We've all hit that wall at some point--you know, the giant brick one that surfaces whenever you're pushing yourself through those last minutes on the treadmill or completing that last set with the dumbbells. We have to face it: fatigue is a real problem when it comes to your physical health. And simply going to the gym everyday can lead to an even worse kind of fatigue: burn out.
Burn out happens when you're physically tired and disgusted at the mere thought of doing something...kids pushed into singular sports early on often get this way. Mom and dad force them to play baseball for 11 years and right when mommy and daddy are thinking scholarship, Junior decides he'd much rather try out for the school play. Here are some great ways you can avoid burn out and fatigue in your routine.
1. Mix it Up!
One of the worst things that can happen to your workout routine is that you fall into a plateau...you keep doing the same workout, but your body has adjusted and you no longer get the results you have been seeking...you just "maintain" your weight or you don't gain any more strength. The best way to bust out is to switch up your workouts. By adding variety you'll employ the science of muscle confusion, which will cause your muscles to shake off their sleepiness and start transforming the way you want them to.
2. Keeping Track
One thing that many people tend to do is over-train. This is where you over-exert yourself to the point where the kinetic chain of your body begins to break down at various points. Tweaked your ankle, but still ran that three-miler yesterday? Felt a twinge in your shoulder, but still completed that upper body workout? Those are the signs of overtraining. It's important to listen to your body, it will tell you much when it comes to working out. If you do suffer a minor training injury, allow yourself some time to heal by not putting stress on that particular muscle group or performing repetitive exercises that use those muscles or ligaments.
3. Reward Yourself
The one thing that many of my clients tend to forget is that for all the hard work they put in, it's essential to reward yourself for that hard work. Just like you would reward your dog for a new trick or your child for all As on his or her report card, allow yourself to be rewarded for your hard work. Made it every day to the gym this week? Treat yourself to a small serving of gourmet ice cream. Hit your weight-loss goal? Time to buy some new wardrobe items. These little things count and will make you work even harder.
4. It's OK to Take a Break
We all get burned out. Sometimes your heart or head is not in your workout. It's ok to take a break from the gym. Maybe you're going on vacation. Maybe you're physically tired. Just know that when you get back into it, your body and mind will be recharged and refocused for the task at hand.
Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement
and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports
Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as
well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University
of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur
athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity
to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with
amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed
Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.