If you’re exercising a lot or partaking in high intensity workouts a few times a week, you may find that you, at some point or another, suffer from exercise burnout. I’ve suffered before and it really isn’t a pleasant feeling.
It can be as simple as losing interest in the gym to feeling physically and mentally fatigued. It can also be onset by expecting too much too soon, and when you don’t get to your end goal you feel defeated and deflated.
It’s not uncommon, yet it can be easily avoided. We find in a lot of our clients who experience injury and strain comes from overdoing it at the gym and so learning how to lead a balanced-workout-schedule or investing in a proper recovery programme is paramount to your wellness journey.
We find prevention is better than cure so if you’re looking for ways to avoid the burnout or you’re suffering and need to know how to help yourself, we’ve got some tips for you…
1. Take a break
We’ve all fallen victim to the ‘never miss a Monday’ mantra but it’s important to listen to what your body is saying and do what’s right for you, not just what you think you should be doing.
Do not punish yourself for missing a workout or skipping a workout when you’re feeling particularly burnt out as it can be more beneficial to actually working out.
If you need more time off, don’t be afraid to take a week or so to yourself, without the gym. Being physically drained can have an effect on your mental state and looking after yourself should always be your number one priority.
2. Try something new
Sometimes it’s not about the intensity that brings us to burnout at the gym, sometimes it’s brought on by boredom.
If this is you, there is a simple way to make a change and that is to mix up your workouts. Find new ways to challenge yourself; whether that’s going for a run when you usually walk, or try to relax in Pilates or yoga if you’re used to going hard in HIIT sessions. A new challenge can bring about more energy, motivation and excitement to get back in the gym.
By keeping your body trying new things, you’ll not only reduce the chance of mental fatigue but you’ll likely see more results faster as sometimes your body can get used to what you’re doing slowing down progress.
3. Invest in proper recovery techniques
Not taking the correct time to fully recover after a workout is one of the biggest mistakes exercise-goers make. It’s crucial that you warm up, cool down and take rest days for your muscles to properly recover and develop. If not, this could be why you’re experiencing exercise burnout, which may have some unpleasant side effects such as decreased performance, increased frustration, fatigue and stress.
Avoid falling victim to exercise burnout by having a thorough stretch and rehabilitation programme in place alongside your workout plans.
We’ve got plenty of tips for stretches, from hip flexors to ankle strengthening and morning routines on our sister site Peakperformance.co.uk, so take a look and try to add these into your daily or weekly routine. Your body will soon thank you, and you’re less likely to suffer from bad burnout from your workouts.
4. reevaluate your goals
Whilst it’s great to work towards health and fitness goals, it may be time to reevaluate the ones you currently have. Consider if they are right for you, and if you believe they are it may be wise to look at ways to break the goals up into smaller, more manageable goals so you’re not overwhelmed.
5. Treat yourself
Try to see listening to your body and taking adequate rests as a good thing; schedule in enough time a week to look after yourself or take the appropriate breaks when needed and reward yourself when you do so.
If you’re in a routine with working out and find it hard to let go you can start off with something small, such as a monthly sports massage. There are physical and mental benefits to sports massages whether you’re suffering from exercise burnout or not. Not convinced? Check out our blog post on the benefits of massage.