Last week, I felt it. You know those old Tom and Jerry cartoons where Jerry tricks Tom into slamming onto a wall and Tom has to peel himself off of it? That’s exactly how I felt. Deflated and flat with zero energy.
Hello Mr. Burn-Out. Not so nice to meet you.
Burn-out or simply “over-fatigue” is a syndrome that happens when you push yourself too much in whatever task you are doing or goal you are trying to accomplish. Being a trainer, I guide my clients how to avoid it through proper programming and recovery techniques.
Imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, it hit me too, out of nowhere, as I was on my way home last night.
You can’t really spot a burn-out coming. You’ll be too caught up in why you’re actually headed for said burn-out, and before you know it, you can barely get a coherent though it, let alone a decent set in the weight room.
Most of the time, we’re too stubborn to listen to our body that it makes it no choice for you but to heed by shutting down in almost an instant. Thankfully, there are ways to lessen the chances of this happening to you.
Here are a few tips that you should remember to keep burn-out at bay.
1. Have one recovery week for every three weeks of training. Some people are scared to add a recovery week in their routines but it’s actually a crucial part of my clients’ programming. Generally, three progressive weeks followed by one week of de-loading or active recovery is a good routine to follow. This allows a general progressive direction and you should still see results on a weekly basis.
2. Stretching, specifically static stretching, has been getting a bad rap for the past few years. Most of it has to do with studies that link static stretching with inhibited performances in power and strength activities. However, most of the stretches in these studies are not similar to what athletes do. A stretching routine can actually decrease the levels of fatigue on the stretch muscles according to numerous studies. You can either include a stretching routine after a workout, or you can do what I do and have a session just completely dedicated to stretching.
3. Sleep. Ah yes, the tip that I always give but obviously seldom follow myself. I paid the price and lost a whole day of activity. I consider myself lucky that it too only a day for me to recover. Sleep is one of the best ways to recover and lack of it is one of the quickest ways towards burn-out or worse, injury. The ideal number is 7-8 good quality sleep.
Of course, all these are easier said than done. Especially this summer where people are cramming to get their beach bodies on. But ask yourself this the next time you’re struggling to finish your 7th workout in 4 days: what good is a summer body if you’re too burnt out to enjoy the beach?