Is Exercise Even Safe When I Feel “Burned Out”?


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 down.

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 worse.

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.

Looking for more health and wellness information you can trust, and a community to encourage you along the way? Request to join our private Facebook group Peak Wellness Tribe. It’s a safe place to get your questions answered and work toward healthy together!