In order to find out if you may be overdoing it, read this handy guide. You'll discover what can cause exercise burnout, five warning signs to watch out for, and how to prevent it.
What Causes Exercise Burnout?
Everyone has moments when they don't feel like exercising. However, if you exercise regularly and you suddenly can't summon any energy or interest for it, it's possible you're experiencing burnout. Exercise burnout can be caused by overtraining, boredom, or insufficient recovery.
Five Signs You're Overdoing It
You can prevent burnout by recognizing when you're exercising too much. The key to knowing whether or not you're overdoing it is listening to your mind and body. Here are five signs you may need to slow down when it comes to exercise.
1. You're Exhausted Physically
Sometimes, all it takes to beat fatigue is pushing through a workout. However, if you're too exhausted most of the time, your body may be telling you it's time for a break. One way to know if you're overdoing it with exercise is if your fatigue is extreme and it extends beyond your body to your mind as well.
2. You Don't Feel Good After You Exercise
Over-exercising can lead to all sorts of physical problems. These might include:
- Lasting muscle soreness
- Persistent joint pain
- Joint, tendon, bone, or ligament injury
- Frequent colds and other viral infections
3. You're Moody and Irritable
When you're exhausted or you don't feel good, it's not unusual to be moody and irritable. You might grumble at friends and loved ones over little things, and the guilt you feel only compounds the problem.
4. Your Interest Has Waned
When your interest in exercise wanes, it might be due to overtraining or doing the same routine over and over. The combination of the two can halt your fitness program.
5. Your Progress Has Stalled
If you become disinterested in exercise, don't be surprised if your progress stalls too. If you're finding more and more reasons to procrastinate when you should be exercising, you might be overdoing it.
How to Prevent Exercise Burnout
The point of exercise is to boost your strength and energy, not deplete them. If you think you may be experiencing exercise burnout or if you want to prevent burnout altogether, take advantage of these tips:
Take It Slow
Try not to do too much too quickly when exercising. This is especially important if you're new to an exercise routine. Start with easy activities like walking, bicycling, light jogging, or beginner yoga poses. If you're weight training, begin with one set of an exercise and a low number of repetitions and build up gradually. For continued success, set goals that are realistic and achievable.
Focus on Recovery
Recovery is as important to a good fitness program as exercise. Focusing on recovery is one of the best ways to avoid exercise burnout. Try these tips:
- After especially grueling workouts, rest for a day or two and follow up with light exercise.
- Train specific muscle groups a maximum of twice per week with at least two days of rest in between.
- Enjoy at least two workout-free days per week.
- Try to get plenty of sleep. Deep sleep triggers the production of human growth hormone, which helps build bone and muscle.
Eat Well and Stay Hydrated
Eating nutritious foods and staying hydrated helps boost energy for working out and enhances muscle recovery. Healthy foods to add to your diet include:
- Leans meat, fish, and poultry
- Whole grains
- Nuts and legumes
- Low-fat dairy
- Whole fruits and veggies
Change Up Your Routine
Since boredom can contribute to exercise burnout, it's a good idea to change up your workout routine. To keep things interesting, try mixing in different types of exercises like jogging, spinning, swimming, circuit training, yoga, and pilates. When weight training, change up the types of exercises you do and the number of sets and reps. Adapting to new exercises can make your body stronger, leaner, and fitter.
Pamper Your Body
When you're working hard to stay fit, it's important to reward your body with a little extra love. In addition to proper recovery, occasional pampering can help ward off exercise burnout. Once in a while, treat your body to a:
- Spa massage or body wrap
- Relaxing soak in a bathtub or hot tub
Please note: This information does not contain or constitute medical advice or a medical opinion, and it is provided for informational purposes only. You should always consult a qualified and licensed medical professional prior to beginning or modifying any diet or exercise program.