How to Move Past Burnout and Stick to Your Exercise Plan


It's not uncommon to get frustrated with your exercise and diet efforts, especially when you reach a plateau point. Switching things up may be just the boost you need to get back in the game.

You wake up at 6am every day. You've got work at 9, but you're up three hours early to make sure you get your workout in. Everyday it's the same. You get up, get dressed, and go to the gym. You lift weights for an hour, and then you do an hour of cardio. You've been eating healthy for about three months now. You look better than when you started, a nice bonus. You push through every workout. You always give it your best. Today something doesn't feel right though. The last thing that you want to do is workout. If you have to even look at one more ounce of grilled chicken you might puke. Just the thought of one more second of cardio makes you cringe. What is this feeling? Who is this negative, doubtful person? It's not you, it's burnout.

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Burnout, to be clear, is not a physical condition that can be treated. It is a state of mind symptomatic of overtraining and not getting the gratification you need to keep going. It's the reason why so many people quit halfway to their goal. They just can't take it anymore. Even if you work your butt off and continue to switch up your workouts, at some point you are going to see the scale stop moving so quickly. If you let yourself get discouraged, burnout will most likely ensue. The symptoms are apathy and resentment toward exercise and dieting. You can tell you're burned out if your workouts just aren't fun anymore and you're basically ready to throw your whole diet out the window. It's not the end of the world but it can be extremely damaging to your plans and delay the attainment of your goals, sometimes indefinitely if you let it.

Never underestimate the power that your mind has over your body. Your mind is what gets you to the gym. Your mind is where your motivation lies. Your mind is the only thing that keeps you going when you want to quit. Your body can push through exhaustion if your mind tells it to. If your mind is exhausted, however, your body cannot help you. Perception dictates what you see in the mirror and how you view life. If you start to feel like you're working for free and it's not paying off anymore, you're in trouble. Burnout can make you depressed, angry, and usually leads to self sabotage. Now that you know what it is, you can recover. Hopefully, you're not too deep in the hole.

The two keys to recovering from burnout are rest and change. This means you need a break from working out and a slight release from your diet. Then you need to strategize on how to switch up your diet and your workouts to make them at least somewhat enjoyable. Do not fall into the trap of thinking discipline is all you need to succeed and continue on a healthy path. It can only take you so far. If you're miserable, eventually something has to give. Don't let it get to the point you never want to do anything "healthy" for the rest of your life.

You have to remind yourself of why you're doing this, and make sure it's for yourself and not to impress anyone else. Get some motivating music, new workout clothes, new magazines, whatever you need to get yourself back in the right mind. Maybe try a new gym, or a different class. Do something new with your workout so it's not the same old thing. Give yourself a week away from the gym - but make sure to go back. Also, allowing yourself a cheat meal every now and then will certainly not hurt. Consistency is key but rest assured you will never stick to a diet you hate. So if you feel like you're burned out, take a break. Take a nap. Watch some TV. Hang out with friends. Have a cookie. It might just save your diet plan.