but it is not coming easy. Although even knowing it could be work, in addition to my diet, it is not going to help because it is not so easy to just up and change to a different position. 🙁

    3. I’m so glad I read this post. I have been addicted to the amount of calories I burn with each workout. I’ve been working out with a trainer since September 2019 3 x per week plus adding hour long spin classes or skating and additional 3 x per week. I’ve gained 21 lbs over the past year. Covid shutdown didn’t help but in the past few months I’ve suffered through what I’m sure is a miniscus tear and a pulled groin muscle, yet I continue to work out daily because I’m obsessed with the stats on my Garmin. When I had gained weight in the past it used to distribute evenly. Now it all goes to my middle. I recently found out I have celiac disease. Some of the bread substitutes cause me painful bloating and cramps. I’ve realized just because Oreo’s have a gluten free option, it doesn’t mean my body will process it well. Thanks for the information. I think I need to switch my focus from the calorie burn to my diet.

  3. This post really hit home for me and i think i need to start taking your advice i am working out ao much with no real rest days and i am not seeing the resukts i want! I am always so focused on calories that i get so side tracked! I eat very healthy ao i get scared i wont aee resukts without the extra calorie burn.

    1. sometimes i think that the cortisol released from simply stressing over food and exercise actually leads to more issues than it actually helps. sounds like it may be time to relax a bit with the food and exercise and see how that goes!

  4. This is me! For 10 years I’ve been dealing with shitty adult acne, poor digestion, joint pain and my legs would swell after workouts. So at the beginning of 2020 I decided that my 40 year old body could NOT do the draining Hiit workouts anymore and I had to switch things up. I found Barre, have added in pilates and some dumbbell workouts and things are SO much better. No more massive breakouts, less joint pain and better digestion. So I’d say that’s a win, win, win! 😉

      1. Hi Juli! I am one who has followed you for years and saw the changes in you, and wondered how that happened! I so relate to exercise addiction…and am still stuck in the fear that if I change, I will gain a load of weight. It doesn’t help that I am an ER nurse(cortisol!), work night shift (cortisol!) and am doing multiple workouts many days including CrossFit and running (marathon in May🥴)…all this to say THANK YOU for always sharing, being open and encouraging. I really appreciate you, and am going to think through making some changes…

    1. I’m right there with you. I hit 40 and just said to myself, “I’m so damn tired of being tired.” I do a hiit workout max, 1-2x a week otherwise it’s just a plain old full body lift. If I start feeling run down, I rest until I feel better. 🙌🏻

      1. My people!!! I’m 41 and after years of obsessing about fitness (I come from a family of large people and it scares me that I have that in my DNA) I’m realizing that I truly have an addiction. Part of it is vanity and the other part of it is stress management. I have a stressful job and I love the “exhausted” feeling I get after a good sweat as I don’t have the energy to stress about work or kids BUT I’ve also given myself Hashimotos in the process and it is very taxing on my creaky joints. Also, I find that my apple watch (while I love it) also reminds me about how “lazy” I am being on my rest days. I’m so goal oriented that I can’t stand not closing all my rings each day and I refuse to reduce my goals. Such a vicious cycle:( Thank you for this Juli. i am definitely still on the journey but this helps!

        1. Yes! I totally think my apple watch contributes to these issues. I keep trying to talk myself into not wearing it but haven’t been able to, which is probably even more of an indication that I need to take it off.

  5. Thank you for this post on exercise addiction. I, too, have been there. I started running in my 20’s (I am 43 now) with the goal of running the Bolder Boulder (which I have run 17 times). I then started doing triathlons. When I was 32 I went through some challenges in my personal life and poured myself into racing. The first season I did my first Olympic distance, then my first 1/2 marathon. I just kept increasing. I would swim in the morning, then run in the afternoon. I was also having trouble eating and being restrictive (I lost 25lbs in a month). Fast forward a couple of years and after doing a 1/2 Ironman and two 1/2 marathons within 2 months my body started failing (surprising, I know). I was gaining weight, irritable, and would just push more. Long story, long, the strain on my adrenals lead to Hashimoto’s disease of the thyroid. I then was advised to stop running all together (which made me have full on panic attacks) so I started Crossfit because I am smart like that. It has taken me several years, but now I like light strength training (maybe 2x/wk), and moderate cardio-right now cross country skiing because we live in the mountains. The road to recovery is long. I now rest when I need to, and some weeks that might be 3 full days. I have had thyroid disease for 8 years, and I am constantly working to keep that under control.

    1. You sound just like me. I too have Hashimotos due to a long history of over exercising and underrating and feel like my body is full of inflammation. Switched to lifting and walking but it’s not helping much. Trying to get myself to understand that I really need to rest more to heal my hormones

    2. exactly what you said – road to recovery is LONG. it takes quite a while to get to know your body again after you’ve been telling it a completely different story for so many years. glad you’re finding a new happy balance in your own fitness!!

  6. I’m used to working out 6x/ week. About 3 weeks ago I had spinal surgery. Decompression and Fusion. Needless to say, I can workout for at least another 9 weeks. I knew this going I to surgery, but it’s still tough. I was counting macros and meticulous about everything I put in my mouth. I have MS ( very asymptomatic ) and I do take medicine for it. I felt like counting macros let me control what went into my body even when I couldn’t control what was going on inside.
    You know what? This time off has been great. It’s definitely hard to not go to the gym and I’m right outside of Philly, so it’s pretty cold to walk outside, but I’ve actually seen my body changing for the better. I’m 53 and I haven’t gained weight, which is what I thought would happen. No counting except for protein and just enjoying life!
    Your post really solidified what I was thinking. Sometimes you just need to scale it back a little. I don’t think I’ll go back to 6x/ week workouts. Maybe 3 or 4.
    Thank you so much for your posts. I
    You are terrific and truly make a difference. 😊

    1. this is amazing, Kayla!! so happy for you and for what you’re experiencing. rest is so incredibly important and I wish trainers and coaches would stress this more. people who have surgeries or something else that pulls them away from the gym often experience this and I’m so glad you’re recognizing it. I hope you heal up and you’re back to enjoying workouts without overdoing it! thank you for the kind words, Kayla!!

  7. This is so helpful!! Thank you! Can you give any advice – I know you recently did a blog post about not drinking and not making alcohol a big deal. But, I have been so restrictive for so many years, I want to not feel guilty about having a glass of wine with my husband in evenings. I am afraid I won’t reach my fitness goals if I do that, but it leads to me wanting to eat other food since it feels like I can’t have wine. Thank you!

    1. That’s definitely a balancing act. If you have certain goals and that glass of wine doesn’t help you hit those goals, then you gotta find that balance of enjoying that wine some nights and not others. If you enjoy wine, enjoy that wine!! It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing – have a glass some nights and drink water others.

    2. Wow .. thank you! I am 37 yo and my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness 2 years ago and we have 2 small kids. Prior to his diagnosis, I had lost 78 lbs on WW. After his diagnosis, in 7 months i gained 70 lbs back and discovered I developed a severe binge eating disorder from the trauma (as well as food restriction). I have done a lot of research on intuitive eating and am doing a good job so far! I have been riding my peleton, every day, for the past 2.5 months for 45 min and pushing really hard. I have become EXTREMELY disappointed bc, though eating healthy, the weight isn’t coming off. At all. Knowing I am working so hard with so much weight to lose is so deflating. It has been pushing me over the edge of starting binge episodes again, though I have stayed strong so far. I will try giving myself a break and see what happens. Also, after my husband was diagnosed, we did a lot of research for him on how to best prolong his life (not curable) and the paleo diet by was recommended to help slow onset. We then discovered your page and learned so much more through you!!! So thank you!!! The only thing he can control is his diet and that makes him feel pretty powerful against the disease. Thank you for the energy you put in your page.. people are listening and people find hope. I know that bc we are two of them! 🙏

  8. Thank you SO much for this post!! I’ve followed you for over 8 years now. I’ve had several gut and inflammation issues, adrenal fatigue, etc. I didn’t want to believe that something that I loved and was a significant part of my life was one of the main reasons for all of that. I had to get there in my own time. But I’m finally ready to walk away and try something new. I enjoy your programming and am excited to try something different. Hopefully, I will love it even more than I loved CrossFit years ago. I do have a question around eating: it stresses me out to track my macros but I also under eat quite a bit, especially with protein. I’ve been tracking again but it’s tough to force myself to eat more when I’m not hungry. How did you do it? Should this be a slow process? Thank you again for writing this, it 100% resonated with me, as I’m sure it did with many others. Thanks for being so awesome!

    1. I just added in more protein snacks throughout the day at first and found that I was able to hit those numbers pretty quickly without feeling overly full or sick of food! But you can definitely start slow and work your way up. No need to jump 100% in, that often leads to failure anyways. Take your time and just try to add 5-10g per day or even per week!

  9. I did high intensity as well just recently bought your power program and moving away from the high intensity. Praying it helps my inflammation. When did u start seeing less inflammation after you stopped the high intensity workouts?

  10. I’m so thankful you talked about this so much lately on Instagram and now here. I’ve felt so many of the same things and when I look at myself also don’t recognize me anymore. I work out hard, all the time. When I first started hearing you talk about it I decided to start decreasing too… and dropping some of the CrossFit workouts for more straight weights, which I may actually love more but never thought they were “enough”… it’s so scary to make this change but you make me hopeful! Thank you!

    1. it’s always SO freaking scary to change something, but life is too short to do the same shit over and over when it’s not working! glad you’re changing it up and seeing how it goes!

  11. I so relate this! I’ve never struggled to maintain a healthy shape until I had my second child (constant stress and sleep deprivation also leads to lots of good old cortisol). My entire life I worked out 4 to 5 days a week and ate healthy and had the results you would expect. After my second it was such a challenge that I started working out to the extreme to get the weight off. I was always extremely sore, fatigued, and sleeping horribly. And though I was gaining muscle and finally losing fat, I felt like a swollen balloon. It wasn’t until I had surgery a few months ago, and was forced to rest for 4 weeks, that I suddenly dropped 10 lbs and the edema in my ankles/calves/face faded away. Hearing your story really proves to me that my decison to cut back is the right one. Thank you!

    1. YES! similar experience here! i remember taking off 5 days at one point because of my schedule and I lost weight. it blew my mind! so glad you’ve been able to give your body the rest it so desperately needed and see what rest can do for the body!

  12. I relate SO much to this post. It’s something I feel like I have been struggling when for longer than I can even remember. The puffiness and acne is something I feel like I’m in a never-ending battle with, and on top of it when I look at the work I put into diet and exercise and then see that person in the mirror, I feel like it’s not “me”. I work out 5x a week right now doing a mix of density, complex and some cardio tabata to finish. Sometimes I think “do I need to start running?” or add more cardio to my routine to kick start more weightloss. Do you have any tips/recommendations for learning what to look for as far as the signals you get from your body related to intuitive eating and/or exercise? I find that when I stop restricting myself, I do tend to eat much more than I should (because of ultimate weight gain), but of course, I’m happy to not be restricted. I’m constantly trying to find that balance and I’m struggling to get there. I don’t like tracking because it can be an obsessive behavior, however, If I don’t track, I tend to lose that idea of a healthy calorie deficit. Most of the food I eat is non-processed and tons of plants (I aim for diversity) but overeating and craving processed foods are my downfall! Love that you’re speaking on this! I’ve been a follower for 8 years now and I think it’s awesome that you’re able to share your journey so openly!

    1. When it comes to intuitive eating, I think eating nutrient dense foods that work for your own body is best. For example, a nutrient dense meal for me is LOTS of veggies, animal based protein, and a little fat. Sometimes I want a gf grain in there and sometimes I don’t. When I’m eating that type of meal, it’s really easy for me to figure out how much I should be eating because my body will tell me when to stop. I find that when I’m eating more sugary foods or packaged foods, I have a harder time with figuring out those signals. As for exercise, there can be all kinds of signs such as injury, lack in sleep, reduced sex drive, changes in appetite, and of course, not getting the results you’re hoping for. Often times when people restrict, they go apeshit once the loosen up with the control, which leads to binging. I did this for years until I got rid of restricting and said I could have whatever I wanted…I found that I didn’t care about those foods much anymore because they weren’t out of arms reach. I hope that helps and makes sense!

  13. Do you have any thoughts on weight loss for endurance athletes? When I first started training for long distance triathlons, I dropped a lot of weight and felt skinny for the first time ever. I was also eating whatever I wanted because I was burning so many calories (and was still in my 20s). Fast forward a few years later and I guess my body has adapted to the longer workouts and holds on to whatever I eat. I have made conscious changes to cut out my daily sugary Starbucks and replace Chipotle burrito lunches with veggie & protein bowls, for example… and I haven’t lost any weight OR inches. I’d be hesitant to reduce workouts because that fitness and endurance is necessary for the long races. Any advice is much appreciated!!!

    1. I wish I could help more on that topic, but I’ve never been an endurance athlete. I understand being hesitant on reducing your workouts, but it may be worth trying some time when you get to that point. Think of your body as a constant experiment and don’t be afraid to try something different. But I also understand goals! Weight loss is definitely all about caloric deficit, so it may also help if you began tracking a bit. Play around with things, remember that the body is constantly changing, and don’t be afraid to switch things up!

  14. Hi-
    This post is great! I’ve been really struggling with feeling in shape but also “puffy.” I’m only 5’2 and weigh about 114 lbs, I work out 6x a week doing weight workouts through zoom with a trainer, but it’s so frustrating that im not leaning out. I feel stronger but I feel like even though I work out more than most people, and eat relatively healthy (80% of the time), I don’t understand why I’m still so puffy everywhere. Very similar to how you are in the pic in the photo. Any advice would be appreciated!!!!

    1. it’s hard to give you any advice since i don’t personally know you, but if you’re not getting the results you want, it might be time to try something new. i wish i would have thought of that when i was younger and sticking with the same workouts day after day.

  15. Hey! I recently was diagnosed with Hashimoto and attributed it to age (I’m 39) and this is often when it starts to creep in. I used to do CF but stopped because my husband and I wanted to do something together. So we tried OTF and now doing F45 and I love it. For the past 3 years I’ve worked from home so transitioned to a much more sedentary lifestyle, enter 15 lbs. I go to the gym just about every day because I thought I needed to just to move around. My husband and I are also trying to get pregnant and having trouble but until reading this post and listening to a few things you’ve said, I never thought this could all be related. I’m one of those people that has historically thought you have to workout to lose weight. Plus it has been a huge shift in sitting more 🙄.

  16. Thank you so much for this 🙏🏻. After Crossfitting for 10 years I finally broke away in 2020 because I knew in my gut it was time for a change. Breaking away has been scary but you sharing your journey has really helped me stay optimistic that I can get to where I want to be without CrossFit. I’m on a journey to find what works for me now and I’m grateful that you have shared your experiences.

  17. I’ve been following closely as you discuss this on insta…so interesting. Sometimes doing the opposite is what’s needed. I started with a macro coach last year and lost weight by eating a lot more (reverse dieting), go figure.

    I’m wondering how you know if your workouts are intense enough to get the results you want without causing inflammation? Especially since one of the things asked when not getting results is “are you actually working out with intensity?” I know watching over time probably helps, but it seems like watching over a period of weeks/months could show changes from a number of factors.

    What makes you feel like what you are adding/losing was inflammation as opposed to muscle? Maybe in the past it was more obvious…but do you still feel like it’s pretty clear? I think a lot of times people say it’s muscle.

    Thanks for so much good info!

  18. I love reading your story! I have done CrossFit for the better half of the last ten years, but the last couple years it just hasn’t resonated with me. I have been feeling something inside me telling me to try something new. Self motivation to get the work done is so hard for me though outside of a class setting, but I do love lifting. Is that primarily what your workouts consist of now? What would you call the style of your current workouts, primarily just strength training?

  19. Same, girl, same. I used to hear rest days were important for injury prevention, but no one mentioned crazy cortisol. I finally quit my crossfit gym when I got a new, high stress job and felt like i didn’t need dudes yelling at me all day at work and at night. That agro intensity felt wrong, intuitively, and I did feel better working out less. The best advice I got was actually when I was working out with Adrian Bozman (who I randomly met later). He said the best way to program a workout is to always leave knowing you could have done more. Not only do you not get injured, but you don’t get burned out or overwork. He was the first crossfitter who had a laid back, listen-to-your body approach with each workout and it completely changed how I see exercise. I’m now in a weird place where I need to tighten back up my exercise and diet, and it’s so hard not to fall into addiction while still get healthier and fully agree, listening to your body is key, and it’s about marrying that with a routine that is flexible enough to account for that.

  20. Hi Juli! Love this post and YOU and all you share so openly with us. Question – when did you notice things change in your face as far as puffiness starting to subside? And do you think that was weight, or swelling/edema? Definitely relate to a ton of this and have had similar struggles. I notice it a lot in my face even when weight has stayed consistent, making me think it’s swelling and not fat.. if that makes sense. I just never know if it’s fat (making me feel like I need to lose weight…) or swelling/water retention from stress/high cortisol (making me think I need to actually cut back on exercise/keep eating the same amount/sleep more/chill out.. lol). Of course we’re all different, but wondering your experience there. Thank you for sharing your story!

  21. This was helpful.
    I have cut back a lot. But still do the “CrossFit” deal 3x a week: MWF. I am fluffy. Hips and midsection. My thighs are thick and I’m so upset with it. I do track tho, just to know where my macros are landing each day. I feel if I eat all the time my body will gain it. Now I don’t always eat bread or pastas. I try to stick to no gluten products; limit myself to whole grains if I am doing cardio. I have done a lot of program for weight, I have done a lot of trainers for help. And I’m still feeling stuck. I have come along way tho. I just am feeling to the point of giving up.

    I’m only 5ft but weigh 120 pounds and that’s too much for my size. I’m told diet is the most important part but I guess I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong.

  22. You mentioned on Instagram that intuitive eating has been getting some flack. Can you elaborate a bit more about that? I’ve recently become interested in Intuitive eating, but I’ve only seen content that is pro IE, such as from you and your friend Jessie and a few other accounts. I’m wanting to take the next steps toward that lifestyle but I think I’m still in the stage of gathering information. Making the leap is HARD!!

  23. Thank you Juli! This was definitely me. I was always a distance runner and most training plans required 5 runs per week. Then I got really into yoga and I remember a teacher saying you needed at least 4 classes per week to improve. Then I started getting into strength training, working with a trainer and more recently CrossFit, but I felt too scared to let any of the other activities go. So for a long stretch of my 20s, I would go to the gym in the morning, go for a run after work, and then end my day with a 90 minute vinyasa. Sure I was slim and fit, but I had NO energy and I was not fueling my body nearly enough. I would wake up in the middle of the night starving and trick myself into being full by chugging water. Now, I’ve started to find more balance, with CrossFit 1-3 times per week and yoga a couple times (running sucks ass in Denver so I’ve pretty much given that up lol). Trying to work more on intuitive eating at this point. Would love to hear more about your journey there!

  24. Im a personal trainer so i love that this is being brought to light! We’ve always been taught push push push….heavier heavier heavier! Thank you for sharing your story!
    I’m so intrigued by intuitive eating but the whole idea of it sounds daunting and intimidating. How would you say you started and did you have help from anyone?

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this post – I’ve listened to your podcast and the story you’ve shared about over training. I’ve recently finally made the switch to 2 complete off days (meaning no “long mile active rest walks” because that was just a dang slippery slope) and so far feel much better with workouts and hoping to see the “less puff” soon. It’s so helpful to hear about the mental toughness of it but the reward!

  26. Love this! I also had bad cystic acne when I increased my CF workout days. Rest as an integral aspect of training is discussed a lot in the book Peak Performance—“This is to say that the stress of hard physical training breaks us down, and it is only when we follow stress with rest that adaptation and growth occurs.” 💕

  27. This 100% resonates. When I was 25, I developed an eating disorder and became obsessed with burning off every calorie I consumed. Constant working out, yet constant injury. I got to the weight I wanted but looked and felt like hot garbage. It’s taken 15 years and I still have struggles, but I am learning to listen to my body. I struggle with listening vs. thinking, am I giving up? If I workout less, do I have to eat less, because I love food. But I found a new gym in the last 6 months and have spent more focus on weight training, and my protein intake, and I feel like mentally it’s clicking. Taking a rest day doesn’t give me (as much) anxiety and at 40, I’ve never felt stronger and never felt better. Overdoing it was so unhealthy for me and I’m happy to see you have found such great results by not overdoing it!!

  28. What does movement on your rest days look like? I know you mentioned them being true rest days, but are there walks or stretching or anything? I find it particularly difficult during these quarantine times – my rest days are truly like complete slug days on the couch because there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do to even feel like you’re moving your body AT ALL. If I don’t get a work out in, then I get like 500 steps in a day. Is that something you struggle with at all? Or do you feel fine just truly relaxing a few times a week?

    1. Juli thank you so much for sharing all this! I’ve followed you for 6ish years now and I’ve always admired your courage and willingness to buck the trends that run rampant in the diet and fitness indistry. I’m 30 and have always loved fitness, but I had an eating disorder in college that has often made it hard to figure out if I’m exercising because I truly enjoy it or because I want to burn more calories. I’ve done Crossfit, run marathons, and tried cycling just recently. I think that we all have different forms of movement that really connect us to our bodies in a meaningful way. Crossfit always seemed to cause my ED tendencies to flare up so I quit it. However, running I realized I would do regardless of whether it burned any calories because it makes me feel fantastic and I really connect with myself in running. I still have to keep my running in check and make sure I take full rest days every week but it so much easier to manage than Crossfit was where I felt guilty and shamed if I missed a day. It took me a long time to realize that different forms of exercise can sometimes be the cause of unhealthy addictions. So I encourage all the ladies out there to try a totally different form of exercise if what they are doing right now is not helping with their weight or is causing exercise addiction. Food and exercise should be pleasurable and honoring to our body and not tools for controlling our body. <3

  29. Thank you for sharing! I started an intense caloric deficit and macro counting journey last summer after gaining weight from the pandemic. It created serious disordered eating with binging, negative self talk, extreme focus on calories, weighing everything, constant hunger etc.

    Over the weekend I realized it wasn’t benefiting me mentally or really at this point physically because of the stress. I used to do CF 5-7x times a week and dropped down my workouts to more weightlifting basics 4x a week. My husband pulled up photos from 5 years ago and I couldn’t believe how puffy I was compared to now!

    Your posts/stories the last few weeks are what helped me tune into where I was in my journey. Thank you!

  30. Juli! Thanks for sharing this post and more about your history with fitness. I love learning more about your journey. And I think this experience really shows in how you develop your programs. I am currently in the middle of your Power Program and I am LOVING IT. The workouts are challenging and effective, that’s for sure, but they don’t totally burn me out. I actually feel more energized as I progress through the program. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! Also I love seeing the photos of you from your CrossFit competition days.

  31. Thank you for sharing all of this. What do you do on your “off” days? Like for many, workouts also help with my mental health, so do.you do any kind of movement on the other days of your 3x week routine?

  32. Great read, especially for someone who has let the lack of workouts [no covid gym] cause anxiety and stress on a daily basis. Time to refocus and set new goals in 2021. Thanks for sharing this story!

  33. Wow, this post hit home. Not recognizing the person in the mirror, the swelling, inflammation, hurting all the time….I was feeling all that. Following you this past year, along with our CF gym being shut down for a few months, really encouraged me to make the changes I needed. My three-month break from Crossfit, and working out from home really changed how my body looked and how I felt. I felt soooo much better. I used your Power Program and I LOVE it and just started the Power Sculpt. I only go to some CF workouts to be with my husband (maybe once a week), and I don’t overdo anything. I have accepted that it is ok and I don’t have to compete with anyone. All that matters is how I feel in my own skin. Thank you for bringing this to light and sharing your journey. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me personally. You are the best.

  34. Is there a book or website you’d recommend to learn more about intuitive eating? Really appreciate you sharing your story!!

  35. Thank you so so much for sharing your story!!! I did CrossFit for 2 years, loved it, it became my obsession and I was so swollen, puffy and bloated. I would talk to my CF coach about it and of course he thought I was crazy. I was always exhausted. Completely drained. I had to nap during the day and I would sleep so hard. My coach always tell me eat more eat more, but I couldn’t comprehend eating more because I was so bloated and just felt huge. After almost a year of killing myself with CF my body crashed. Literally. Physically and emotionally. I remember taking a month off from the gym because I literally couldn’t move. I worked myself to death in the gym and I wasn’t taking care of me. After a month I started back. I realized after a month break, I was able to move weight more freely and increased my weight and time much more quickly. Then I became obsessed again. Cycle repeat. But then, injuries. One injury, and the one that I’m still struggling with is my calves, ankles and feet. I had to quit CF because my feet would throb and tingle and swell up. It wasn’t plantar, I feel like I just literally strained every muscle, ligament and tendon in my ankles and feet and I certainly was not stretching like I should. I’m still battling with it today and haven’t worked out in two years😕. I love CrossFit. So many pros, but I feel like as women our bodies are built different and if we are going to put that much stress on our body it’s so important to eat right and listen to your body. I’m paying for it still today.

  36. Thank you thank you thank you. Can you elaborate more on calorie deficit and how that looks for you. Seems like the opposite of intuitive eating so I’m curious to hear more

  37. Wow, your experience really hits home. I found CrossFit in 2013 after competing in Figure from 18-21 (did GREAT things for my body image and metabolism ..) and it was such a breath of fresh air to focus on what I could do with my body vs what it looked like. I loved the transformation of my head and my physique in the beginning, but then my competitiveness took over .. I started training 3 hours a day, 6-7 days a week with a goal of regionals. While my performance took off, my head got worse as I began to hate the way I looked. I couldn’t understand why everyone else looked so lean and I did not when our in and outputs were so similar. I thought I must be doing something wrong (inflammation never crossed my mind), but I continued to do CrossFit until the pandemic hit early last year and I was forced to stop – 7 years!!!! Then I purchased your Power Program, then Power Body Program, then Power Program 2.0 .. I feel so much more comfortable in my skin now, I look forward to every workout, and my butt looks unreal lol I absolutely love your programming Juli! You’ve even inspired me to drop down to 4 days a week and drop the HIIT day, which is something that I would’ve considered to be a sign of weakness in the past and the reason I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Thank you for creating these programs and keep them coming <3

  38. This is just what I need at this point in my life. I was a CF gym owner and obsessed with working out every day and multiple workouts. I’ve suffered through a calf tear, and multiple stress factors and injuries. I would workout through the pain often. I’ve been following you for years and enjoy your stories and recipes. What exactly is intuitive eating? I was counting macros, but it becomes obsessive and I just want to enjoy life!

  39. This is great. This idea of “more exercise is better” always prevented me from establishing a consistent routine. I would start a workout routine and hit it really hard, and then get so fatigued after a few weeks that I would stop working out. Then I’d feel bad about myself for a few weeks, and then start the workouts over again. This cycle happened over and over. I have started listening to my body when it comes to exercise over the past year and now am able to maintain a consistent workout routine. I do need to start listening to my body more when it comes to food. I’m experiencing a similar cycle of diet(restrict) and binge. Do you have any resources that were particularly helpful for intuitive eating? I’m on the waitlist for the intuitive eating book from the library, but I am curious if there was anything else you found helpful.

  40. Just wanted to say I absolutely love your honesty in this post and certainly identify with the struggles you went through in doubting yourself and your plan. I wanted to ask if you had any further thoughts on the dietary portion of this battle that you could share.

    I am battling anorexia and have a hard time resisting the urge to link my food intake with my exercise regimen – for instance, when I workout less I struggle to eat what my “usual” amounts are. Did you experience any thoughts like this as you were scaling back your activity, and if so, how did you handle them?

  41. How did you get to a place where you are doing personalized programming? Did you get a certification of some sort or are you just using years of experience?

    And how were you able to master you’re first pull up?

  42. Thank you so much for writing this. I have been following you for years. Love your workouts, and cookbooks even more. I just quit Crossfit after 9 years. It has been one of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. But, at 32 I finally starting listening to my body and wanting different results. Hearing your journey has made this transition a tad easier! Thanks again so much!

  43. Thank you for this! It’s so hard for women especially athletic driven females to feel like they aren’t failing if they aren’t working out more and accomplishing more. You are getting some great info out into this world:)

  44. Wow. Great article! Very inspiring. How old are you now? And you you take vitamins daily? If so what do you recommend? And on the rest days— is yoga recommended?

  45. Thank you SO much for writing this. I have been doing CF for 3 years now, and like you said- love the community and fitness. I’ve progressed so much and am fitter than ever. But I do have some days where I look at myself and am so frustrated with the inflammation that I see. I still want to have great cardiovascular fitness/etc, so I am learning what my body needs and how to rest more. It’s taking time, and I’m sure this journey won’t end, but I so appreciate you sharing your story and honesty. Your unapologetic authenticity is what we need more of in this world. Thank you!

  46. This really resonated with me. I grew up being a competitive athlete in multiple fields. Having retired from all of the competitive sports, I still find it hard to just relax as all I have ever known has been running from sport to sport and just going non-stop. This translated into me doing the same thing since retiring, but getting into running, yoga, weight training, spin classes, etc… I loved it all and wanted to do it all, not realizing why my 30lb weight gain won’t go away. Recently I took a step back and decided for the next 40 days I’m only doing yoga each day and gentle swims in my pool (I live in the Cayman Islands) when I feel like it. I’m 24 days in and already noticing a difference in my legs and belly. The battery in my scale also died at the same time, and I’m refusing to replace the battery. As I go, I’ll reassess whether I add a little bit of other things back, but for the time being this is serving me well from a mental and physical aspect. Thank you for writing an article that gave your perspective of this, sometimes I think I’m going crazy, because usually more is MORE!

  47. Thank you so much! I am struggling BIG time with this now . Extreme low calories and no weight loss. I need to listen to my body and get over this fitness addiction I have and just rest. Btw, don’t mean to be a creeper but FB does not disguise you and your hubs. Maybe make it more private since you are trying to conceal him? Ha! Sorry thought I should let ya know.

  48. alicia r aubuchon

    POWERFUL POST!! Juli I have been following you since the beginning, when I too drank the kool-aid of Crossfit and was doing classes 6 days a week and absolutely loved the community and healthy lifestyle it promotes. It is so refreshing and amazing to watch you grow over the years and evolve by LISTENING TO YOUR BODY. Amazing- the proof is in the pudding- just look at the above ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of you. This really hits home personally because I have felt that since beginning Crossfit and Paleo I was doing all of the right things. I realized it was time to scale back on the high intensity workouts years ago, but thought I was healthy since- working out less, incorporating yoga (which really helps getting in tune with the body) and eating healthy. I, like you, have moved away from ‘strict’ paleo over the years through intuitive eating and figuring out what works for my body- we are all unique. I recently had a major eye opening experience after an auto accident where I broke my pelvis. 3 surgeries, months later, and lots of therapy and chiropractor appointments and I am finally walking normal again. My chiropractor offers functional medicine so I decided to have bloodwork done a couple of weeks ago. I am on my way to Hashimoto’s, adrenals are shot, thryoid issues, vitamin D deficient, anemic among other things. Yet here I was thinking I am healthy and eating a super clean diet, even during the tough recovery! Thankfully they have given me the tools to fix things before they become irreversible. Traditonal medicine is a sham! I whole heartedly recommend seeking out practioners who are into functional medicine- getting to the root cause of symptoms or issues rather than prescribing a drug to manage the symptoms. Thank you so much for what you do, you are truly an inspiration!

  49. Hi Juli! I just read your blog about over training and inflammation. It is me to a T! Training 2x times a day. no where near a regional athlete but I’ll do a CrossFit workout and then a hiit workout or go for a 5 mile run. I own a gym which doesn’t help me and my exercise addiction. I often times say I’m going to rest and then I am like well I’m here I might as well do a 20 min workout and call it rest. I don’t feel as if I worked out unless I do 2 workouts and “sweat”. I want to have my life back! One I haven’t had in over 10 years because of exercise addiction. I am so scared to cut back on my training but I find myself scrolling through Instagram, saving workouts and admiring other woman’s bodies , never satisfied with my own. If you have read this far, thank you so much. Any words of advice and encouragement would be so incredibly appreciate. Thank you for continuing to inspire!

  50. My doctor just told me to cut back on my exercise. I have PCOS and inflammation is detrimental to my health, so no more crazy HIIT classes five times a week. Hoping to have similar results as you! So glad you found what worked for you and are able to share with us!!!

  51. Hi Juli, I have been following you for years now and love your posts, stories and podcasts (you are a funny woman). I have done your power program and currently doing 2.0. Both have been great. I too use to work out too much in the way of running marathons 🤮 and lifting and was totally inflamed. I struggle with how I see myself. I am a grown ass woman (47 🤦🏻‍♀️) and still struggle with what I see in the mirror. I know it’s fucking stupid but how do we change that mind set? Thanks for all the inspiration, you rock! Enjoy your trip to Costa Rica!!! #travelin2021forchristsake

  52. Thank you for this post! I can definitely relate! Can you elaborate more on your workout routines now? What type? How long? The intensity, etc? That would be awesome! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Love your cookbooks, btw!

  53. Thank you for talking about this! At 32 I have ditched the scale, stopped counting calories/weighing myself, started focusing on real food and am happy with 3-4 workout a week! I only care about how my life style is making me feel, if I feel my best that is what matters! I also have mad love that you have been speaking about your choice to not drink alcohol. I have struggled with this, it doesn’t make me feel good but I feel the social pressure. You have given me confidence to just be who I am and live my life for myself and no one else!

  54. Thanks Julie for this post.
    Since covid has started I was coaching and leading fitness classes 4-5 times a day. My body hurts and is tired and is inflamed. I couldn’t believe this was happening as I eat no gluten or dairy and eat very well. But there it was in a year from over training I’ve put on 15 lbs and am feeling so frustrated.
    Reading your post is like the permission slip to back off and coach my clients in a different way.
    I appreciate you openness. Love your blog, you’re doing great work.

  55. This is spot on …what is your cardio/ weight split? It appears you tend to weight lift mostly, but perhaps it is just how I am reading it. Happy for you…you look amazing, but more importantly, you sound like you feel that way. Health is everything ♥️🙌

  56. Man… I did not expect to read this post and cry… but wow. Just wow. I feel like you are speaking my truth.

    I had the same experience with looking at myself in the mirror and thinking WHO IS THAT… I felt so uncomfortable in my skin.. and everyone told me I was crazy, I was lean, it’s all muscle, etc. But there I was feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin every single day because it didn’t feel right. I wanted to trust those people, but I wasn’t feeling like myself and I felt SO INCREDIBLY lost as to where I should turn. How was eating “healthy,” restricting, and CrossFit.. making me feel so gross and puffy? And WTF do I do now…

    That experience actually triggered an awful eating disorder that literally almost took my life. It’s still a battle, but I’m fighting it day after day. I have begun to learn how to listen to my body, workout less, obsess less, and while I don’t look at my body every day and fall in love with it… I do think back to when I didn’t recognize myself and I know I have come so far. It is such a long, hard-earned journey… but well worth it. If nothing else, I feel like ME again.. and I’ve learned how beautiful that is.

    Thank you a million times for sharing… It is so appreciated.

  57. Thanks so much for writing this blogpost, Juli. It’s really helpful to hear about your journey with overexercising and under eating, because I’m currently in recovery from precisely that. After years of powerlifting, then CrossFit, then doing that with crazy amounts of running and not enough food (also add a stressful AF job as high school teacher), my body said “nope”. I’m in year 1.5 of struggling with a wrecked thyroid and all over the place hormones, I’m just beginning to realize that I can’t push through this. I need to stop and let my body recover, and as you wrote, it might take years. As woo woo as it sounds, I’m going to trust the process: stories like yours help reinforce that.

  58. Hi Juli
    Thank you for sharing ❤️ I am struggling with the same, Ironman training, weights, more training, SIBO, high cortisol, crazy inflammation and having a hard time slowing down. This past year I have tried and succeed and failed again.
    Do you do anything on your rest days, like walking and yoga?

  59. I feel you girl 100%, and the same has been true for me. Any restriction whether actual or perceived (!!) leads to disordered eating, and subscribing to it only cements the belief that our bodies are defective and that we need to control them rather than to listen to them. I was 30 lbs heavier ‘dieting’ than I was eating whatever I wanted, when I wanted. The journey of trust is well worth it, no one outside you can give you that place of empowerment. There are many revolutionaries out there who set me free- like Caroline Dooner and her ‘The Fuck It Diet’, etc. Then there is you, top-shelf inspiration in every way!😘

  60. Such a great post!!! Thank you!!

    I’d love to drop my workouts to only 3x a week as when I have, my body is way less puffy and inflamed. I’m looking into your power sculpt program now and see it is 5 days – how can I make it work with only 3 workouts a week and still see results??

  61. Wow, this really gives me so much to think about in my own journey. I’ve known I have an exercise addiction—no days off and multiple workouts per day—but didn’t think that it could be the thing that has halted my progress. I love exercise for stress management and the role it has played in losing 60 lbs and being able to get pregnant, then lose baby weight, but I seem to keep increasing how much I’m doing to a point that isn’t sustainable, and wondering why I’m not any more fit than people I know who work out much less.

    Thank you for this eye opener!

  62. This is such an amazing and honest post. And it’s so crazy because the last few weeks, I haven’t understood why I feel puffy. My legs feel as if they have expanded to the point that I thought maybe I was doing too many squats. I’ve become addicted to working out for 2 years now. For a time I was really impressed with my hard work and results and now it’s taking a turn. Not drastic, but I notice and feel it. My question is how long so your work out for on those 3 days and how much of it is lifting vs cardio? I was considering to just stop and do Pilates for a month but just feel a little lost because I work so hard, eat well and still don’t think my results match my efforts. Thanks I’m advance abs hope to hear from you.

  63. I can relate to every bit of this article, as I was an avid athlete my whole life. My metabolism grinded to a halt, and the longer and more often I ran or cycled, and the less I ate, the puffier I got. It was beyond frustrating. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  64. I am so happy and relieved to be reading this right now. I have been dealing with body and hormonal issues for three years. I have been an avid CrossFit athlete and runner for 8 1/2 years. My rest days too were running with my triathlon husband. We are both very competiive and running with him pushes me more. Running 8 or more miles with him and then doing CrossFit made me feel unbreakable. I used to call these runs active recovery day.
    Everything you mentioned here was me!! I worked out harder to get what I wanted to see in the mirror. Yet, I was never satisfied. I made myself train for a marathon and do CrossFit 5x a week while eating a very low carb diet in 2018. That is when I went down a huge rabbit hole of finding ways to lose more weight that was creeping up on my body. Legs and arms were getting bigger and on top of that my periods were not coming every month.
    Today marks one month of working out 3x a week and I am still struggling not pushing hard or lifting heavier but I am trying to listen to my body. To decrease my inflammation and lose weight is my GOAL. I have seen so much of a difference in my body already. I believe now that working out too much is NOT the answer to getting the perfect sculpted legs and abs. It is really nutrition with some exercises.

    Reading this confirms I am on the right path after 3 years later. I hope to find the balance as you did with nutrition and exercises.

  65. Laurel Niezgodski

    Hi Julie! I’m going through the Power Program for the second time, entering week 4 of month 1 right now. Today I read this post as well as listened to your “Less is More” podcast. I too experience inflammation post workout, sometimes overnight. It can be really frustrating. It happens most often after the HIIT workout and Full Body Workouts on Saturdays in the Power Program. Would you recommend I switch to a steady state cardio workout on one or both of those days in order to decrease my chances of inflammation and cortisol increase? My preferred choice of steady state is swimming laps at a relaxed pace or walking. I just started Jessie Golden’s Food Freedom Evolution course to address my internal dialogue and begin the journey towards intuitive eating, similar to what you said worked for you over time. Any advice to continue the Power Program while decreasing the chances of weight gain from inflammation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for sharing your story and your journey!

  66. I love this post – thanks for sharing! In the email that you sent yesterday along with this article there was a link to the $79.99 fitness program and meal guide combo pack bundle (https://paleomg.com/product/power-program-meal-guide-combo/). When you click on the Buy Now link (https://paleomg.teachable.com/) I’m not seeing that as a purchase option and the Power Program looks to be $139.99. Is there a direct link to the bundle? ould love to check it out!

    1. Please disregard.. Saw on another post that the promo has ended. Still gonna get it – because it looks dope 🙂 Been following you for a long while and love how authentic and open you are about all the things. Thanks for you and creating content that helps and touches so many people. Have a beautiful day!

  67. Thank you so much for sharing this! I too have struggled with exercise addiction, and thinking MOREMOREMORE was the only way to go. When I started working out at a new gym a few years ago, the coaches would emphasize how important rest is, and it has made a world of difference. I schedule a rest day once a week, which may include yin yoga (basically stretching on the floor) or a leisurely walk, but otherwise only rest. Then I usually have one or two more days of rest depending on how I feel – if I’m sore or achy or just fatigued, I take a day off. I sleep better, am stronger/more fit, and feel better than ever. My active days are now more effective! Thank you again for sharing your story, it is SO powerful.

  68. Since I read this post last week, I can’t quite get it out of mind. I mean it makes so much sense. I think we live in a society where there is so much pressure put on us and it always about more, more, more, which really isn’t the right way to go about things sometimes. This definitely made me stop and think about my routine and I have come to the conclusion that a change is in order. It’s time to listen to my body and not push so hard ALL the time — less is more. Thank you for posting this and saying what others don’t say.

  69. Thank you for sharing your story, Julie. I have been in the process of cutting back workouts and eating what I want for just over a year now. I did Crossfit for 6+ years and trained VERY similarly to you. In my 4th year, I started the restrictive eating and lost 13lbs whilst still overtraining. I continued this for about 2.5 years which knocked my hormones completely out of wack, and caused me to lose my menstrual cycle for over a year. The only thing that made me begin to address these issues was hitting rock bottom; almost passing out in my car while driving on my way home from a double Crossfit workout.

    My question/thought is that I’ve been working with multiple RD’s, a naturopathic doctor, chiropractor, and acupuncturist, and I just can’t seem to find a happy place of reducing inflammation. I’ve gained my weight back, which also resulted in getting my period back, and I FEEL better overall. But the inflammation and an unsteady stomach is still an issue. I’ve used multiple supplements to try to address this, eat a clean non-inflammatory diet, and only workout 2x/week. I’m interested to know if you experienced something similar, and if so, I’m most curious if you ever went to see a gastroenterologist? If so, do you feel it was helpful? I feel like that would be my next step at this point, as I’ve also done a GI-Map already. Very curious to hear your thoughts.

  70. I am so glad I read this, thank you so much for sharing your journey. My body has been telling me to slow down for a while and I’ve ignored it because I was scared AF!! <3

  71. RaeEllen Stackpole

    Apologies if you’ve answered this question already..but..I am considering purchasing the sculpt program, but also am only interested in 3x week workouts focusing on lower and upper body. Are you planning a workout program like this for the near future, or should I just modify the current sculpt programming? You are such an inspiration, keep being unapologetically You..

    1. i’m not planning a 3x/week program at this point. but you can definitely modify and i’ve talked to people in the program individually to help them figure out what 3x/week should look like for them!

  72. I’ve been doing CF for over 7 years. At first, it was awesome. Got fitter, stronger, leaner. But 6 days a week, my stress level and my age caught up with me. I felt thick and puffy, even though the number hadn’t moved on the scale. Instead of me feeling like I had to do more or push harder, it made me feel discouraged and depressed. I figured if all of that time and effort I’d been putting in wasn’t helping me lose weight, it just wasn’t possible. Thank you for sharing this and encouraging people to listen to their bodies, even if it’s against some of the advise that’s been ingrained in us for so long.

  73. Thank you Juli I have been struggling for many years after 10 years of intense crossfit competing, coaching etc just as you did and now my thyroid is wrecked and I can hardly workout without having to go sleep for a few hours afterwards. I just need to trust the process as you say. Plus I think working out only 3 times a week allows more joy and fun times into your life. Thank you so much!

    1. oh wow, that’s so tough! you definitely gotta trust the process! i really expected to get less results by reducing my workouts to only 3x/week, but all my numbers have gone up in the gym, all without feeling puffy or experiencing injuries!!

  74. Juli! Thank you for sharing your story. I trained, worked out 2x a day for a year or so and developed insane muscle, joint pain and edema (my mom noticed that I was puffy)… After many trips to the doctors, they had no answers for me. Until one day, I met a natural path doc and she measured my cortisol as well as many other areas of concern and my cortisol was so high! I changed my diet to an AIP, autoimmune protocol diet and stopped working out all together (just walking 5x a week). Left the weight training behind and after a year of the changes, my swelling and pain, gone! My issue now is I’m binge eating with my AIP approved treats and packing the weight back on (+10 Lbs) ugh! My 🍑is not what it was and that sucks! I have your cookbook and always enjoy your posts. Thanks again for sharing, this will motivate me to plug on!

  75. I have been following you for over a year now and love your podcast. Can you what type of workouts you are doing? I have googled your trainer hoping I could figure out what kind of workouts these are but Im still a little unsure.

  76. I love this! Everything you said is so true! I am stuck in the more is better mode but I know my body isn’t getting enough rest. I hate that puffy feeling. I am short and just get wider with too much working out but it’s hard to stop! I noticed after being in the hospital after my last child was born and not working out for a few weeks from doctors orders, I liked how my body looked and felt but I got right back on the horse and started working out more and more. How have you found that 3 days a week is your sweet spot? You look amazing ! I am already small petite so to much working out gives me a boxy look. I like the muscle just not swollen. Can you offer your best workout combination, cardio/ weight lifting and schedule? Currently doing crossfit 2 to 3 times a weeks running 4 ton5 miles when not at crossfit and or doing kick boxing and core classes.

  77. I would love to know more about how you transitioned into intuitive eating. I am struggling to stop counting macros and would love some advice. Thank you for sharing this incredible story.

    1. i really didn’t have a roadmap. but i think simply knowing portion sizes from macro days will really help. and then you can start listening to how your body feels as you eat and you’ll begin to understand what satisfied feels like compared to full. and over time, you’ll want that feeling more often since being full is often just uncomfortable. if you are looking for guidance, i highly recommend checking out my friend and her courses – https://www.jessiegolden.com/

  78. I absolutely relate to the exercise addiction. I feel lost or that I have failed if I don’t wake up and workout every morning. I lift 4x/week and cardio 2x/week right now. Today for instance, I had the voice inside of my head telling me to sleep in and rest. However, like usual, I told that voice to shoved it and I went to the gym. I am struggling with the idea of working out less and taking a true “rest day” because let’s be honest, my 1 rest day is, more than likely, me going to do yoga and a solid 1hr walk on the treadmill too. Do I have the body that I desire, absolutely not. Reading your story and looking at your photos has really opened my eyes and given me the courage to try something new. Thank you always for your honesty here! I’ve been a follower for a few years!

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