1. Health
Exercise burnout isn't a pretty thing to witness. It may cause uncontrollable crying, intense crankiness and even violence or vandalism committed against inanimate objects (like workout shoes, treadmills or other exercise-related equipment).

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.

September 8, 2010 at 8:21 am
(1) Dianne in Texas says:

When I first started the weight loss challenge I’m on, I was completely burned out and BUMMED out about exercise. Then I started asking myself some questions. Namely, WHY did I feel this way?

After some careful thought, I realized that I really just hate being stuck on a treadmill…and I would much rather walk outside. Problem is…this is Texas…and it’s summer. So I resolved to find solutions to all my excuses/problems…and I did.

I walk outside in the morning, before it gets too hot. As I type this, the remnants of Hurricane Hermine are blowing on the side of my house and it’s pouring rain…so I am definitely going to have to work out on the “DREADMILL” today. But that’s okay, because I know tomorrow I’ll be back outside.

I would love a Wii, but I’m far over the weight limit and would snap that sucker in half like a pencil…and how motivating is that? LOL I have a bike that I can ride if I get bored from walking, but so far the fear of my neighbors seeing a bike protruding from my giant heiny has been enough incentive to stick to my walking commitment.

The important thing is that I do have options in place for the time when I really DO get burned out again.

I need all the support I can get! :-)


September 8, 2010 at 9:42 am
(2) yoop says:

In the last year I’ve gone through one major round of burn out. My solution was to change up my routine with “mind tricks.”

I was a 40 minute at a clip elliptical gal. When I got tired with that, I ticked myself into doing short, but intense spurts…say 1 minute of PE level 9, then 1 minute of PE level 5. It helped break up the monotony, and even spurred my metabolism! My mind was saying…I only have 1 minute to go…I can do it!

Then, I tried 15 minutes on the stair climber, 15 minutes on the recumbent bike, and 15 minutes on the elliptical. It was a trick to make me think I was done in a mere 15 minutes, and it was easy to get through!

Eventually I stuck with the 15 minutes per machine routine. It is more fun than a solid 45 minutes of cardio on one machine!

September 8, 2010 at 4:55 pm
(3) Dr David Robinson says:

There are other venues for getting exercise. Fitness center routines, aerobic classes, kettlebells, kickboxing, bootcamp can all get stale. It’s why, as a personal trainer, after 15 years, I have shifted gears to outside activites year-round (EcoVenture Excursions)! Being outdoors surrounded by natural settings does wonders to give you a lift and shake off a burn out! C.

September 9, 2010 at 5:52 am
(4) natural weight loss diet says:

Results are supposed to be long term and not quick fixes!

That’s why consistency and patience are 2 of the most important ingredients in a healthy life containing exercise and healthy food.

September 11, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(5) Diane says:

Wow. I am a personal trainer and you just nailed me! It is extremely hard especially when it is your business to stay fit and healthy! My husband has been telling me quite a bit lately that he thinks I’m overtraining…”where did he get that info.?” hahaha! I have never had injuries before now I am battling 3 different issues and really do feel like I don’t want to do this anymore. I will take your advice (and my husbands) and change it up, do something fun and rest. Kind of like what I would tell a client, eh? Thanks for posting this.

September 13, 2010 at 7:50 am
(6) Donnie Reece says:

After rededicating myself to a healthier lifestyle; I hit a really bad burnout. I had counted calories, measured body fat, and got so lost in weight loss & muscle building nutrition that it was became tiring. The plan was to take a few weeks off, but after seeing the scale start to tip the other way I could’nt just watch that hard work go to waste so I used http://www.meetup.com and found a weekly soccer/ultimate frisbee/flag football group in my area and started playing. I was having fun and enjoying some outside sunshine… getting away from the gym equipment and track was a needed break. I recently began my old routine after a couple months off with new motivation.

September 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm
(7) Glenda says:

Gotta keep moving every day or I am dead soon. I had polio when I was a year and a half old and my parents kept me moving as a kid. So it became more natural to keep moving into a career in nursing. Often at work I would take a walk around the department to figure out a problem and then return to work while most of the other girls sat and talked. Nursing is heavy hard work behind that cute little uniform.

September 13, 2010 at 6:12 pm
(8) Glenda says:

Oh, and keep smiling :)

September 14, 2010 at 8:43 am
(9) Angela says:

Funny this came out today. I had a nightmare last night that kettlebells were attacking me while i was trying to exercise! I’m pretty sure I’m at the burnout stage.

September 14, 2010 at 11:02 am
(10) kim says:

Yeah, I had turned into a carbohydrate watching, cardio training, fat burner pill popping, endorphin rush junkie for about 6 months then suddenly hit the wall. Couldn’t even stand the smell of the gym. Absoultely couldn’t motivate myself to eat healthy any more or even come near the gym. Started gaining weight, then the guilt set in. Clothes got tight then depression hit me. Finally talked to a friend who told me that I had made fitness and working out too much work. He suggested that I get back to the basics of just getting a good cardio workout for 30 minutes a day doing whatever fun thing I wanted to do. He also suggested that I stop freaking out about carbs and just use common sense and moderation. Surprisingly it’s working! I feel great and I’m back to exercising regularly. The weight I gained isn’t coming off very quickly, but I’ve learned to live with it content in knowing that I’m active and healthy.

September 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm
(11) T says:

All these comments helped me; I think I am experiencing a bit of this. I am dealing with injuries too, possibly from overtraining. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted and kept trying to push myself harder when my body wasn’t feeling up to it. I now have a back strain and have had to cut way back; I’ve put on a little bit of weight but am trying to stay active most days of the week, watch what I eat and am starting physical therapy. Thanks for posting & for all the ideas. Hang in there everyone; staying fit and active is still the best thing you can do!

September 14, 2010 at 9:26 pm
(12) johnny says:

most people need to realize that eating food is for excersizing and you should actualy do aerobics after or during your food intake, the minimum time being the amount of time it takes to loose the calories you ate or at least wait enough time to burn off your food with non activity after each meal.
the reason this will help you is if you excersize and burn off the calories you ate for the day you will burn your fat reserves when your not eating as the average person burns about 1lb for 5 hours on non activity.
food is fuel for excersize.
if your having problems with bodybuilding and aerobics do your bodybuilding first as the proper diet for aerobics are not benificial in my opinion to bodybuilding as you need calories (protein calories) to make muscles unless your just wanting tone. my diet for cardio is different for muscle, i cut out diary to a minimum and eat oatmeal every meal with vegetables in the evening when i want to burn calories, when i want to build muscle i drink milk and eat lots of meat. i eat small meals about 300-400 3-4 times a day.

October 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm
(13) k says:

Johnny, 60-75% of the calories you burn per day are simply to maintain your BMR. So one really needs to know how many calories they use to maintain their current weight and adjust from there for their activity level for that day. For fat loss, decreasing more than 200-300 calories from you total daily maintenance number will probably result in losing muscle as well as fat, which of course will slow down your BMR (bad bad). As far as cardio post weight lifting, it really depends on your goals. If you want a bigger post exercise oxygen consumption, a marker for increased metabolism, as well as weight loss, studies have shown it’s better to do cardio before lifting. If, on the other hand, you don’t care about getting lean and want to build mass, and you are going to do a really heavy lifting session, too much cardio before that may use up too much energy. But if you want to lose fat or get cut, cardio pre lifting is the best option. This is a great article about this subject: http://www.realjock.com/article1128/ :)

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