Fitness and Self-Care: How to Prevent Workout Burnout

Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash

When it comes to sticking with a fitness regimen, many people find they are doing well until they hit a wall and have to deal with workout burnout. If you find yourself stalling and putting off workouts, you feel exhausted or unmotivated or your workouts leave you feeling tired, moody, and irritable, these are all telltale signs of burnout. To prevent yourself from getting to that stage, it’s important to balance your fitness routine with plenty of self-care.

Save Your Schedule

A common reason people experience workout burnout is because they have to spend so much time commuting to the gym or studio just to get started. A 30-minute workout can end up taking twice as long, eating away time you’d rather spend with family or friends. To make things easier on yourself, set up a home gym. You don’t need too much space — your garage, basement or any spare rooms you may have are perfect. To stay within your budget, look for inexpensive equipment that is just as effective as any fancy, expensive machine.

Try outfitting your home gym with affordable options such as:

  • Flat bench
  • Step
  • Jump rope
  • BOSU ball
  • Stability ball
  • Medicine balls
  • Free weights
  • Kettlebells
  • Resistance bands
  • Yoga mat
  • Cones
  • Suspension trainer
  • Pull-up bar
  • Foam rollers

Reward Your Progress

Making goals is a huge part of any fitness journey. Without some idea of what you want to see from your workouts, you’ll grow stagnant and bored, eventually reaching burnout. Whether you want to get stronger, lose weight, master a skill, or simply make fitness a healthy habit in your everyday life, once you get to a point you define as successful, make sure you reward your progress. Avoid food-based rewards and instead think of ways to indulge yourself with experiences. A massage is a great place to start. A professional massage reduces pain, eases anxiety, minimizes symptoms from PMS, and can even make you look younger. If a massage isn’t really your bag, find some other way to treat yourself like a solo trip to the movies or buy yourself a new book you’ve been dying to read.

Make it Social

Socialization is important when it comes to both physical and mental health. Humans are social animals– we need to spend time around each other for support. People who make a point to get out and see people live longer, have a stronger immune system and suffer less from mental health issues. Furthermore, when you make exercising a social affair, it adds an element of enjoyment and makes the whole thing feel less like a chore. When you’re looking forward to your workout with friends, you are less likely to feel unmotivated and listless when it’s time to break a sweat. Call up some of your loved ones and see if they’d like to join you next time you try a new class, take a hike, or embark on a fit activity such as swimming, rowing or rock climbing. Another great idea is signing up for a fun run together. You can hold each other accountable for training and encourage one another all the way to the finish line on the big day.

If you keep working out in pursuit of your fitness goals, but you don’t take any time to relax and recover, you are likely going to experience burnout. Burnout can throw a huge wrench into your plans and delay your progress significantly. To help prevent burnout, try making exercise more convenient. Having a home gym ready and waiting cuts out travel time so you can get back to doing the things you love after your workout. Fitness goals are a key to progress. When you reach one, reward yourself with a bit of self-care such as a massage. Finally, as social animals we need to spend time with our family and friends. By making workouts a social event, you’ll be more likely to enjoy breaking a sweat and stick to it for longer.

By Sheila Olson

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