Beating Workout Burnout

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  • I have a girl friend who was deeply committed to her fitness mission. She began eating clean, working out with a trainer, and was an active member in an online fitness community that supported each of its members in their quest to wellness. She was doing great and I often chided myself when she’d post about her smart meals while I scarfed down chicken minis for breakfast. Then, suddenly, tragedy struck and she found herself without motivation.

    All of her months of good habits were slowly fading away as her mind was occupied with work and more importantly, the loss of a very meaningful person in her life. She was aware of both her loss of interest in exercising and the increased number of “cheat days” in her diet. The fact that she was thwarting her own progress added to the emotional pressure she placed upon herself. Fortunately she reached out to her online fitness community for support and they rallied around her.

    Fitness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey and with like any other journey we embark upon, there will be detours and road blocks. If or when you find yourself straying from your fitness mission, whether the cause is emotional, physical, or psychological, here are a few great tips to help get you back on track.

    Obligate yourself

    Fortunately, many of us feel a sense of obligation to others. When you include other people in your fitness mission, they can help hold you accountable. I have a guy friend, who is already considerably sexy, but he wanted to lose weight in order to look his best for a vacation in Cabo San Lucas. Even though I couldn’t be there to boss him around in the gym, we instituted “Fitness Photo Fridays” where he’d send me a mirror photo documenting his progress. Of course, he was working toward his own personal goal, but he also knew that I would demand a photo from him, every Friday, without fail.

    Phone a friend

    When there are challenges in our lives, many of us have a confidante to reach out to. If we can talk to someone about our work and love woes, why can’t we discuss our fleeting motivation to stay fit? There’s absolutely no reason, and more often than not, your listener can relate. A good friend will reassure you that you shouldn’t let your previous hard work go to waste. And if that friend is also into fitness, he or she will invite you to join them in their next workout.

    Switch things up

    Ever suffer job burnout from doing the same types of monotonous tasks week in and week out? The same type of burn out can occur from a boring fitness routine. Not only will you lose motivation from doing the same workout for an extended period, your development will plateau due to muscle memory. Muscle confusion is the key reason why P90X works as well as it does. The workout changes so frequently that the body has no time to get used to a routine and evolves quicker. Take that thinking and apply it to your routines. If you’re tired of running every morning, try a spin class. If Zumba is getting old, try burlesque fitness. If you’re over weight lifting, try Crossfit. There are options everywhere.

    Teamwork

    People who enjoy and have had success with Weight Watchers believe that their success is due in part to the meetings. Having to report to meetings each week makes you accountable to adhere to the diet, and the positive reassurance is great for the self-esteem. It motivates the members to want to stick to their goals so they can share their successes with the group. Also, there’s a reason why people participate in fitness challenges like "Burning Man" and the "Go Dirty Girl Mud Run" groups. When you’re able to feed off of the energy of the people around you, you work harder. When you get weak or feel like quitting, you’ll have a teammate to urge you on, and vice versa. In the case of my girl friend, reaching out to the online community about her lack of motivation spurred an outpouring of reassurance, new fitness buddies, and ideas to get back on track.

    So, don’t let your fitness slump get you down. It happens to the best of us, but the key is to not get comfortable in old habits that will erase all of your hard work. Do what you can not to dwell on the fact that you’ve had a slump, and instead focus your energy on what you plan to do to bounce back with a vengeance.

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