We all know that person with the “no days off” mentality. Whether you know them personally or it’s someone you follow on social media, there is definitely a certain type out there that boasts this method as being the most effective and best way to go. Let me start by saying, to each their own. I get up at 3:30am to work out and I work out fasted and there are probably lots of very intelligent and smart people out there who would say that that isn’t the most effective way to workout. But you know what, it’s the most efficient way I can manage it. I am not knocking the no days off mindset, I am here to simply say that you will, at some point, burn out. It isn’t my opinion, its fact. Whether that burnout is physical, mental or a little bit of both, it will happen sooner or later. The one thing I preach above all else when it comes to diet and exercise is consistency. Consistency doesn’t mean grueling workouts every day or counting calories every day or constantly dieting (such an ugly word….) it just means that your habitual in the way that you take care of yourself. I personally prefer to get in 4-5 workouts a week and eat very strict Monday through Friday. I try not to treat weekends like a big celebration where I just let myself go completely and skip workouts and eat junk the entire time, does it happen once in a blue moon? Sure. But for the most part I am still hitting one of my 4/5 workouts on Saturday or Sunday and I am still making home cooked meals and watching what goes into them. Regardless, I am consistent with ALL of the above and that is why I am able to stay on track.
I did recently experience some minor burnout myself actually. I had been going at it pretty hard and regularly since about November 2018, not missing many workouts, getting up really early no matter what and keeping my eating in check. I actually started doing some very unconventional training to get ready for a Spartan Race that I was supposed to run back in February. For those of you who don’t know, the Spartan Super (which is what I ran) consists of 8 miles of terrain running with 29 obstacles and since I unknowingly signed up for the Elite heat, anytime you miss an obstacle you have to do 30 burpees or you are disqualified. For anyone wondering I only missed one obstacle and it was a spear throw. Anyway, I had to push the race to May so I could be at a friend’s wedding, which was good in a sense that I had more time to train but bad in a sense that I was already mentally prepared and now had to keep this rigorous routine of mine alive for another 3+ months in order to stay ready for the race. Overall the training served me well and the race went good. I ended up with a time of 1:55. Not bad for my first race AND getting a half a mile off track lol.
After the race I took a few days off and went back to training. A few weeks went by and training was, meh. Not invigorating, but not terrible either. Kind of just felt like I was going through the motions. Then just a few weeks ago out of nowhere, getting up just got really hard. And once I was up, getting warmed up and really getting into my workouts seemed unusually hard as well. I was doing what I had been doing for well over 6 months and you’d think I would have it down by now, but for some reason I was struggling. So, I continue to just suck it up and push through cause sometimes we just need to do that, but I was starting to think, I feel burnt out. I just feel like I need a change. It just so happens I had a 4-day work trip ahead of me followed by 3 days at the coast, so I took that time as an opportunity to sort of get out of my routine for the first time in a while. I came back from that “time off” feeling a little out of shape but rested. I was actually very excited to get back into my garage and throw around some damn weight. I don’t know if there have been any actual studies on this, but I honestly do believe that every once in a while, you should do things to keep your routine fun and interesting. Maybe that’s trying some new workouts, changing up the venue you train at, modifying what days you do what muscle groups on, or just taking a little time off to “reset” so to speak. I think its good. I myself find that when I do this once every 3-4 months, it does me a lot of good. Because I am extremely hardheaded and not always so self-aware, it normally happens unintentionally and I typically go into it with some resistance because it doesn’t feel normal, but when I come out of it, I am always happy I did it.
So for those of you who may have been on the “grind” now for some time and are starting to feel that burn out creeping in, take a moment to analyze where that feeling stems from and what you can do to combat it. I will say that you can do a lot of good by just looking at the food you are eating and how much sleep you are getting (and the quality of that sleep). If one or both of those things are off, chances are there is a fairly easy solution to your problem EAT better and SLEEP better/more. If your burn out stems from something nonphysical like you’ve just been going to the same Golds Gym for the last 5 years and it’s not even fun anymore, well switch it up! Go try out a different venue. Buy some used weights and lift at home. Try mixing in other physical activities into your week like trail running or rock climbing or swimming, heck even joining a city softball or volleyball league would be a great way to incorporate something different into your routine.
What are some ways you make sure you’re getting plenty of rest and recovery? Do you take “active rest” days? And if so, what do those consist of? Comment below, post your thoughts on the social media pages or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Would love to hear from ya! Thanks for reading.