Is Exercise Even Safe When I Feel "Burned Out"?

Young woman with hands on eyes sitting depressed in car  



Who doesn’t feel overwhelmed or stretched thin sometimes?

And it's no wonder since many of us are balancing careers,

side businesses, education, community involvement, children,

extended family. . . the list goes on.


If you have ever hit a wall when it comes to your training,

business, or life, I completely get it.  I have been to that point

where I am just burned out.


Have you reached "burn out"? 


Symptoms of "Burn Out":

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Difficulty with Attention or concentration
  • Lack of progress
  • Recurring illness or injury


The last one is the biggest for me.  That voice in my head

tells me my lack of motivation is just "being lazy".  However,

when I find it more difficult to recover from a cold or a

workout I need to listen.


The psychological stress of burn out breaks down the body

and immune system. That makes us more susceptible to

getting sick and taking longer to recover.


The question then comes. . . if I feel so stressed and

exhausted, should I push myself to workout?


Well . . .  Yes AND No!


First though, are you burned out from exercise or just the

busy chaos of life?


Are you "burned out" from exercise?


If you are training hard, more than 5 days a week, and doing

the same regimen for more than 90 days your burn out may

be due to exercise.  How do you know?


Attempt to do your normal workout.  If at the end of your

warm up you still feel exhausted and unmotivated to finish

your body may be telling you a break is needed.


Another sign . . . rather than bouncing back from a tough

workout, your body is constantly aching or sore.


Are you "burned out" from life?


Sometimes the overwhelm of life can cause burn out.  When

you feel psychologically stressed all the time and can't seem

to keep anything mentally straight you may need to slow



Physical symptoms of lethargy, a foggy brain, depression,

and digestive issues can be signs as well.  If you are burning

the candle at both ends at work or home, this might be you.


Do one of these sound like you?  There is hope!


Game Plan For "Burn Out" Recovery


It’s essential to replenish your physical and emotional

energy if you feel you are approaching "burn out".


However, you MUST keep moving!  In fact, stopping

exercise all together can make your pain and melancholy



If your burn out is due to exercise, just make some changes

in the frequency or intensity of your routine.  Or, try

something new. If you walk try swimming, if you run try

dancing, if you weight train try a martial arts class. Just a

minor change to your workout every 4 weeks is effective.


If you are burned out and not exercising than you need to

start.  Aim for 30 minutes of movement a day to encourage

blood flow.  It can even be broken into short 10 minute

bursts.  It will maximize stress relief, refocus your thoughts,

and increase your energy.


In addition, remember that what you put in your body can

have a huge impact on your mood, energy, and recovery.

Even though you may be craving pasta and cookies,

minimizing sugar and refined carbohydrates will keep your

blood sugar level and improve your mental game.


Replacing these foods with protein and omega 3 fatty acids

will give your mood a boost.  The best sources that include

both are fish, flax seeds, and nuts.


An End to Burn Out


In summary, you can restore resilience through diet,

movement, rest, and relaxation.  It's all about the balance.


Exercising too vigorously can be just as damaging as being too

sedentary.  Find some movement that makes you happy and

leaves you feeling energized, but not completely drained.

Then, make it a priority along with some healthy meal planning

and a good nights sleep.


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