Mental Notes – Avoiding Drop Off and Burnout in 2015! – by Jason Eyanson, M.S.

BurnoutAs we dive full on into the New Year and its associated resolutions, it is best to be completely prepared for your exercise and fitness resolutions. I wrote last month about proper goal setting and what makes up a great goal for you. The next step is to plan for your New Year! It has been shown that around 50% or more of people who start an exercise program will drop out 3-6 months into it. A lot of drop out or relapse will occur soon after the year starts. Sometimes this is due to people not being fully committed to their goals. They make the goals with all intentions of following through, however, they haven’t made the proper commitment or the planning necessary to succeed. Usually these people don’t carve out the time daily or weekly to input an exercise program. That is one thing that you must do, carve out some time to exercise. Take a look at your day-to-day routines and schedule some time where you can fit in a workout 3-4 times per week. Make your health and future health a priority!Keep an eye on your calendar. Take note of how many times you are working out weekly, and the intensity to which you are working out. There are many times that people will jump full throttle into an exercise program and end up working out too much or too often. Yes, too much! This will unfortunately lead to a quick and abrupt burnout. Mark out some days for rest. Your body needs it and will thank you for it.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Exhaustion instead of energy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Prolonged muscle soreness – (if you are starting up a program, do expect some soreness which could last a few weeks)
  • Muscle weakness or fatigue

Also, be mindful of how you are feeling on a day to day basis at the beginning of a program. Take note of any patterns that you start to see. The best way to do this is to start an exercise journal. In this, you can write down what you have been doing, how you have been feeling, goals for each day of exercise, and track your overall fitness goals. This will also keep those goals in front of you from day to day.

Another way to avoid a drop off is to find a workout partner. Find a friend to workout with. It is usually much easier to keep on schedule when you are working out with someone else, especially when it’s a friend. This will keep you somewhat accountable for those times that you have set up to workout. It will be much more difficult for you to just “blow it off”. Even if you can’t find a friend to workout with, there are many options out there in gyms, such as group classes, that can be a good fit for you. Try out those classes that you have been interested in, see if you like it. If you find one that you like, make it work for you!

Whether you are working out with a partner, or solo, you’ll also want to vary your workouts from day-to-day. Try not to do the same thing over and over again each day. This will cause your body to plateau and your mind to get bored. After a while, the exercise program will become a chore, and you will be more likely to cut it out of your routine. So, mix up your exercises, get creative! Try doing one day on machines, and the next using no machines for example. You do need to be consistent, whether you switch it up or not. Make sure you are keeping to your schedule.

Remember, your health and fitness is something that you can control, so take the reins and take control!

You can make this your best year ever!