You want to lose a few pounds before the holidays hit. You’re trying to lower your blood pressure naturally. You want to lower your risk for diabetes, heart disease and a host of other conditions.
These are all great reasons to exercise, but too often when we set fitness (or healthy eating) goals, we over do it and burnout. Without a little rest and recovery, it’s hard to get fitter or healthier.
How do you know if you’re about to hit the wall? If your muscles are sore all the time (after the first couple of weeks of a new workout regimen) or they feel weak instead of stronger, you could be hitting the gym too often. If you feel exhausted instead of energized, it might be a sign that you need to cut back. And finally, if you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep, research shows over-vigorous workouts can interrupt sleep patterns.
Instead of giving up, here are 5 ways to beat the burnout.
1. REST AND RECOVER!
Take 1 or 2 days off each week. You shouldn’t feel guilty for treating your body to some much needed rest. This doesn’t mean you should become a part-time couch potato. A little light exercise like a leisurely walk or doing some basic stretching is still a good idea.
2. CHANGE IT UP!
It gets boring doing the exact same workout day after day. Try 2-3 different routines over the course of a week. Every 2-3 months, experiment with an entirely new kind of exercise. Move from the gym to the great outdoors. Trade that treadmill for a beautiful, winding road. And remember, different types of exercises work different muscle groups, so the benefits to switching it up may be a better, full-body tone-up.
3. VARY THE INTENSITY
You may love that new, super-charged kickboxing class, but take it 5 days in a row… week after week… and long-term exhaustion will most certainly derail your fitness dreams. You don’t have to push it to the limit every workout. High, moderate, low, interval… vary the intensity. Endurance, speed, strength… vary the effort. 30, 45, 60… vary the length.
4. MAKE SURE TO REWARD YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF THE GYM
Celebrate all of your accomplishments—big and small—with something non-workout related like a massage, buying that dress you’ve been eyeing or going out for dinner with friends. This will keep you motivated and give you the energy to continue on your path to success!
5. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR GOALS ARE REALISTIC AND ACHIEVABLE
Setting unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration when they’re not met. If you want to run a marathon but can only run two miles right now, don’t set the goal of running 26 miles tomorrow. Set smaller, attainable goals that will challenge you without overwhelming you.