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Why don't I get, "feel good" endorphins when I exercise?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
OK, so I always read and hear about these, "feel good" endorphins you get when you exercise. How come I don't get them? Am I a freak of nature? I *hate* exercising and I have stuck to workout routines for months and have never gotten these, "feel good" endorphins. I was even on the tennis team in high school and never felt great about working out, it wasn't something I wanted to do for fun.

I just always feel crappy after I exercise, sweaty, tired, sore and dreading the next session. I have fallen off the wagon and desperately need to start exercising again, but I absolutely DREAD it. I feel awful when I exercise, my whole body hurts, and yes I stretch and make sure I do not overdo it. I don't feel energized from working out. What am I doing wrong?
post #2 of 27
The only "good feeling" I ever got from exercise was relief that it was over.
post #3 of 27
it's taken about 2 months for me of consistent exercising (like at least 30 mins 5 days a week) for me to get that feel good feeling. It's usually right after a workout....I feel great! Yes I am physically tired, I am sweaty and I want a shower but I do really feel great. It wasn't until recently I've noticed this.
post #4 of 27
Have you tried different types of exercise? I hate going to the gym, it feels like a chore and I can't wait to leave.
Aerobics at home, again, I can't stand it.
But, I could bike all day and love it. The same with walking, and I walk at a good clip, I just put on my headphones and go. I can do an hour no problem.

Rather than sticking with a routine you hate, try different types of exercise until you find one you like.
post #5 of 27
I don't know. Maybe you need to find a sport you enjoy? I'd probl. feel the way you do on a treadmill but I can run outside for 4 miles of bliss. Skiing and biking is also awesome for me. But, it always takes a few minutes to kick in and then I feel like I could go forever.

So, I say...think about WHAT you're doing. Add music if that helps; ie. running at 6am requires an iPod for me. Really think about why you're doing it; ie. I do it b/c I love it not b/c it helps me eat ice cream and french fries.

GOOD luck!!
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
Have you tried different types of exercise? I hate going to the gym, it feels like a chore and I can't wait to leave.
Aerobics at home, again, I can't stand it.
But, I could bike all day and love it. The same with walking, and I walk at a good clip, I just put on my headphones and go. I can do an hour no problem.

Rather than sticking with a routine you hate, try different types of exercise until you find one you like.
JINX
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well, the thing is I do not really LIKE any type of exercise. Other than tennis, I am the most uncoordinated, unsporty person out there. As for tennis, it's not an option, right now it's the dead of winter, there are no indoor courts here (and I don't think we could afford the membership even if there was one) and I do not know anybody who plays anyway. Biking... last time I biked, I crashed into my neighbor's house, this is after my DH bought me a brand new bike, so biking is hazardous to my health. My DH bikes seriously, and loves it, and I still cannot fathom why he likes it so much. Running... I suck at it, I have weak ankles and always managed to cause a sprain and it just brings back baaaaad memories of gym class. Walking... I can do it, anyone can walk, but my kids only have a certain limit in which they will stay in a stroller. So, I end up having to constantly stop, to give them new toys, try to coax them into being patient... it's such a hassle it is not worth it to load the kids into the car, set up the stroller, load the kids into the stroller, put sunscreen on everyone, pass out snacks and cups, pick up cups they decide to throw, etc.. I do not do the gym or classes. I do NOT like to exercise in front of other ppl, I feel very self-conscious about it, and then I feel like an idiot when I do an exercise video at home. I will not even let my DH watch me exercise, b/c I'm afraid he'll start to laugh. I know it may sound strange, I've always been like that. I did curves for a yr, religiously, and lost only a few lbs. I just didn't feel like it was worth it. I used to do the leslie sansone walk videos, and stuck to those for months, but yet again, I was not losing enough wt for it to be worthwhile. It's like I need some sort of hellish boot camp workout to lose wt... which I refuse to do. Now, to top it off, I have had residual back issues from my last pregnancies, so I have to constantly worry about not re-injuring my back.

I just HATE to exercise. I don't know why. I have been like this ever since I was a child. I'd rather curl up in the corner and read a book, than participate in gym class. I was always the last one picked for a team, and just feel like I suck at sports. It's been such a struggle for me, b/c my DH is actually very athletic, and I'm just the most unathletic person and have absolutely no interest in sports. He enjoys exercising and I just can't stand it. I don't want my kids to be like me, so I'm glad my DH is athletic, they can do sports with him and he can be the soccer dad. I just do not like working out and don't feel good doing it. It's like a chore. I'd rather clean 10 toilets than work out.
post #8 of 27
I think part of the key is figuring out a way not to view exercise as punishment, and also to not think of exercise as just a way to lose weight (and that it's not valuable if you don't lose "enough" weight.) You may have to be very creative to find an activity that you just enjoy doing, but if you can find something that just makes you feel even the least bit interested in doing it, that may help.

I am a running junky - but I don't always feel great right after or during a workout. I do notice when I'm running regularly, though, that I feel better overall - my energy is better, I sleep better, and I'm less anxious. Also, I feel better about myself - proud that I can stick to a routine, proud that I can run as far as I can, etc. I don't always get an endorphin rush from the actual exercise session, but I can still feel good about my activity level.

I think people who have negative athletic experiences (always picked last, not comfortable with your body image, etc.) often learn to view exercise as a punishment for not eating as well as you should, or enjoying food, or gaining too much weight while pregnant, or whatever. The key is to move away from that kind of thinking. I know that is so much easier said than done!

Also, letting go of any rigid expectations about what exercise must look like help. If you only have 15 minutes, taking a 15 minute walk is better than taking a 15 minute sit on the couch. What about a parent-child class of some kind? What about putting silly kids' music on and dancing with the kids 15 minutes a day? What about just wearing a pedometer and trying to up your daily steps? What about something non-aerobic to start, like yoga or tai chi, to just focus on feeling good in your body? If you never lose a single pound but doing some sort of activity helps you to feel better about yourself, than it is absolutely worth it. And folks of any weight are healthier if they are fitter, even if they are not skinnier. Better to be overweight and able to walk up 2 flights of stairs than over weight and not able to walk to the bathroom without breathing hard!
post #9 of 27
What about swimming, can you swim? It's really easy on the body and joints, and doesn't leave you super sore and stiff unless you REALLY over-do it. It's hard to be too klutzy in water, and if you are, nobody will notice, LOL! Plus everyone is really just focused on their lane and you can't easily observe others when you are all swimming.

I agree that the battle needs to be won in your head before it can be won in your body!
post #10 of 27
Oh, I will scream...... typed out a long reply and hit some random button and it was all gone..... :

Ok, trying again....

You have yourself beat with the attitude. You have every reason in the world why nothing will work. So it won't. Your mind is very powerful; what you believe will happen usually will. You believe that exercise hurts, is impossible to keep up, is bad and hard and everything else - so it is.

I used to give a lot of the same excuses you do now. Not athletic, too busy, little kids, weather is bad, too expensive, I'd be embarrassed, and on and on. So I didn't exercise and kept eating and kept gaining weight, slowly over the years. Ugh.

My best girlfriend in town drug me (dragged??) to the gym. I told her ONE night and she was never to so much as ask me again. I walked in and loved it and have been going for over a year - usually six days a week.

Why I now love it:

1. time with my friends - we visit!
2. music I love is playing
3. opportunity to read junky magazines or the newspaper or whatever
4. lost weight while still eating mostly what I want (within reason)
5. new clothes for slimmer me
6. compliments
7. can keep up with my kids/don't huff running upstairs yet again today
8. good example for my kids
9. dh likes it/it is good for my sex life honestly...
10. an hour of me time each day - no laundry or ringing phone or nose to wipe
11. proud of myself for doing something I previously believed impossible

It took me a LONG time to get the endorphin thing - and I still think it is pretty mild for me. But I love it anyway. You need to get your mind out of the way, and just do it. Don't just make it a habit - open your mind to the option of actually liking it.

Remember the old adage "if you think you can or think you can't, you're right".

Can you have natural childbirth if you don't believe you can? Can you run a marathon without believing it is possible? Let go of the reasons why you'll hate it and open your mind to it becoming something you actually enjoy. Then follow all the good ideas about starting slowly (though I do think that going every day - or almost every day - is easier than 3 days a week), working out with a friend, etc.
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by doctorjen View Post
I think part of the key is figuring out a way not to view exercise as punishment, and also to not think of exercise as just a way to lose weight (and that it's not valuable if you don't lose "enough" weight.) You may have to be very creative to find an activity that you just enjoy doing, but if you can find something that just makes you feel even the least bit interested in doing it, that may help.

I am a running junky - but I don't always feel great right after or during a workout. I do notice when I'm running regularly, though, that I feel better overall - my energy is better, I sleep better, and I'm less anxious. Also, I feel better about myself - proud that I can stick to a routine, proud that I can run as far as I can, etc. I don't always get an endorphin rush from the actual exercise session, but I can still feel good about my activity level.

I think people who have negative athletic experiences (always picked last, not comfortable with your body image, etc.) often learn to view exercise as a punishment for not eating as well as you should, or enjoying food, or gaining too much weight while pregnant, or whatever. The key is to move away from that kind of thinking. I know that is so much easier said than done!

Also, letting go of any rigid expectations about what exercise must look like help. If you only have 15 minutes, taking a 15 minute walk is better than taking a 15 minute sit on the couch. What about a parent-child class of some kind? What about putting silly kids' music on and dancing with the kids 15 minutes a day? What about just wearing a pedometer and trying to up your daily steps? What about something non-aerobic to start, like yoga or tai chi, to just focus on feeling good in your body? If you never lose a single pound but doing some sort of activity helps you to feel better about yourself, than it is absolutely worth it. And folks of any weight are healthier if they are fitter, even if they are not skinnier. Better to be overweight and able to walk up 2 flights of stairs than over weight and not able to walk to the bathroom without breathing hard!
Thanks, yes I realize I have a huge hang up about working out. I just do not like it. I think I am so used to the idea of a, "set" workout, that it is hard to do small bits of it throughout the day, but it's a good suggestion. I guess I get frustrated with the weight loss, because I have weight to lose and even with exercising and a healthy diet... when it doesn't come off, I become very upset. If I could exercise and see the results of weight coming off, I would be more likely to stick to it. I read about all of these people who are overweight and when they start to exercise the weight melts off. I do not get that. I might lose a few pounds, but it is very slow, and not enough for me to drop a dress/pant size. All I remember was when I was 115 lbs in high school, I had to pratically kill myself to get to that weight (I'm 5'4"). I was on the tennis team, I would have a glass of lowfat milk for breakfast, a soda and some crackers for lunch and a normal dinner, plus I had a minimum of two hours of tennis practice a day. Even at 115 lbs, I was like a size 8-10 and I was never happy with it. Most ppl I know who are 115 lbs are wearing much smaller sizes, and ppl always assumed I weighed more than I did. If I tried to eat more, I would gain weight very easily. Now I am 173 lbs, I feel sooooo fat, I hate it. The sad thing is I felt fat when I wasn't fat, and now that I AM fat, I feel like the idea of losing so much weight is just tremendous. It is stressful for me to even think about it. It gets to the point now where I will do almost anything, even things on my list of things I don't want to do, to avoid working out. I know I am digging myself into a deeper hole, I just can't seem to get out of this rut. My dad has heart disease and diabetes and I am constantly reminded of that (by my parents... even before I became fat), so now I am freaking out that I am going to head down the same path as my dad, and I need to do something, but I just DREAD it.

I understand that being fit and being thin can be two different things. I guess my goal right now is getting thin, and I know that being fit will come along with being thin. However, personally I find it frustrating to be, "fit" but not be able to really lose much weight. Nobody looks at a fat girl and assumes she is fit, they just think she is fat. I guess I am one of those ppl that needs to see more physical results from exercise as motivation to continue. I know all about the #'s, I'm an RN. I know I am extremely unhealthy in my current state, but I just hate working out and can't get out of that mindset. I have tried so many times to find something that I might like and have never been very successful at it. Now that I am a mom and hardly have any free time, I resent the idea that I will have to use some of that precious free time to exercise... which I consider a chore. Ack, I need to be re-programmed or something. I sound like such a hopeless case, I just have a very unhealthy attitude about exercise and I cannot snap myself out of it.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirsten View Post
Oh, I will scream...... typed out a long reply and hit some random button and it was all gone..... :

Ok, trying again....

You have yourself beat with the attitude. You have every reason in the world why nothing will work. So it won't. Your mind is very powerful; what you believe will happen usually will. You believe that exercise hurts, is impossible to keep up, is bad and hard and everything else - so it is.

I used to give a lot of the same excuses you do now. Not athletic, too busy, little kids, weather is bad, too expensive, I'd be embarrassed, and on and on. So I didn't exercise and kept eating and kept gaining weight, slowly over the years. Ugh.

My best girlfriend in town drug me (dragged??) to the gym. I told her ONE night and she was never to so much as ask me again. I walked in and loved it and have been going for over a year - usually six days a week.

Why I now love it:

1. time with my friends - we visit!
2. music I love is playing
3. opportunity to read junky magazines or the newspaper or whatever
4. lost weight while still eating mostly what I want (within reason)
5. new clothes for slimmer me
6. compliments
7. can keep up with my kids/don't huff running upstairs yet again today
8. good example for my kids
9. dh likes it/it is good for my sex life honestly...
10. an hour of me time each day - no laundry or ringing phone or nose to wipe
11. proud of myself for doing something I previously believed impossible

It took me a LONG time to get the endorphin thing - and I still think it is pretty mild for me. But I love it anyway. You need to get your mind out of the way, and just do it. Don't just make it a habit - open your mind to the option of actually liking it.

Remember the old adage "if you think you can or think you can't, you're right".

Can you have natural childbirth if you don't believe you can? Can you run a marathon without believing it is possible? Let go of the reasons why you'll hate it and open your mind to it becoming something you actually enjoy. Then follow all the good ideas about starting slowly (though I do think that going every day - or almost every day - is easier than 3 days a week), working out with a friend, etc.
Thanks Kristen,

It sounds like you have BTDT, and it helps to know you got past it. I just feel like I am in such a rut. I just need to force myself to exercise and get it over with, even if I do not like it. I do not know if I will ever, "like" exercising, but it's something I just need to do. (sigh) I have always had zero confidence about my athletic ability (I think I got the UNathletic gene, lol) and poor body image, because my parents always told me I was fat, even when I wasn't fat. Now that I am fat, I and sometimes I'm just kind of apathetic about it, since I have always felt like a fat girl, before I really became one anyway. I don't know if I will ever feel good about my body.
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucysmama View Post
What about swimming, can you swim? It's really easy on the body and joints, and doesn't leave you super sore and stiff unless you REALLY over-do it. It's hard to be too klutzy in water, and if you are, nobody will notice, LOL! Plus everyone is really just focused on their lane and you can't easily observe others when you are all swimming.

I agree that the battle needs to be won in your head before it can be won in your body!
Thanks, I have thought about that, esp with my back issues. My biggest thing about swimming. I am always ravenous afterwards, like I want to eat everything in sight! Is that normal?
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
Thanks, I have thought about that, esp with my back issues. My biggest thing about swimming. I am always ravenous afterwards, like I want to eat everything in sight! Is that normal?
Absolutely, in my experience! Even my kids are STARVING after swimming, and they don't swim laps, LOL! I just try to have something planned to eat after my swim before I get into the pool...otherwise I will go pig out. Try making a really hearty but healthy stew in the crockpot or something, then going for a swim...you'll have something warm, yummy and filling to come home to!

Oh and I have back problems too thanks to several bad car accidents, and swimming helps immensely! Best of all, after I swim I always take time for a soak in the jacuzzi hot tub. Now THAT is worth going to the gym for, LOL!
post #15 of 27
Kirsten is totally right. It is all about attitude. I was the same way. Everytime I drive down the main street of my town there were these beautiful, fit women walking together, or jogging, or biking and I would think "oh, their lives are different so they have time to exercise. I can't do that." Yeah, their lives are different because they make time to exercise.

Finally, I just decided that I was going to pretend to be like them until I was actually like them. I got up early on a Saturday morning, put on my vest (they all wear vests ) and my headphones and I started walking. In my head I was saying "Oh, yes, I'm one of those women who gets up early and walks while the rest of the world is still slugging around the house."

I felt good doing it. And when I don't feel like doing it, I remind myself that I am one of those people who exercises, so I HAVE to do it.

Try changing what you tell yourself about you. Pretend you love to exercise, pretend you love how it makes you feel, pretend you love getting ready to exercise, planning what you will do, writing it down afterwards. It can make a huge difference.
post #16 of 27
I was in the same place as well, after having children and hated working out. I used to be such a jock, but the thought of having to get myself ready, the boys,find a time the gym daycare had an opening, get them in, deal with the crying, it just was so overwhelming. I hated the thought of stairing at a wall while unning in place, or getting water up my nose while swimming, or my knee acts up when I bike etc. etc. etc.. But I have a neighbor/friend who started going with me, and setting up a schedule there for the both opf us. We vary between spin class and yoga. I have to go because I know she is there counting on me, and we picked classes that I would enjoy. I have also made other aquaintences there and talk to the instructors incase she is not there. I would have slacked had I not had someone to go with and pick *fun*classes with. I truly think that if you have a partner to go with, or someone who you know will be there, it makes it more of a time to hang out with the girls or gossip and have fun while doing it.

Also, the only *fell good* endorphins I get are right after a class. By the time I get home I'm sore, and tired. But even through that, my stomach is starting to flatten again, and I can see an outline of calf muscles again. Maybe if you have a goal like a mini triathlon like the Danskin womens or a small local race or activity to gear yourself up for it would seem more worht it?
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bendmom View Post
I was in the same place as well, after having children and hated working out. I used to be such a jock, but the thought of having to get myself ready, the boys,find a time the gym daycare had an opening, get them in, deal with the crying, it just was so overwhelming. I hated the thought of stairing at a wall while unning in place, or getting water up my nose while swimming, or my knee acts up when I bike etc. etc. etc.. But I have a neighbor/friend who started going with me, and setting up a schedule there for the both opf us. We vary between spin class and yoga. I have to go because I know she is there counting on me, and we picked classes that I would enjoy. I have also made other aquaintences there and talk to the instructors incase she is not there. I would have slacked had I not had someone to go with and pick *fun*classes with. I truly think that if you have a partner to go with, or someone who you know will be there, it makes it more of a time to hang out with the girls or gossip and have fun while doing it.

Also, the only *fell good* endorphins I get are right after a class. By the time I get home I'm sore, and tired. But even through that, my stomach is starting to flatten again, and I can see an outline of calf muscles again. Maybe if you have a goal like a mini triathlon like the Danskin womens or a small local race or activity to gear yourself up for it would seem more worht it?
Thanks for sharing your story, it helps to know that you were once in my shoes. Lol about the triathlon... I don't think so. At least not anything in the near future. Last time I took a shower and stepped out, my joints were all making such loud sounds, b/c DH thought it was the floor creaking! So, I just don't think my body is up for anything with a lot of running. I cannot do certain moves, b/c I notice that my hip and other joints clicks in and out of place. It's not from being out of shape, I've always been like that. I was horrified the first time I tried a tae bo tape while I was in college, lots of clicking and cracking noises from my joints. My DH thinks it's abnormal, but I have been like this ever since I was a teenager, so for me it is normal. When I walk down the stairs, I feel like I am so noisy, b/c of my joint noises, I'm actually afraid I'll wake the kids up!
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by fek&fuzz View Post
I just decided that I was going to pretend to be like them until I was actually like them.
I really agree with this concept. You don't have to LIKE to exercise. You don't have to WANT to exercise. You don't have to feel the endorphins. You just have to get up and do it.

I have two friends (who are both in INCREDIBLE shape - aerobics teachers actually....) who love to work out. They complain that they feel terrible if they've missed their workout. They are seen jogging through our neighborhood. I run if someone is behind me with a knife... I wanted to feel like them; I wanted to want to work out and love it. But you know what? Not everyone gets that. I kind of get it now - but it has been over a year of an almost daily habit. It takes a long time to get to that point. Don't let that lack of "oh, I love it" stop you.

Also, between dd1 and dd2 I lost 60 pounds (186 to 126). The first 30 pounds lost and I was still wearing the same pants! They were clearly baggy but I was still in them. The bigger sizes have a lot of pounds from one to the next. Going from a (very tight) 16 to a 14 took forever. Don't get discouraged.

One thing that works for me is working out every day. There is no "oh, today is busy; I'll do it tomorrow". Then magically (shocker!) tomorrow is too cold, the next day I "forgot", etc. Just do it every day, whether you want to or not.

My rule is that I go to the gym if it crosses my mind. No excuses. So if I have an hour before it is time to pick the kids up from school, and I think "hmm, I could go to the gym real quick right now...", I DO! I don't let myself come up with excuses or other things I could do with the time. Just go!

Buy a cute workout outfit; I swear that helps a lot! When I started going to the gym, I wore dh's sweats and a big tee shirt. Ugh. I couldn't have looked more frumpy and fat. Just buying yoga pants (I think they are so cute now; used to think I couldn't wear them at all) and a workout shirt that actually fits puts me in a better mindset because 1) you look thinner just because you're wearing clothes that fit instead of too big, and 2) you look the part - of someone who exercises. Which is what you are! It really helps the mindset to be in cute workout clothes. I bought my first stuff at Target; they actually have some really cute workout clothes! Now I shop at lucy for that; more expensive but I shop the clearance racks.

Also, you absolutely must get a workout buddy in your town!! Convince a friend to do it with you. That is a crucial part of my sticking with it. You know how there is no time for you to visit with people that you want to? Do it at the treadmills or walking through your neighborhood! It is 30 minutes (or an hour) to YOURSELF! I don't think about it as time I have to be away from my family; I think of it as time I GET to focus on myself and my friends! We deserve that!!!! It is good for me in so many ways. I am a MUCH better mom for it.

I have really been exactly where you are. I hope some of my ideas can be helpful for you. You can dislike it; it can be hard; just do it. It will get easier and more fun over time.
post #19 of 27
I have to agree with the pp, don't slack! I have actually gone from two days a week to 3, and now I reserve the daycare for all 5 weekdays and have to go because they will charge me if I don't go. And about the Danskin, it's a very small race, with swim angels that have float noodles to hold onto incase you need a breather. THe bike is very short, in Seattle it is just over a bridge and back! Almost all the women in the open class walked it. Who cares how long it takes, it's getting to the end that matters, even if it is just a local 5k. You could find a family run and get the kids involved as well.

About the biking, my boyfriend that I lived with way back when was really big into biking. He and my grandma went in together to get me a bike. While going to dif. shops and having to ride around to test them made me almost want to cry. I felt like I was going to fall over everytime I went around a corner, I ran into a car and broke the side mirror off because I couldn't stop, I got hit by a bus too. But I kept going and riding on a daily basis and voila! I can ride a bike and love it. I found a cheap bike trailer for the boys and will ride to the store, park, etc with them. And they love to ride in it, as apposed to the stroller where ds #2 is always trying to get out and walk.

About your joints, could you talk to a doctor and find out if there is a medication or routine that he could suggest? My fil and my dh have a horrible rare arthritis and joint pain. They are very active and take a med. that helps with joint pain, etc. I belive it is an arthritic med. but they prescribe it to people with just muscle and joint pain without arthritis.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Kristen-

Thanks, your post has really helped, b/c you have pretty much described how I feel. I went to the gym today to get a tour, unfortunately there is not a pool, there is a really tiny version for physical therapy and for aqua-aerobics, but no lanes. The only other place is the Y, and it is a much longer drive and more expensive, and sooooo crowded, I've taken my DS there for swim lessons before and I can't stand it there, since the staff is also clueless. I'm still undecided whether to just try to do stuff at home or to join the gym, but I'm thinking that the gym probably might be the better choice, since there is more of a selection of different things to do. I just wish they allowed kids... they got rid of their daycare too, since nobody used it (all old ppl).
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