Burnout–it happens to the best of us, and it can happen with work, in our personal lives, and even with exercise. Oftentimes burnout leads us to neglect our own mental and physical health, which in the long run is unsustainable. You can keep it up for a short amount of time, but if you aren’t careful, you might end up feeling like you’re crashing and burning.
Oftentimes, burnout with work and life can be avoided by breaking our routines up. The advice is usually along the lines of: take frequent breaks, make sure you eat healthy and get tons of sleep, maybe make a professional change, practice self care, and finally, exercise is always at the top of that list. But what happens if you burnout on exercise?
Although exercise is healthy and good for you, it’s still possible to experience burnout or have an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Physically, it’s apparent when our bodies are exhausted, lethargic, sore, or when we get injuries. Mentally, you might feel bored or drained and want to skip workouts consistently. Burnout might look different for each person, but the solutions for avoiding it will apply to everyone.
- Plan recovery days. A lot of people struggle with taking their recovery days. Trust me, I understand. We all want to see progress as quickly as possible. But schedule your recovery days because you need it. Also, recovery days don’t mean that you’re just sitting on your couch and lounging all day–you can do active recovery days by doing yoga or flexibility and mobility routines. Also, make sure you also get enough sleep!
- Split your workouts. Sometimes breaking down workouts by muscle groups allows you to work different muscles on different days so that you’re not burning out. This also allows one muscle group to recover while you’re using another. It’s generally a good idea to mix things up anyway.
- Change up your exercises. Are you only doing one type of workout? Mix it up. The Trifecta class schedule, for example, doesn’t just have 1 type of class. We have Breathe & Flow, Boxing, Kickboxing, HIIT, Dance, Yoga, HeatFecta…everything. It’s designed like that for a reason. Your workouts should be engaging and fun. Don’t feel like doing HIIT one day? Go do Dance. Feel like you’re really tight and sore from Boxing? Do yoga instead.
- Eat smart. Your body needs fuel, especially if you’re hitting your workouts hard. I see a lot of people who are very motivated to lose weight fast, so they’ll work out and go crazy restricting calories. That often ends with burnout and binge eating, which is the reverse of what you want. First of all, if you’re working out a lot, your body needs fuel. Plus if you’re not eating smart, you’ll get tired, no matter how motivated you are.
- Reward yourself. It’s surprisingly easy to forget about appreciating ourselves (because who else will?) and being proud or happy about what we’ve achieved. Staying healthy takes work. Going to a workout and finishing it takes work. Eating healthy takes work. When working out is part of your regular routine and you don’t think twice about going to a class, remember to recognize the work that you put in daily and reward yourself for it.
If you’re currently experiencing burnout, give yourself permission to take a much-needed break. Reassess things and see what you can change to try to avoid it in the future. Burnout’s a result of pushing ourselves too hard and stretching too thin, but it’s also a way to find our limits and build on that experience.