Are you on the verge of exercise burnout? Do you want to know how to overcome workout burnout without having to take weeks away from the gym? Then, you may want to hear what I have to say about how to overcome those pesky exercise blues and have you fall back in love with your workout today!
Everyone Gets Exercise Burnout
I didn’t really notice how I’d missed over two weeks of workouts until my neck started nagging at me. My long history of spinal injuries comes back to haunt me when I don’t exercise consistently. In fact, a huge reason for why I workout is for staying as close to pain-free as possible.
My absence from working out stemmed from my ever-busy work schedule and sadly, as some of you may know, that’s a sorry excuse. Yes, I have to pay the bills. But, at what expense. If that was the case, then I’d get back into pro wrestling and earn a living from that again. And, that’s not such a good idea since I’m only one bad move or misstep away from paralysis.
So, I’m faced with an issue I’m sure you’re familiar with – exercise burnout.
I hated to say it and needed to hear it out loud.
I DON’T WANT TO WORKOUT
I wish I could say it was liberating, but it wasn’t. After all, the guy who wrote 41 health and fitness books should know better than to skip a workout. Even worse yet, I skipped two weeks’ worth of exercise routines. Whoops!
Thankfully, my self-awareness served me well and I was able to get back on track with one simple shift in my mindset and schedule. However, this may not be as easy for some of you. That’s why I thought I’d point out some common triggers for exercise burnout and some simple solutions for each.
Exercise Burnout Reason #1: Workout Hatred
I’ve worked with a ton of people looking to lose weight, so inevitably, I’d run into the person who felt workouts were an obligation. No less, some people felt hiring a personal trainer was the only way to lose weight or get into great shape.
I’m getting ready to call in the ire of many a personal trainer across the world when I say – hiring a personal trainer is NOT essential to getting in shape or losing weight. FACT.
Yes, working out will help you lose weight, but it’s not the only solution. In fact, I talked about great alternatives to traditional workouts in a recent post 5 Easy Tips for Fitness Success. If you don’t like weight training or even going to the gym, then don’t do it.
Find your fit in fitness. It’s okay if you don’t like calisthenics or strength training. Try something different and if you’re easily bored, then mix it up. And, frequently try something new until you find what drives you and gets you active.
The key is to find what you like so you stay active and stick to it for the long haul.
Exercise Burnout Reason #2: Workout Exhaustion
Are your workouts leaving you drained? Do you find your exercise routine takes everything out of you? Is your energy completely depleted for the rest of the day after a workout? Then, you may be experiencing workout exhaustion.
Now, I could easily assume the wrong things about you or what your capabilities are. So, I’ll name a few reasons for why you are feeling exhausted:
- Poor nutrition – the fact is if you aren’t fueling your body with the right foods, then you are constantly running on empty. Eat right, and you will keep that energy up and recover from an intense workout.
- Overdoing it – More on this to come.
- Not enough rest – I hit this one before in a past blog post Proper Rest: The Inside Secrets on How to Do It Right.
- Underlying medical issues – this is a worst-case scenario, but is worth considering especially if you haven’t visited your family doctor lately. In fact, I don’t simply attach a disclaimer to my posts for liability’s sake; I do it because I truly believe if you take your health seriously, then you need to align yourself with a qualified medical professional.
Reassess how you’re attacking your workouts, what you’re doing outside of your exercise routine, and why your energy is plummeting post-workout.
Exercise Burnout Reason #3: No Days Off
Whoa there, Superman! Pump the brakes and ease off the gas a little. Unless you’re a fitness competitor, there’s no reason you should be obsessive-compulsive about your workouts. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I still don’t have the t-shirt to prove it.
You need to have days away from your routine, so you keep your workouts fun and exciting. Too much of anything will always lead to some kind of duress or burnout. Trust me.
And, why are you working out every day with no days off? Are you doing it to prove something? Is it for bragging rights?
Fitness legend Frazier Ferguson once shared with me his philosophy on workouts and how he kept in such phenomenal shape. Fergie hit the gym every other day. The days in between, he spent active yet away from the gym. Look, if a former-Mr. USA and bodybuilding icon had success with this model, I believe you can too.
At the very least, take one day off. Go out for a brisk walk, dancing, or visiting with friends. Just do something other than 500 squats or 3,000 crunches. You’ll thank me later. In the meantime, check out another reason why rest is critical in this post Sleep and Weight Loss: How to Lose Weight Fast.
Exercise Burnout Reason #4: More is Better
Stop bragging about how sore you are. And, for crying out loud, unless Guinness Book of World Records was there to document your Earth-shattering lift, no one cares about your latest personal best. I’m sorry that I’m not sorry on this one. However, it seems like if you are trying to lift more, workout more, or brag more, then you’re in it for the wrong reasons.
In fact, one of my closest friends, Dave, shared with me how he dove into one of my workouts. Sadly, he overdid it and regretted it. The workout included maximum repetitions for bodyweight exercises and rather than calling it quits on a set when he should have, he pushed through. Well, go figure, Dave started a new job within a couple weeks of beginning this intense routine. So, he went into his new job being less than physically ready for the demands.
Dave knew it and openly admitted it. He wanted to get into the best shape possible in as little time as possible. And, his body suffered from it. We shared a laugh together and agreed that less is more when it comes to fitness.
Know when to say when while still challenging yourself. And, if you find yourself wanting to brag about your latest personal best, then re-evaluate why you’re working out in the first place.
Exercise Burnout Reason #5: No Results
This is the #1 reason for why people quit working out at the beginning of every year. They jump into some wishy-washy goal of losing weight for the new year. Well, go figure, when they don’t drop the weight right away, they bail on their New Year’s Resolution.
Do you want to know the secret these New Year’s Resolutioners miss?
What Gets Measured Gets Done
Boom! Mic drop!
I know this ain’t groundbreaking information and I sense a fair amount of click-aways or eye rolls from this advice. But, you know it’s true, damn it!
If you’re traveling to a specific destination and you plan out the route ahead of time, then you greatly increase your likelihood of success. Unlike physically going somewhere, exercise results need to have measurable tracking in order to see what’s working and what’s not. Would you drive with a blindfold on? No?! Then, take the blindfold off and start tracking your progress.
For more details on how to track your progress, check out my first book The 3 Keys to Greater Health & Happiness.
How I Overcame Exercise Burnout
Fun fact: I’ve only been working out since 1999. However, that’s long enough to know when I’m having fun and when I’m not. Quite frankly, I was getting bored of my routine and my reason for absence at the gym was due to not setting goals and tracking my progress.
Naturally, I was less inclined to get my workouts done and even come close to the gym, save for a few grocery shopping trips close to that location.
Here’s my pledge to you:
- I’m setting new goals
- I’m working out in the mornings when I get up to get it done
- I’m going to try something new when I start to feel the workout burnout
So, now that I’ve been a bit vulnerable, I’d love to hear what you plan on doing to break exercise burnout. Drop your open thoughts in the comments. And, if you’d prefer to keep it confidential, then drop me an email at email@example.com.
-Dale L. Roberts