How to Fight Burnout – by Katie Reed

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It is inevitable.  At some point in your life,  you are going to feel burned out and not motivated to do the things you know you could or SHOULD be doing. That thing could be your job – it could be working out, or trying to follow a strict diet. This last year has taken me through all of the above.

I started CrossFit in December of 2015 and was completely hooked. I loved everything about it – even the times where I was laying on the floor gasping for air after just finishing what I thought (in that moment) was the hardest workout ever. I was wrong every time. I would, eventually, come across a WOD that was in some way more grueling than the last. For the first six months, I hit every CrossFit workout I could. I started a strict nutrition plan after my first month. I loved every minute of it,  and I remember being SO motivated to do MORE that I didn’t even miss any of the foods that were not allowed on my plan. I’d like to call this the honeymoon phase. I saw progress on a weekly basis, not only in the way I performed but, also, in the way I looked and felt. It became a complete addiction; one that I realized, later,  wasn’t the best for me, and definitely not one that I could maintain.

Slowly, I started to plateau in performance and, also, in making body composition changes. The diet got really hard to maintain because I wasn’t seeing the progress I had in the first few months. Right then,  I wish that I would have had the wisdom to give myself grace and cycle off of training as much. I needed to transition to a more healthy mindset. Instead, at the time, the answer in my mind was to do more. So, I did.        

There were periods where I would not take a complete rest day for weeks. Rest and actual recovery was a concept that was completely foreign to me;  when I did try to rest, I felt like I was failing if I didn’t do some sort of workout that day. It got to the point that I would be in a bad mood until I got to workout. I needed those happy endorphins. Darn it!!! I was trying so hard to plan my social life around what I could or couldn’t eat. Chipotle quickly became one of the only places I could eat and STILL hit my macros for the day. Even with all that hard work my weekly measurements and progress pictures became depressing. It became an endless cycle of frustration.

Did I see results from more training and strict dieting? Yes, but only if you consider adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalances and constant aches and pains results. These were definitely not the results I was working towards.

The best advice that I could give someone who is new to working out & dieting (or have been doing it for a while and are now in a rut) would be to give yourself a set time frame to be super consistent with your nutrition and exercise plan.

Plan on 6-12 weeks of being on a strict regimen. Use all of your tools. Track your food on MyFitnessPal; measure out food portions; meal prep ahead of time so that you will be successful. Take pictures and measurements to measure your progress. During this process, figure out for yourself what works best for you long term.

What I mean by that is: figure out which foods you feel help you recover the best after a challenging workout and give you the most energy throughout the day. Think about how much sleep you need to be getting. Become in tune with your body, so that at the end of your 6-12 weeks, you can use those SAME routines that you have built, but get to loosen up on the macro tracking and can start moving into a lifestyle plan that can be maintained long term.

If you’re at a BBQ then enjoy all the good food and don’t worry about it setting you back. You don’t have to go overboard, but learn to live in moderation! Do this for a solid month and aim to maintain the progress you have made in the initial  6-12 weeks. After a month, if you feel like you need to, go strict again for another 6-12 weeks.

These steps can help you avoid burn out and keep you moving forward. I’ve come to realize that being fit and healthy is a journey.  Reaching goals and then making new goals is also a part of the journey.

Katie Reed is a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer at Palo Cedro CrossFit. Her nutrition guidance has enabled  numerous clients to reach impressive goals with their health, body composition.

Email Katie Reed at katie@palocedrocrossfit.com if you would like the training and guidance that it takes to reach your desired health range.