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10 Ways You Know You're Burned Out on Exercise

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Updated May 13, 2010

My running shoes stared at me from beside my bed. It was almost like they were taunting me, daring me to get out of bed and go for my morning run. When I made my plans to run yesterday, it sounded good but now, in the cold light of dawn, the thought of putting on those shoes and going for a run made me pull the covers over my head.

We all have those days when we don't want to exercise, but burnout is a different matter. It's the feeling that anything (watching grass grow, counting ceiling tiles) sounds better than the usual routine. Other ways to know you're burned out:

  1. On the way to the gym for your usual workout, you suddenly remember your sock drawer needs to be organized immediately. You hurry home before sock chaos ensues.
  2. When your walking partner calls for the third time, wondering where you've been, you consider changing your phone number and, possibly, moving.
  3. You're doing your favorite workout video and find yourself talking back, as in, "I know there are 8 more to go...Do you have to keep saying that?"
  4. The sight of your gym bag brings on a severe case of hives.
  5. When sedentary co-workers tease you for working out all the time, you find yourself saying through a yawn, "You know, you're right. Exercise is overrated. Gotta donut?"
  6. You rebel against all things active--you avoid stairs, park in the closest space and roll your chair into the kitchen for a drink instead of actually walking. You delight in your excessive laziness.
  7. During your usual morning run, you stop and check your shoes to see if someone secretly strapped 10-lb weights to your feet.
  8. Getting out of bed feels like an anaerobic workout.
  9. When the receptionist at the gym says, "Have a great workout!" you reply, "Have a great workout? Have a great workout? You should be fired for that kind of talk!" Security escorts you off the property.
  10. You spend hours trying to figure out how to walk the dog without actually moving.

Burnout happens to most of us from time to time and the solutions are simple: take some time off or try something new. You can visit my Workout Center for a huge variety of workouts or you can simply give yourself a few days of rest. Take a stroll, do some light stretching or get a massage. You'll come back feeling refreshed and energized.

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