San Diego Fitness Psychology – BURNING OUT ON EXERCISE?
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
You’ve been attending the gym faithfully for quite a long while, working out alone, with your buddies, and even hired a trainer. Four, five or more days a week, you give it your all, pushing, pulling, jumping, throwing, lifting, jogging—there isn’t a piece of equipment you don’t use.
Then one day, for no obvious reason, you decide, “Nah, don’t feel like working out today.” Then another day, and then another. Perhaps you question the worth of all the exercise you’ve been doing. You feel fatigue, have muscle soreness, perhaps experience leg cramps and just feel restless, and can’t relax or unwind. You begin thinking you are just exhausted –physically, emotionally and mentally. That perfectionistic, hard-driving, competitive side of you that always has great intentions and unrealistic expectations for working out give way to self-doubt, self-damning thoughts and just too many “bad days.”
Those are some of the symptoms of burnout. It’s a term that goes back to 1976 when it was first coined, and since then there has been lots written about it and our understanding of how to prevent it and deal with it has grown. The key is to listen to your own heart, mind and body because in the end, that quiet voice inside of you knows the right things to do—it’s the “noise” of your own irrational thinking, “experts” and demands that prevents you from doing what you know will help.
Here are six tips that I know will help recharge you and reset your direction back to health:
1. Begin your day with a relaxing meditation in which you “see” yourself in a positive and enjoyable exercise routine.
2. Switch from a “must” do to a “prefer” to do mindset. Get “rule-free” even from your own self-imposed “rules” and that includes being less demanding about working out “perfectly.”
3. Give yourself permission to say “no” to time demands—you need to heal.
4. “Slow down—you’re moving too fast,” as the song goes. It’s time to take a real break from working out, and when you return, be sure to change up your exercise program. Been solo? Go group ex. Don’t forget to reprogram your iPod with some new music too. Don’t be afraid to switch up workout partners or trainers.
5. Create a mindset that’s about what can go RIGHT and what’s NOT wrong and create more time for yourself and your personal enjoyment. Ask for help and remind yourself that burning out is NO disgrace—it happens to the best of us, literally—those who have given their all so consistently they become mentally and physically exhausted.
6. Add PERMA to your life:
• Positive Emotions
• Engaged in enjoyable activities
• Create enjoyable Relationships
• Find Meaning in what you do
• Take pride in your Accomplishments
This covers touches on every approach that’s been shown to help overcome burnout. The club has staff who are ready to talk with you about how to restore your happiness, health and wellbeing, and get past this common malady. You’ll return to “you” and be back in the club with a healthier mindset and a healthier body.