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Exercising is the key to maintaining good health, but it’s important to keep in mind that the body can only handle so much. Eventually, the stress both physically and mentally can cause the body to experience a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, sore muscles, and exhaustion. The difference between overtraining and burnout is that overtraining is being physically overloaded, where burnout is a psychological overload. The following are several ways to help avoid exercise burnout.

It’s important to remember to take it easy when first starting out with a workout regimen. People get overambitious when they first begin a new exercise routine and jump to maximum capacity right away. They do this in hopes of seeing immediate results which is never the case. This has the potential to cause soreness, injury, and a major decrease in all motivation. The drive and enthusiasm that was once had are lost due to going too hard too fast.

Take the opportunity to change things up, using the same routine day in and day out can get monotonous. It will help you to stay motivated if you are able to vary the type, intensity and duration of your workout. Switch up the workout location and time of day that you are exercising. Having a different training partner can even provide a breath of fresh air every once in a while.

Setting realistic goals is crucial. Whenever unrealistic goals are set, it can quickly trigger potential burnout. It’s nearly impossible to stay motivated when expectations are set high and continuously never met. Work hard to focus on the long term goals, and make note of the progress that is being made along the way.

Make time for proper recovery after working out. Just as the body needs time to recover, so does the mind. Set aside one or two days each week after working out for downtime. If there is no proper break given then the workout regimen can begin to feel more like a burden than anything else. Take a mental break and have a day or two of relaxing activities that are enjoyable. This is especially necessary after days of high intensity workouts that take a toll on the body.