Sometimes you’re just tired.
Tired of the gym.
Tired of the early mornings.
Tired of Running/Cycling/Lifting/Whatever it is that you do.
… and that’s ok. You’re allowed to be tired. You’re allowed to feel like you’re burnt out. Even people who’s financial stability depends on the exercise and training they endure get tired of doing it. Exercise and proactively managing your health can begin to feel like a job. Not that “Oh man this is my dream job!” feeling, either. More like that “Oh god, its Monday again?!” feeling.
What do you do when you’re feeling that way? As long as you don’t have any specific race or event you’re training for, you take a break. I know, that sounds like a really obvious answer, but hear me out.
Don’t stop all exercise, just stop doing the ones that make you dread doing them. For instance, I absolutely love cycling. My wife would agree that I have an addiction to bicycles and riding them, and obsess over it all spring and summer. By the time fall gets here, though, if I never get on another bicycle again it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Or at least that’s how it feels at the time. So I stop riding. In fact, I’ve learned that after I get to that point, I generally stop doing a regimented exercise routine and simply try to “play” more. Sure, I lose some fitness, but that’s all part of the game. I’m not a professional athlete, so there’s no need to try to carry every last bit of performance into next season, and quite honestly, sometimes you have to regress to progress. What’s important is to stay healthy… physically AND mentally.
After a 12 week race season, with 8 races crammed in there, I generally hit this burnout stage and know that its time to rebuild. I usually take most of October to spend time in the woods or do whatever I feel like doing. I don’t stop moving, I just stop focusing on it so much.
When I start again, I try to start right back at the beginning. I spend 2-3 weeks doing what I start my clients with; a little high intensity, mostly balance, flexibility, and motion correction work. This allows my body to slowly ramp up to another training cycle and another year of pursuing my goals.
So, if you’re feeling tired or worn out, take a little “workout vacation.” Go play some basketball, go for a hike, or walk the dogs a little bit more this month. We’re coming into spring here in the northern hemisphere, and you’re about to embark on another summer season, so its the perfect time to get that last bit of rest if you’ve been stuck in the gym because of weather or had a tough off season for whatever your pursuit is.