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Posted by Barry on Apr 5, 2011

Avoid Exercise Burnout

Whether you are just starting out on an exercise plan, or you have been working out for years, exercise burnout can be a big problem. This is particularly true if you find exercising challenging, both from a motivational aspect and from a physical aspect. Burnout can easily derail your fitness plans, but there are a few ways that you can make sure that this does not happen to you.

First, one of the best ways to avoid exercise burnout is to ensure that you are doing many different types of exercise (like we do in P90X with muscle confusion). Instead of focusing on just running, or just doing aerobics, or just lifting you can change it up throughout the week. For instance, if you are exercising three days a week, on the first day you can do one form of exercise, on the second, a different one and so on. By varying up your routine, you won’t have to worry about it getting stale.  This is exactly what P90X does for your mind and body.   After your first initial round or after several rounds of P90X you will want to introduce other types of exercise in as “variety is the spice of life”.  I personally put in swimming/knee boarding in the summer, running throughout the year as my daughters and wife love to run, got the one-on-one series as I love the way it challenges me once a month.  Have done Insanity (now that is a cardio workout) and of course some classic gym lifting.  Anything that you enjoy will help you to stay focused and keep you from burning out.

This works for a variety of different reasons. Mentally, you’ll be facing different challenges when you work out each time, so you won’t get stuck in a rut. Physically, your body will benefit by increasing the type of training you are doing. For those that have a big problem sticking with one type of exercise, the Beachbody programs offer a “circuit training” type of solution with plenty of variety.

Next, you may need to think about scheduling in a day off, but only if you are sure that one day won’t stretch into two weeks, and then bypassing exercise all together. While it is important to keep going with an exercise plan, you may find that after a month or two that you are either mentally or physically tired of it. One day off can give you that time to recharge your batteries and get back to the point where you enjoy working out.

In fact, most people realize that they miss the feeling that working out gives them when they do take a day off (this is not guilt, although it could be, but the “feel good” rush of endorphins your body gives you when you exercise), and it is that much easier to get back to it as a result. Missing one day of exercise every week won’t completely derail your efforts and it will give you a chance to keep your routine, mind, and body fresh.

Lastly, one of the best ways to avoid exercise burnout is to keep your goals in mind and keep working to attain them. Write them down, place them in a prominent place and keep reminding yourself why you are going to all of this trouble. When you have a visible reminder of what your efforts are going to accomplish, it is much easier to stick with the plan and avoid getting burned out.

No one is a machine, and since we are all human, there is a risk that doing the same activity day after day, week after week, will result in burnout. However, by taking the time to recognize this and make those steps to avoid it, you can be assured that exercise will not be something you dread any longer and will actually become a part of normal daily life.

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2 comments
Jim
Jim

Excellent post on the different stages of burn out. I've been through them and it's good to know I'm not alone. Good stuff Barry.