Feeling physically burnt-out can leave you feeling lifeless. For example, do you sometimes feel like your legs are so heavy that simply walking feels like hard work? Tiredness can affect us all and when it does, it can cause greater problems than simply feeling extra sleepy.
Let’s face it, life is busy. Demanding schedules and the stress of our day to day routines can accumulate. This stress can easily then take its toll on our bodies physically. Add to this a grueling workout routine and we have a potential formula for physical stress and potential burn-out.
Feeling chronically burnt-out can seriously ruin your progress toward your health and fitness related goals. Chronic tiredness can affect our choices. Namely to eat healthily and the desire to put ourselves through our workout regime.
This presents certain potential outcomes:
- As our energy and motivation drop we lose sight of our goals and stop working toward them
- This changes our habits and routines specifically with food and exercise
- We begin to feel like we are losing our gained benefits from our healthy lifestyle
- This brings about a feeling of loss of control and failure
- We feel sad, depressed and lose motivation
- The healthy cycle becomes so much harder to kick-start again
Health & Fitness Remedies to Stop You Feeling Burnt Out
There are of course, small things which you can do to avoid the outcomes on this list. My business of personal training can be physically demanding. Mornings are early and we finish late. Physical burnout is something I have to manage to keep me fully energised for my own health and fitness needs.
These are my own personal health and fitness hacks to avoid burn-out. Follow these tips when that drained, heavy feeling is beginning to taking over.
Hack 1: Alter Your Bedtime
Going to bed earlier sounds obvious but our actions are governed by our habits and a tough habit to break is a late bedtime. It’s anti-social and not as interesting as staying up to watch that extra episode of Game of Thrones. For me however, the feeling of waking up fresh after a decent night’s sleep is worth the sacrifice of an extra hour of TV which I could catch up on over the weekend.
Hack 2: Workout First Thing in The Morning
If you follow my first tip of getting to bed earlier you will probably wake up feeling fresher, earlier. Working out first thing doesn’t have to be a long, arduous task. An effective workout can be as short as 15 – 20 minutes. An early morning stretch or yoga routine can set you up for the day, leaving you feeling fresh and supple.
Early morning cardio exercise has been proven to help boost your energy over the course of the day. It will not only help wake your body up but sharpens your mind and helps with fat loss too. Research shows our metabolism stays higher for longer when working out first thing in the morning which is a great contributor for reducing body-fat.
Hack 3: Adjust Workout Time / Intensity
Consistency is better than the stop start mentality in terms of progress and reaching your goals. One way I stay consistent with training when I’m tired and have loads going on is to condense my workouts into less time.
Lower Duration, Higher Intensity
If you are against the clock, reducing your training duration but increasing the intensity is a sure fire way of burning more calories and pushing the body harder to achieve more. The benefit here of course is that changing a 60 minute workout down to 30 or even 20 minutes means it is over much more quickly and this can be a great motivator when time is short and your energy and enthusiasm are lower than usual.
Higher Duration, Lower Intensity
Another strategy is to approach things from a completely different angle. If you have lots of time but your energy is suffering you can burn the same amount of calories over a longer period of time if the intensity is lower.
I tend to do this with my cardio when I’m feeling a little run down. A 20 minute HIIT treadmill cardio session becomes a 45 minute combination of incline walking, cross training and cycling at a steady state of intensity for each exercise. This consumes roughly as many calories as the 20 minute HIIT session but is much easier to achieve both physically and psychologically when I’m feeling low on energy.
The outcomes of these methods aren’t all equal of course. You could get right into the detail and debate over the recruitment of ‘fast twitch’ versus ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibers or about the benefits of training the heart in different training ‘zones’ and the type of ‘fuel’ used by the body in these zones.
For me this is more about creating sustainable routines that suit your lifestyle, your goals and offer you a way of exercising which you enjoy.
I like to work-out first thing and for me, ‘steady state’ training at that time of day breaks a great sweat, wakes me up and leaves me feeling better. For me that’s a win.
Hack 4: Keep Hydrated
One of the signs of dehydration is lethargy and tiredness. Not ideal when you are running on a lack of sleep and a hectic workload. Aim for a measured amount of fluid per day so you can stay consistent with your intake. Also, aim for plain water rather than fruit juices. The extra sugar content can play havoc with your blood sugar leaving you less energised later on.
Hack 5: Eat for Energy.
Focus more on food for function rather than food for pleasure when you are feeling burnt-out. When low on energy our brains want high fat, high sugar, chemically engineered foods that service our taste buds and emotions for that feel good factor – exactly what our brains need when we are feeling down and low.
Instead of tasty but high calorie, low quality nutrient foods which spike our blood sugars in the short term, aim for foods rich in slow release carbohydrates to sustain your energy levels over the course of the whole day. To see what foods I recommended check out my previous post ‘So, What Should I Eat?’.
Hack 6: Nap When You Can
Daytime napping for durations of 30 – 45 minutes can radically boost energy leaving us feeling better for the rest of the afternoon without affecting our night’s sleep.
According to the Sleep Foundation Website a NASA study on sleepy astronauts proved that 40 minute nap increased alertness by 100% and performance by 34%.
A short power-nap can also change your thinking too. Once we are better rested our mood, attitudes and choices change with our energy. This can have dramatic influences on our fitness, health and body composition. To read more about this read my post ‘Is Your lack of Sleep Making You Fat?‘.
Winter and the Christmas period can be long, tiring and draining, especially with the long nights and dark mornings drawing in. Check out the poster I have created below to keep these tips fresh in your mind. Feel free to print it off and stick it on the fridge or maybe add it to your Pinterest Board as a reminder.
I hope these tips help you keep your energy tip top and staying on track with your own personal health and fitness goals. I would love to hear your methods of staying energised and managing physical burn-out. Leave me a comment in the comment section below to have your say!