Once you get into the swing of a training routine at the gym it can be easy to become addicted to the high that comes with the satisfaction of having just smashed a workout. With the adrenaline pumping and the release of endorphins making you feel good, who can blame you? Let’s be honest here, there are worse things in life to be addicted to. But when you’re suddenly training 7 times a week, your body just might be the one to start pointing the blame as you’ve left it with no time to repair or recover. It’s at this point that you enter “The Burnout Zone”.
Like most things in life there’s a balance that needs to be found and maintained within your training programme. It’s the balance between exercise overload and recovery time that needs to be established in order to avoid reaching the burnout stage.
Burnout can affect you in various different ways, be that prone to illness, physical and mental exhaustion, problems concentrating, irritability or having problems sleeping. Either way, it’s something that you want to avoid.
Once you start seeing results or even just start to notice a few other benefits of your training, it’s understandable that this will motivate you to keep at it and work harder. By no means is this to say that motivation is a bad thing, however it is important that you’re careful not to take too much on at once or too soon. Not only will doing so cause you to reach a burnout stage but in the long term it may lead to you abandoning your programme altogether which, for obvious reasons, isn’t desirable.
They say that patience is virtue and when it comes to your health, patience really couldn’t be more important. By making gradual gains over time you are ensuring that you are progressing in a way that is realistic and more importantly, sustainable.
If this is something you’re worried about, here are a few tips to help you avoid burnout:
Take active recovery
Taking a rest day doesn’t mean that you have to do absolutely nothing. Taking part in some light activity such as walking or riding a bike will help to loosen up the muscles and encourage blood flow in any sore areas and in turn this will promote recovery within your muscles.
You could also incorporate a ‘cool down’ into your exercise regime at the end of every session which will help in the prevention of muscle soreness post-workout and decrease overall recovery time.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is so crucial for our body to function effectively both when we exercise and in daily life in general. While we sleep our body releases growth hormones which aid the regeneration of muscles as well as the replacement of aging and dead cells. The process of protein synthesis is also carried out while we sleep which is the process where our body uses the high quality food we have eaten during the day to build muscle more efficiently. Ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep of 7-9 hours will promote these processes and help with the recovery process.
Keep a balance
Don’t forget that there is more to life that training. Keep training a brilliant part of your life but make sure you don’t let it take over. Allow yourself a cheat meal or a few glasses of wine. In actual fact, this might actually help you out as this boosts the metabolism and helps you to maintain your health and fitness goals long term.
Let me know if you have any of your own tips to avoid reaching the burnout stage of your training.
Niamh Serena x