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How to Keep Working out Without Burning Out

Avoid that "I simply can't go on" feeling.

Burnout is a looming threat that faces every athlete, resistance trainee, and runner at some point in their lives. The combination of pushing too hard, insufficient rest and recovery time, boredom, perhaps improper nutrition, and work and life stress can lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed, demotivated, and uninspired in the gym.

Don’t let that be you! Here are a few ways you can work out longer without burning out.


A good night of sleep is paramount for solid workout performance. If you’re not sleeping enough, the tiredness is going to creep into every area of your life, including your gym workouts. Stick with a sleep schedule that leaves you feeling rested in the morning. Shoot for at least 7 hours of sleep per night, especially after an intense training session.

Recover Properly

Recovering from an intense workout involves 48-72 hours of rest for the worked muscles. That may require organizing your workout effectively to give those muscles a break, but it’s worth it in order to have full muscle capacity when you hit the gym again. Include dynamic stretches in your recovery routine so you can keep the muscles and joints limber—stiffness and aches slow down the healing process.

Eat Right

Protein is the most important post-workout nutrient, but don’t skimp on the carbs. Carbs are the fuel that keeps your body working, and they are necessary for maintenance and repair of your muscles. If you cut carbs, you’ll enter a state of muscle catabolism or breakdown. Make sure that you get plenty of protein, but include carbs in your diet as well. They’ll make a huge difference!

Know Your Limits

This is important both in and out of the gym. If your body is feeling drained, don’t try to push yourself harder — it could just increase your risk of injury. Learn to listen to your body and recognize the signals of fatigue and exhaustion. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, gloomy, or too tired to work out, recognize it and be willing to take a day off to let your body recover.

Get a Massage

Deep tissue massage can do wonders for tight muscles and joints, and they can help to eliminate excess lactic acid from your body. If you’re feeling achy or tired, treat yourself to a massage. It can make all the difference in the world when you next get back into the gym.

Switch it Up

This is one of the most important keys to avoiding burnout. Variety is the spice of life, and it will keep you engaged and interested in your workout program. If you’ve been lifting weights for years, try something else: CrossFit, bodyweight training, high-intensity interval training, running, rowing, martial arts, even yoga. All that matters is that you are engaging your muscles and cardiovascular system, and you can still get a great workout in even if you never touched a barbell or dumbbell again. Consider changing up your workout, at least for a few months, to avoid the boredom that signals burnout on the horizon.

These tips can help you to push your body hard in your workout, yet you’ll walk away from your training knowing that you’ll do whatever is necessary to recover from the intense session. That can do a lot to help stave off burnout!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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