You leave work feeling stressed, tired, and overworked, so naturally you turn to your fitness routine pounding out miles on the pavement in the evening or a hard weight-lifting session before work. Or, maybe, performing well at your next race or event is important to you, so you start adding in additional training sessions at the expense of rest days and recovery sessions. ZOZOFIT knows how fitness enthusiasts love to put in the work.
But just like we get burned out at work or in our personal lives, overdoing it with fitness can also cause burnout — and many of the “symptoms” are fairly similar. You might feel a complete lack of interest in exercise activities you once enjoyed, you might be suffering from injuries and other obstacles, or maybe you’re not seeing any progress.
So, before you start reading about how to overcome fitness burnout, do some critical self-evaluation to figure out what might be causing your burnout. Have you been forgoing recovery runs to add more speed workouts? Do you have a dull pain you’ve been ignoring for weeks or months? This is your time to be honest with yourself, because only by truthfully acknowledging the source of the burnout will allow you to navigate how to get over the hump.
Whatever you’re noticing, it may be time to reevaluate your fitness routine, goals, and reason for pursuing excellence in fitness. Knowing how to overcome fitness burnout is the key to finding joy in training again, as well as preventing injuries and other problems that may arise from overtraining.
Rethink Your Fitness Goals
As soon as you realize you are struggling with fitness burnout, it’s time to rethink your fitness goals. Our goals are the guiding lights as we create our fitness plans and choose races and events we want to compete in. If you choose a goal that will be difficult for you to achieve whether you just don’t have the adequate time to commit to training or the goal exceeds your ability, then burnout is inevitable.
Go back to the basics of the goal — your “why” — and figure out how best to adjust the goal to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) so you are set up for success.
Schedule Recovery Sessions and Rest Days
Even if you don’t think you need recovery sessions and rest days, you do. One of the biggest reasons people experience burnout is because they fail to give their body the care and rest it needs after intense workouts.
The rule of thumb is to have at least one rest day a week. This doesn’t mean you have to do nothing, though. Going on a neighborhood stroll or easy bike ride are great activities for rest days.
You might also consider scheduling some recovery sessions at a local recovery center. Many of these centers offer cold plunges, infrared saunas, compression sleeves, and other amenities that can aid in your recovery and help you continue to perform better.
Try Something New
If you’ve spent months only running, it might be time to try something new. Spending day after day doing the same type of exercise can begin to feel grueling and tedious, especially if you aren’t able to change up the scenery once in a while.
To overcome your fitness burnout, try out something new! Have you always wanted to try yoga or pilates? Thought that cycling for exercise might be fun? This is the perfect time to step outside of your fitness comfort zone. It may be hard, but don’t think about how this new thing is straying away from your workout plan or you won’t be ready for the next race.
If you’re suffering from burnout, then you need to focus on you and what you need to get back on track and feeling good.
Revise Your Workout Plan
Now that you’ve rethought your goals and penciled in recovery sessions and rest days, it’s time to take a look at your workout plan as a whole. Your training calendar is your source of truth, so look through and identify problem areas (say, too many long runs in a row or intense workout sessions on holidays and busy days). Sprinkle in something new, too, to give your week variety.
You might also consider rethinking what time you’re exercising. If you always choose to do long, intense fitness sessions in the evening sandwiched between the end of your work day and before dinner and your child’s tennis match, you’re going to feel pressured and cramped for time. So, see if a few days a week you can move your workout to the morning and free up your evenings.
Whatever you do, just keep in mind that your workout plan is not set in stone. Make it a habit to look at your workout plan often and adjust it as needed. Using your ZOZOSUIT with the ZOZOFIT app can really help you adjust as you go along!
Exercise…Without Really Exercising
One of the hardest things about fitness burnout for fitness enthusiasts is that it often means taking a break from the level of work you’re used to putting in. Not committing to your plan may feel like failure…or maybe you’ve been skipping workouts and the thought of doing anything just gives you a headache.
Try to exercise without really exercising! Commit to using the stairs, take lunchtime walks, or get your blood pumping with a dance break! It will feel good to move your body without an expectation for performance.
Never ignore an injury or persistent ache or pain! Burnout can also be caused by poor injury management, especially if you begin to associate exercising with pain or discomfort — and not the kind you’ve come to expect by pushing yourself.
Make a commitment to yourself that you’ll stop when your body is telling you to stop. Some injuries just require a regular stretching routine, while other injuries can be mitigated with self massage using a foam roller or lacrosse ball. If you are really struggling with an injury, look into physical therapy or dry needling.
Once you’re feeling better physically, it will be so much easier to reframe your mindset and get back out there!