With the pandemic still going on, going to the gym remains risky or just not possible. Many fitness centers have been forced to close and can be expected to remain closed depending on lockdown protocols in their locality. Naturally, gymgoers were forced to transform their homes into mini fitness centers where they could maintain the momentum of their fitness regime. People did this by using various innovative gadgets, equipment, and techniques.
However, being able to train at home as hard as people did in gyms meant they were more likely to burn themselves out. After all, being able to exercise at home can be really convenient and encourage people to train even harder.
Lucky for you, we’ve gathered valuable advice that can help you fight burnout, so you can maximize fitness at home.
What causes exercise burnout?
Before diving deep into techniques in overcoming exercise burnout, it’s important to understand what causes it. Health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels says overtraining and under-recovery are the primary reasons people feel burnt out from exercising.
Similar to burnout from other activities, especially work, exercise burnout impacts both the physical and mental wellbeing of a person. Physical symptoms of exercise burnout may include lethargy, poor performance, slower recovery, and overall sluggishness in your fitness progress. Meanwhile, mental symptoms may include feeling bored and tired despite having plenty of rest. Ultimately, burnout will make you despise working out.
Take a break and recover
The first step towards overcoming exercise burnout at home is slowing down. Understandably, you want to capitalize on your newfound motivation to go harder at your fitness regime, but the losses will outweigh all the gains if you get burnt out. But how exactly do you slow down?
You can take a break from exercising. It can be less than or more than a week, whatever feels right for you. As mentioned above, one factor that causes burnout is under-recovery. Taking breaks from your training allows your muscles to recover, especially if you’re under an intense regime. It’s important to note that during your breaks, you can replace your regular exercise with low-impact gentle movements. You can do stretches in the morning or go on walking meetings if that applies to your livelihood.
Apart from taking recovery breaks, you can decrease the volume and intensity of your exercise, especially if your burnout is caused by overtraining. After making changes to your training, make sure to also apply corresponding changes to your recovery breaks. If you want your recovery to be faster, you can do light, active recovery workouts.
Split your training wisely
Continuing on the importance of recovery, you can decrease the likelihood of getting burnt out by scheduling your workouts properly. When planning workout splits, you want to prioritize recovery and time under tension. It’s advisable to train a group of muscles only twice a week and rest them for a minimum of two days before putting them under tension once more.
A specific piece of advice for women regarding scheduling workouts would allow them to burn calories even during their period. According to experts and various studies, females’ metabolism is at full force about one to two weeks prior to their menstruation. Meaning, females plan their workouts around this time frame to maximize the calories they can burn.
Diversify your exercise
Another factor that may result in exercise burnout is the monotony of having the same set of exercise types every time you train. Doing the same exercises again and again for a long period may make your routine tedious and boring, making training more exhausting than it really is. The tip is to diversify your exercise. Try out different types of movement that you haven’t really done before. You can even take a break from your regular routine and stick to a totally different one for a while. When you return to your original set of exercises, you’re likely to feel refreshed and more motivated.
Another way to break the monotony is to try out a new hobby or return to an old one. If you have hobbies that require you to be physically active, you can reinvest into them or get into your first one. You can go to dancing classes or do yoga if you haven’t done those before. They may not be as intense as your regular training, but they allow you to try out something new so you can rediscover your enthusiasm towards your routine.
Eat what you want
It sounds counterintuitive, but being free to eat whatever you want positively impacts your mood towards your fitness goals. Having plenty of restrictions that don’t allow you to consume the food you find pleasing can make training feel more stressful and exhausting than it really is – increasing the likelihood of experiencing burnout.
People who enforce a strict diet rule upon themselves end up in a snowball effect of negative emotions and bad decisions the moment they cheat on their diet. You can argue that they should not have cheated on their diet in the first place, but isn’t it better to not have to cheat? Problems regarding work, family, finances, and other things can stress you out, and the last thing you want is to avoid eating your comfort food.
It makes sense to feel irresponsible when you don’t follow a diet, but you should be fine as long as you don’t eat too much or too little. It’s also important to note that having a diet isn’t bad. If you’re on a keto, paleo, or a specific diet to detox at home, there’s no problem as long as those diets aren’t keeping you from eating the food you like.
Katie Pierce is a teacher-slash-writer who loves telling stories to an audience, whether it’s bored adults in front of a computer screen or a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. Writing keeps her sane (most of the time) and allows her to enjoy some quiet time in the evening before she walks into a room of screaming kids (all of whom she loves dearly) the next morning.