The Fact + Fiction team LOVES training. So much. But when does too much of a good thing turn bad? Exercise burnout is real, and its affecting more and more people. It can come in many forms, from plateaus, injuries and boredom to a lack of motivation, and even physical and mental fatigue.
The main symptoms are: decreased performance or persistent injuries, a distinct disinterest in exercise, mood swings, changes or a persistent low mood, a longer than normal recovery time, insomnia, lack of concentration, and a loss of appetite. Over-training can also hamper your workout or weight loss goals, putting the body under too much stress and upping the cortisol (the fat storing hormone) levels to the point that your workout is doing you more harm than good.
So what can be done? Here are our top tips for getting your balance back.
- Listen to Your Body! Do you notice any of the short-term symptoms listed above? Really take the time to listen to tune in with yourself and take action if you think you might be suffering from fatigue. So often we're 'too busy' to listen to how we really feel, but tuning in to our body can make all the difference in catching over-training - or injury - early.
- Keep a Training Diary. You might not think you're over-stretching your body, but when you see it in black and white, you might realise that you're putting too much strain onto it day after day. Having a good workout plan that works for you is key, making small tweaks along the way to ensure that you continue to reach your goals without killing yourself. Changing your training plan every 6 weeks is also a good idea, as your body can get used to - and bored of - the same old workouts all the time.
- Switch it up. If you're feeling burnt out, switch out some HIIT training for yoga, or try some pilates. Take the pace and intensity down a notch - trying some lower energy workouts for a week or two should help rebalance you physically and mentally.
- Let's roll baby. Prehab and rehab are so important! Stretching and rolling should be part of your exercise plan to help with your recovery. The better your recovery, the less risk you have of getting burnt out. Also try a sports massage for some deep tissue rehab.
- Take a break. We used to hate rest days, but the GymTote team has grown to love them after we started to feel over tired from 5 pretty intense workouts a week. One day on, one day off works for some people, but you should definitely be having SOME rest and recovery as part of your weekly workout plan. Find out what works best for you and then do it! If a few days off are not enough, take a week or two off (yes we know, a whole week). We promise you will come back feeling like a new person.
- Ignore the insta-perfect workout crowd. Pushing yourself to fulfil an ideal that doesn't exist? Compare and dispair as the saying goes. So what if someone else is working out for 7 days a week? The same routine might not work for you. See tip number 2 - get a plan that works FOR YOU and is sustainable with your lifestyle and goals.
Listen to the experts. Our fave trainer Dalton Wong has this to say about over training...
"It’s often mistakenly believed that more training gets you more results – in fact, the opposite is true. Over training not only makes you mentally tired, it makes your muscles tired, so they break down rather than tone up. Working out too hard, too fast, is also when injury strikes - so remember that for all the hard work that you do you should reward yourself with some rest and recovery".
Have you been over training? Got any good tips you'd like to add to the above? Let us know!