5 Tips to Fight Burnout
Have you ever felt physically and mentally drained when it comes to fitness? It’s like you’ve hit a brick wall and you don’t feel like doing anything. Every push-up is a chore. Every lunge is a struggle. Even proper nutrition and other things healthy feel like an uphill battle. If you’ve ever felt stuck and helpless in your fitness program, you’re not alone.
Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts can experience low motivation at some point. Often it’s no big deal – for a day or two you might feel less than motivated about your fitness routine and then you’re back in the swing of it. Other times, it can persist more than a few days and affect your confidence and overall energy and determination. In severe cases, this low motivation can turn into burnout, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to show up ready and willing to exercise.
Burnout is the psychological, emotional, and sometimes, physical withdrawal from an activity you once enjoyed. At first, you feel emotionally and physically exhausted and nothing can get you energized. Next, you develop a cynical attitude towards fitness, believing it’s pointless and won’t help you to achieve any of your goals. Eventually, you start to think negatively about yourself and your performance.
Although burnout is real, if you are experiencing it, or believe you may be on your way, you’re not doomed. Here are 5 proven steps you can start today to give yourself the best shot at regaining your energy and positive focus. Many of these steps could also be used to combat burnout in other areas of your life as well.
Step 1: Change your routine
Demotivation and burnout is often the result of following the same routine and focusing on the same goals. A common phrase in sport psychology is “A change is as good as rest.” Any type of change, such as switching programs, training with a friend, or using different equipment (e.g. resistant bands instead of weights) can create a new challenge that not only improves your physical health, but your overall mindset, energy, and motivation to get back to your workout program.
Step 2: Remember your fitness pleasures
Developing lean muscles, lowering your body fat percentage, or achieving gains in muscular strength are all good reasons for training. However, a tunnel vision focus on results can quickly contribute to burnout because it distracts you away from the enjoyment of being physically active for its own sake.
When you’re following a training schedule, continue to include other physical activities you enjoy such as hiking, dancing, swimming, or tennis. By balancing activities driven by intrinsic motivation (those you do purely for the satisfaction you experience when doing them) with those that are driven by extrinsic motivation (motivation that is connected in some way to an external driver) you can optimize your fitness enthusiasm.
Step 3: Celebrate your daily efforts and achievements
Burnout can be partially brought on if you’re constantly focusing on what you haven’t achieved yet. It’s time to focus on the good stuff. For instance, take a look at pro sports. It’s not just the goals that are applauded. Every successful catch, interception, and rebound is celebrated by the players. The athletes always take a brief moment to acknowledge their efforts and achievements. You too must celebrate your daily successes. Take at least one minute every day to journal one fitness achievement. It may be that you completed the entire set of an exercise for the first time, that you trained even though you really didn’t feel like it, or that you moved up a skill level.
Step 4: Set daily process goals
Setting long-term result goals are valuable, but if they don’t come as quickly as you think they should they can also distract you from the day-to-day and cause you a lot of stress. Process goals help you to stay focused on the little things that will keep you confident and motivated to cross the finish line. Your process goals could be holding a specific pose for five more seconds, making it through your training without pressing the pause button, or improving your technique in one particular exercise. With each fitness session, fulfilling your process objectives will create a greater sense of achievement that can only boost your inner drive.
Step 5: Ask for social support
One of the best ways out of burnout is to ask for support. Reach out and share your experiences, talk through specific problems that are having a negative impact on your mood. As the old adage goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” The message boards, blog comments, and Beachbody’s social pages are there for you to do just that. By vocalizing your pain and talking through solutions you’ll feel less alone in your experience. It will also help you feel as though you are taking action towards improving your situation, and that can give you an extra little boost of confidence to push through and persevere.
Dr Haley Perlus
Hi I'm Kelly Richards Mulloy a stay at home mom of 6. I am on a journey to change my life inside and out. Health and fitness, staying young, join me.