Burnout can reach even further, if you don't catch it soon enough, leaving you feeling depressed, sore, tired, unmotivated and not really caring that you're unmotivated- all signs of overtraining. There are some signs of an impending burnout, but some of the most obvious include:
- Poor Performance - You may keep trying to run a certain speed or lift a certain amount of weight, but you never seem to get there. If your performance is declining, your body may need some extra rest days.
- Exercise Dread - If all of your workouts are hard and unsatisfying, you may start to feel as though you'd rather do anything than exercise.
- Self-Doubt - The worst part of burn out is feeling like you're doing something wrong. Often, when things go wrong with our workouts, our instinct is to work even harder. It's as though we think we can make our bodies do what we want. Sometimes that's true but, if you're burned out or overtrained, your body is going to tell you what it can and can't do. Forcing things may only make things worse.
Taking a break is the most obvious choice for dealing with burnout, but you don't have to completely stop exercising. In fact, burnout is the perfect time to try something completely different. If your performance has been in the toilet lately, think of a light activity you know you can do well without much effort. Yoga, stretching, walking the dog, swimming, hula-hooping, Wii Fit - anything that will help you reconnect with your body in a less intense way and remind you that feeling good is an important part of any exercise routine.
What about you? How do you know when you're burned out and what do you do about it? Have you ever quit exercising because you felt burned out? Leave a comment and tell us about it.