It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, burnout will occur at some point in your life. It might relate to your job, your hobbies or the gym – but there comes a point where most of us just can’t push on any further.
For the purposes of today we’re going to be dealing with gym burnout, and exactly what you should be looking at doing if you fall into this dangerous category.
You may have been on holiday for a couple of weeks, and just can’t get back into the swing of things and suffering the dreaded burn when you do start lifting weights, or your grueling workouts over the past year may have just gotten too much for you and you’re on a prolonged break.
Whatever your reason, here are six fixes to overcome gym burnout and get your body back to where it should be.
There’s no shame in starting small
You might be one of those guys who has been working out for 90 minutes a day, but if you have reached burnout then a compromise is needed. In other words, working out for such long periods just isn’t going to work; both mentally and psychologically you are going to be utterly drained.
As such, don’t be afraid to just start small. When we define small, it may even be as short as five minutes. By starting out with a short workout at home, you can slowly build your body and mind up so you get to a stage where you can progress. Additionally, a lot of people will find that five minutes just isn’t enough anyway and will carry on – fingers crossed you fall into said category.
Prepare your bag bright and early
In truth, this next suggestion doesn’t even have to apply to the burnout phase. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for a lot of people occurs before they even depart for the gym; the stage of preparing gym clothes, post-gym clothes, shakes and everything else you cart along with you.
Suffice to say, if it’s not prepared in the morning, the chances of you waking up for that alarm suddenly shrink. If you can get everything together the night before, your to-do list diminishes significantly and getting out of bed almost doesn’t seem as much of a chore.
Of course, these rules apply regardless of the time that you hit your gym. If it’s after work, you’ll again need to prepare the night before – it’s the same preparation rules which will just increase the chances of you turning up.
Try not to do it alone
This next fix isn’t going to be possible for everyone, but if you can find a training partner you might be surprised at the difference it makes to your exercise regime. Suddenly, you don’t just have yourself to answer to.
For example, if you’re in the middle of the burnout stage, it’s all too easy to roll over in the morning and get an extra hour in bed. If you have a training buddy waiting for you, it’s not just yourself that you are letting down.
It stretches much further than this as well. Having a partner can boost motivation and mean that you can push yourself, and your buddy, much further whilst exercising. In short – it’s far harder to say ‘no’ to someone else than it is yourself.
Consider short challenges
We’ve already spoken about short exercise stints at the peak of your burnout, but perhaps try extending this to month-long challenges. The sessions don’t have to be overly grueling, but if you can put together a one month plan to get back into the swing of things it can work wonders for your long-term progress.
A lot of us are constantly thinking about the end-goal; whether it’s that rippling six-pack or perhaps the ability to complete ‘x’ miles in ‘x’ minutes. Well, let’s move away from that briefly, and make things more manageable. If you set a challenge for one month, you’ll not only be able to have your goals firmly in sight, but by the conclusion of the challenge your body will have most probably recovered from the dreaded burnout.
Make sure your schedule accounts for the gym
It’s all very well saying that you’ll “go to the gym” three times next week, but especially during burnout periods the peak question is undoubtedly “when?”.
Particularly in the rigors of modern day-to-day life, things that we were “meant” to do can easily get lost. Now that you’re already in the burnout period, it’s also much easier to lose these things.
As such, scheduling is key. Make sure you not only have set days for the gym, but set times as well.
As well as the above, this scheduling needs to work with your life. If you know that Tuesday is going to be a busy one, having your gym session penciled in for after work is asking for trouble. Either schedule it for first thing in the morning, or have it as a rest day. Otherwise, your burnout will continue.
Finally – this is normal
Let’s end with something of a reality check.
As we started the article with, it doesn’t matter who you are, burnout occurs with everyone. It’s completely normal, and you just can’t afford to beat yourself up about it.
However, while it might be normal, that’s not to say that you can’t take steps to avoid it in the future. A lot of the time, burnout might occur for a reason – whether it’s due to a lack of enjoyment or stimulation, lack of progress or maybe you are just taking on too many sessions and pushing your body over the limit.
Suffice to say, all of these instances can be prevented. You can make your workouts more enjoyable by sticking to an exercise or sport you prefer, you can make them more productive by turning to better advice and by this time you will also know the limits of your body.
Don’t beat yourself up about it too much and if it does happen again, you’ve got the other five suggestions to rely on.
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