Telltale Signs of Exercise Burnout (And How To Overcome It)

Telltale Signs of Exercise Burnout (And How To Overcome It)

Authored by Audrey on February 22, 2021

Exercise burnout is very real. If you’re experiencing it, don’t worry—we can help you regain your motivation. Learn how to avoid exercise burnout and how to spot the symptoms before it spirals—with your friends at Jack City Fitness!

So, you weren’t feeling your workout today. Or yesterday. Actually, come to think of it, you’ve skipped the whole last week. It sounds to us like you might be suffering from exercise exhaustion. Don’t fret—this isn’t a permanent condition. With that said, continuing to push yourself during burnout can lead to some undesirable results.

If you think you might be showing some workout burnout symptoms and would like to learn more about overcoming workout burnout, you’re in the right place. Workout burnout is something we’ve all experienced, and our team is here to help you spot the symptoms, overcome it, and avoid it in the future!

What Is Exercise Burnout?

Even the most dedicated of athletes can experience a loss of motivation. This sensation, often referred to as workout burnout, can happen for a number of reasons. In these cases, an athlete will begin to dislike, dread, or avoid a workout they previously enjoyed or found exhilarating. Burnout happens in plenty of other capacities outside of the athletic world as well—professional and personal demands often cause feelings of burnout.

In our increasingly busy world, it’s natural to experience burnout sometimes. However, by learning the symptoms and taking care to avoid reaching the burnout point, it is possible to avoid workout exhaustion.

What Are Some Workout Burnout Symptoms?

The quicker an athlete can spot symptoms of workout burnout, the sooner they’ll be able to take the time they need to recover. Some of the most classic signs of a workout burnout are:

  • Skipping the Gym
    This is, in many ways, the most “obvious” of the workout burnout symptoms. Athletes experiencing workout exhaustion often don’t have the motivation to work out at all. In these cases, it’s pretty common to see athletes sleep through their morning jog, pick the couch instead of the gym, or fall behind on their evening yoga routine. The big problem here isn’t the actual lack of workout—we firmly believe that burned out athletes need to rest. We’re more concerned about what often happens mentally when this occurs. When a dedicated athlete can’t motivate themselves to work out, their body might be resting, but their brain is often performing mental gymnastics. Feeling guilty, ashamed, or frustrated over a burnout isn’t going to fix it. In fact, overthinking is bound to make a burned-out athlete feel much worse, making them less inclined to get off the couch and back into their fitness routine.
  • Feeling Exhausted
    We all feel tired sometimes, but if you’re feeling exhausted all the time, it might be a symptom of burnout. This goes for all kinds of burnout, by the way. Whether you’ve been spending too much time working out, studying, or focusing on a specific project, exhaustion will likely be one of the symptoms of burnout.
  • Making Excuses
    You told your gym buddy that you can’t train with them today because you left your headphones at home, but the truth is, you just can’t face another workout. As we mentioned before, many people feel a sense of shame when they’re burned out. This often leads to making excuses as a way to justify taking a much-needed break. If you find yourself looking for reasons not to work out, it might be a sign of burnout.
  • Irritability
    Like physical exhaustion, this is a common symptom of any kind of burnout, not just a fitness-related one. When a person feels exhausted, overloaded, or burned out, increased sensitivity and irritability are completely normal. So, if you’ve been experiencing all of the above symptoms, don’t be surprised if you seethe for hours after someone accidentally cuts in front of you at the supermarket. You know what we’re going to say…you’re burned out!
  • Post-Workout Discomfort
    Of all of the workout burnout symptoms, this is by far the more critical to recognize. Experiencing unusual pain or uncomfortable feelings following your workout is a major red flag. If your gym sesh leaves you so tired you can’t move, or you’re experiencing more soreness than usual, it is time for a break. Otherwise, you could hurt yourself.

Woman Tired of Working Out

How To Avoid Workout Exhaustion

Though workout burnout is definitely fixable, it’s still something we’d like to help you avoid. Here are a few of our biggest tips:

  • Set Realistic Expectations
    Grandiose, unrealistic expectations are a no-no for many reasons. Firstly, no matter how talented or skilled someone may be, it still sets them up for disappointment. Secondly, unrealistic expectations for results can lead to overtraining or not allowing time for proper recovery. By going into your workout with a realistic idea of what you can perform and achieve, you’ll find it easier to train at a normal pace.
  • Create Reasonable Workouts
    Overtraining is a surefire way to lead to burnout. Create a workout regimen that works for YOUR fitness level and skill set, not some random Olympian you see on YouTube. If you are unsure of how to do this, we recommend working with a coach—they’ll be able to help you find a good balance between challenging yourself and staying within your means.
  • Leave Time for Recovery
    So, you love working out more than anything else. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take time to rest and recover after your workouts. Nobody can be at the gym 24 hours a day, nor should they be. Your muscles need time to recover after they’ve been in use—they worked hard!
  • Listen to Yourself!
    Above all, it is crucial for athletes to listen to themselves. If you are experiencing symptoms of workout burnout, especially pain or exhaustion, don’t ignore them. Give your body what it needs: rest.

Exercise Burnout Recovery: What’s Next?

Once you’ve spotted your workout burnout, it’s time to heal so you can regain your motivation and get back out there! Some of the best ways to do this?

  • Take Some Time
    Before you start thinking about your post-burnout routine, we recommend you give yourself a little break. Make a date with Netflix, schedule a Zoom catchup with a faraway friend, or finally crack into that book you got for Christmas. Cook a healthy meal full of your favorite ingredients. Get some much-needed rest. In short, do non-fitness-related things for a few days. It will give your body—and mind—the break it needs.
  • Make a Change
    So, let’s say you were lifting every day before your burnout. Perhaps now is the time to try something new. You can always come back to lifting, but in the meantime, taking a new class at your gym might broaden your horizons.
  • Find a Friend
    Working out with a pal is a complete game-changer! Not only will you have a friend to support you and listen to you when you are feeling burned out, but you will also be able to help each other succeed and reach your goals.
  • Ask For Help
    Working with a coach is a wonderful way to get the support and help you need to truly meet your goals without overtraining or getting to the point of burnout. A good coach will be able to help you work within your limits to create and keep to a routine that helps you grow as an athlete.

At Jack City, We Understand Workout Exhaustion

Our team understands burnout—many of us have been there! We want to help pull you out of it and help you become the best athlete you can be. If you’re ready to banish workout burnout and develop a custom fitness routine that allows you to find your ultimate potential, get in touch with the Jack City Fitness team today by calling (208) 999-1111. We’ll invite you over to our Boise fitness center for a full facility tour and FREE fitness consultation. If you decide to become a partner, you’ll have instant 24/7 access to our entire facility, as well as the ability to join our classes, work with our coaches, and utilize all of our other services.

Beat burnout and reach your goals with your friends at Jack City Fitness—we can’t wait to meet you.



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