Get high on your own supply

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You know that wave of euphoria you feel, when you complete a gruelling workout. 
That's drugs...
Basically. 

They're endorphins - dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin. Your body’s own pain killers and happy pills. 
Helping you to survive a battle, hunt or earthquake. Surviving a humble workout probably wasn't in the original plans....

Now if we’re being truthful though. I’m just as hooked on those kind of workouts as the next person.   Those who were around in the earliest days of CrossFit will tell you 'war stories' of their first workout, there was usually one or more of blood, tears, vomit involved, maybe all three, plus a feeling of what the heck just happened, and often, but counter-intuitively, "when can I do that again?!"

Here's the thing, we can only handle so many workouts like this.
Tenacity days are for that. Once a month or so.  Benchmarks and testing days can often tick the box as well. Training can still and will be tough   Just not every day. And nor should it be if you want to do this forever. 

The post workout high is what leads to people seeking out exercise that delivers more of these chemicals, and there are plenty of gyms only too happy to deal them out....

Exer-tainment is not exercise however.

Most of us are generally aware of what happens to the body when we exercise regularly. We build muscle or aerobic stamina or burn fat. We feel how daily activities like climbing stairs become easier if we exercise regularly. When it comes to our brain and mood though, the connection isn’t so clear.

It's important to remember that exercise IS a stress. As your heart rate increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting an enemy or fleeing from one. The endorphins are there to protect yourself and your brain from stress,, to minimise discomfort, and increase euphoria.

When you first start training regularly, you're lucky enough to get the largest dose of these endorphins, which is quite handy to help you establish a new routine!

But on the other hand, the release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time. We see this reflected quite simply with over training. But more subtly with unwillingness to pace, and make sensible choices around loading and intensity.

When you are constantly trying to get high on your own supply, the effects naturally dwindle, and it's tougher to get the same level of 'pleasure' you once had.

If we ensure a constantly varied dosage of exercise intensity, loading and volume, then we avoid becoming accustomed to the endorphins, we can enjoy them when we get them, in any amount, without the need for more.

TRAINING AUGUST 5

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Darren Ellis