By Kristy Link
How do you fight burnout?
Well, unfortunately the answer is that you can’t. But you CAN take steps to prevent it. Not the answer you were looking for? Let’s break it down a little…..
If you push your body past its limits, you might have experienced this “burnout” feeling, which is different for everyone. So what is your limit? A good example I have of this is from Diane Sanfilippo, NY Times Best Selling Author of Practical Paleo and general ass kicker of life. She described every person’s body as a glass and each glass has a different shape and capacity. The capacity of my glass might not be as much as the glass next to me. But maybe my capacity is a little more than the glass next to that. Long story short, our bodies are extremely smart and can only handle so much. When we push our body past its limits and are not taking care of ourselves properly, our body will make us stop and slow down. How? Maybe you get sick, maybe you injure yourself, maybe you have an autoimmune flare up. But in the end of the day when your body wants to stop and you don’t, it will make you stop.
We live in a society where it is just go, go, go! Everyone needs to work harder than the next person and make it to the top faster. We are constantly surrounded by pressure to be better, go faster, go harder, make more money and just do MORE. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to better yourself, but sometimes we just need to take a second to turn down and listen to our bodies. We only get one body in this life, and we need to take care of it.
And it’s tough due to the nature of the workouts we do, we want to push ourselves to the limits. We want to be stronger and faster. But we also have to recognize that if we come into the gym one day and we are not feeling 100%, it’s OK to go slower, it’s OK to go lighter and it’s OK to just sit on a foam roller for the entire class and just roll out and stretch. No one is going to judge you or think you’re being lazy, well at least not at at our gyms!
Rest is very important, as is mobilizing and stretching, and it is very often overlooked because we are constantly in go mode. This might be even more apparent for those with certain issues such as autoimmune. Personally after suffering through some autoimmune issues, I was forced to find a balance in my workouts and level of intensity. I had to be OK with not going that hard on some days and not taking it to the absolute limit. For me, and others with autoimmune issues, pushing our bodies too hard can actually trigger autoimmune responses. (In short, autoimmune disorders are when your body actually attacks itself, so stupid right?) Our glass is genetically a little lower in capacity than others, but it’s ok, we just have to cater to that.
Also, AGE! Things change as we get older and we have to cater to that. It’s a fact that you can’t do the things you used to be able to do when you were 20. But you also might be able to do things now that you couldn’t do when you were 20! And that’s pretty cool! Aches and pains become part of the game, and it’s normal, and way better than the alternative of not being in good shape. As we get older, we just need to give our bodies some more TLC.
I’ve actually recently spoke to a few members about fatigue and burnout lately. I think the general consensus is that rest is looked down upon, but it should not be. We all need to listen to our bodies more and be in tune with any signs it might be giving us. It’s OK to take a step back, because the next day you’ll be right back at it. Ups and downs are part of training the way we do. Don’t get discouraged with it, just know that it is part of the game. I tell my classes a lot, especially on strength days, just give me 100% of whatever you came in with. Your life outside the gym affects your performance in the gym, and that’s OK. It’s all about finding a balance between the 100 million things we all do! Maybe if we can just cut it down to 90 million? 🙂
Rest up guys! Take some “you” time. Enjoy the ride and give your body what it needs so it will take you through many many years of life!