Signs you have exercise burnout

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exercise burnout

Signs you have exercise burnout

Leading a healthy lifestyle is not easy. However, it is easy to fall behind on a diet or an exercise schedule.


This is because the initial days can be quite challenging. It is common for people to wake up after a rigorous workout feeling too tired to go about the day. This is a sign of exercise burnout. This feeling is entirely different from not wanting to workout. Here, one doesn’t feel that they have enough energy to do anything.

What is exercise burnout?

Exercise burnout occurs when excessive exercising leads one to feel lethargic and cranky all the time. This happens despite the fact that one might have had a good night’s sleep the day prior to the workout. Regardless of sleeping for ten hours or so, one might still feel low and tired. If anyone experiences this sensation after opting for a healthy lifestyle with exercise, it means they are officially burned out.

The stages of exercise burnout

When someone is experiencing exercise burnout, here are the steps that one goes through:

The Honeymoon Stage

During the start, people are motivated. Following a healthy lifestyle seems an achievable goal. One is motivated enough to rigorously exercise in order to achieve the goal of fitting into a dress or losing a given amount of weight.

This is the stage which causes burnout. Becoming too excited during the initial days leads to trying to do too much too soon. This, in turn, leads to feeling lethargic more quickly. This doesn’t just happen physically but also mentally. Rather than trying to do it all in the beginning, it is important to start slowly during this stage to avoid experiencing exercise burnout.


After the Honeymoon stage, very soon, one is bound to get a reality check where the initial euphoria and excitement fades away. This happens because the results of the efforts might not be visible to the person. This leads to loss of motivation whereby one starts skipping workout sessions and thinking that the effort is not worth it.

Mini-goals can be set – short-term goals are more liking to boost your confidence and keep you on track.


Once the motivation and excitement have entirely faded away, now is the time when people start feeling bored over the idea of working out. Apathy and boredom towards exercising will override the feeling of commitment to the goal. One might find himself/herself looking for excuses to miss the workout session.

Make a change – try a different piece of equipment or work in a different part of the gym. Always give your body something new.


If a person stalls for long enough, the motivation to exercise extinguishes completely. This occurs so much that exercising might slide off of the list of priorities, to begin with. It is common for people to give up entirely and decide that they would do it all again next year instead.

Try creating a schedule and stick to it for at least 5 weeks. Make a date with your trainer or best friend to exercise.

Signs and Remedies

It can be hard to identify whether one is experiencing burnout or are just not motivated enough to exercise. To distinguish the two, here are the signs to look for.

  • You keep on stalling

Procrastination is one of the most significant signs of exercise burnout. When experiencing it, one might even put on their workout clothes and still find reasons to stall. To prevent procrastination from setting in, don’t have a rigorous workout, to begin with. Instead, set small goals so that the idea of working out doesn’t seem so bad. The exercise can be as simple as walking around the block or doing approximately ten push-ups a day.

  • Your heart is not into it

When the heart is not into a given action, it automatically seems a hard thing to achieve. This happens in exercise burnout whereby you lose motivation to exercise. One finds themselves in a situation where nothing about the act of exercising seems positive.

To combat this sign, one can proceed by trying a new exercise routine. Once you get bored of it, switch things up again. So, after walking down the block for a week, one can switch it up by playing tennis with a friend instead.

  • Feeling exhausted

One might start feeling fatigue. Now, this can be both physical and mental. For instance, you might feel mentally exhausted at the idea of going to the gym. At the same time, it is possible to have a body ache as well due to burnout.

The best way to solve this problem is by resting. It is okay to take a day off to recharge. The body, as well as the mind, needs time to recover after a tiring exercising session.

  • Waking up feeling tired

When one is burned out, you can get up in the morning and still feel as if you haven’t slept for days. The feeling of tiredness might be overwhelming for some and may stop them from ever trying to exercise. To prevent such draining, it is important to dial the exercises down. Rather than opting for hardcore exercises, instead choose something that is relaxing. This can include yoga or Pilates. This helps in soothing both the mind and the body and ensured that the feeling of tiredness goes away.

  • Feeling cranky and moody

Exercise burnout takes a toll on a person’s mood as well. It is common for overworked people to lash out on others without knowing why they are behaving in such a manner. There are various remedies for this feeling. One can take a hot bath, get a massage, or just take a nap to combat the crankiness.

How to avoid exercise burnout?

If done correctly, one never has to experience exercise burnout, to begin with. Here are ways one can prevent it from happening:

  • Ease into the routine. Set small and achievable goals. Don’t overstrain right from the get-go.
  • Don’t give up. If one can stop the stalling stage from setting in, the chances are the burnout won’t do any damage.
  • Keep changing your workout routine to keep things fun.
  • Rest. Take a day off from exercising when you feel that things are getting too tiring.
  • Reward yourself when you meet your goals as a source of motivation.


Avoid exercise burnout. Don’t let it stop you from leading a healthy life. Exercise. Live well.

Comment (1)

  • Anonymous

    […] alone all the time can elevate your stress levels. You will end up being isolated. Therefore, exercise outside as much as possible to ensure that you remain active and […]

    January 7, 2020 at 6:41 pm

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