It's happened to you.
You were plugging away toward your goals without blinking an eye for weeks or even months.
Your routine had become second nature, and you were an efficient training machine. You had your diet and training down to a science, and you felt great. People were really starting to notice your progress. You were off to a fabulous start—your clothes fit looser than before and you were starting to see your muscles pop.
The best part: It wasn't even July yet!
Then life got in the way and you had to skip the gym for a few days in a row. Maybe a dinner out with clients meant cream-based sauces that didn't match your macros. Now you've suddenly found yourself in front of the television instead of hitting the gym. Your diet's gone from "clean" to "kinda" clean to: "Dang, I don't think I've eaten this kind of food since 2005!"
And as horrified as you are at how far you've fallen off your path, there you are—shrugging your shoulders, fingers dusted in cheese doodle-orange powder, catching yourself saying, "I'll start over tomorrow."
But tomorrow you do the same dang thing.
You, my darling, have a hardcore case of the mehs. Sound familiar? Don't worry. I'm right there with you. What, do you really think it doesn't happen to everyone?
Ssshhh, I have a secret: The vast majority of people fall off the wagon as some point. Even pro-card, magazine-gracing athletes are prone to moments of weakness.
It's funny to talk to my friends who are just getting into fitness or trying to lose weight. They'll text or email and say, "Abby, I haven't gone to the gym in over a week! Yell at me to motivate me, kick my butt into gear!"
My response: "I totally beat you. I've gone three times in the last month. I can't yell at you for something I'm not doing either!"
Yes, it's true. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have been slacking and eating many Chipotle burrito bowls. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.
Burnout is normal. I go through it annually. The reasons can vary, but you can get through it. Feeling personally stagnant, stationary or completely overwhelmed at work, or dwelling on a relationship (or lack thereof)? Break the cycle now and change your outlook. Your happiness can make a big impact on your training and self-discipline.
6 Tips To Stop Burnout
Here are 6 tips to kick your case of the mehs right to the curb!
Reassess Your Goals
Half the reason your desire to train has waned is because you've taken your eyes off the prize. Figure out what you set out to do in the first place and start your day with that mindset again—and mean it! Make little reminders for yourself. Set an alarm on your phone or stick a note on your mirror. Half the battle is getting there, so give yourself that extra push. You know you'll feel so much better when you're done!
Reconnect with Yourself
At the core, you usually have a personal reason for falling off the wagon. Your priorities shifted somewhere along the line. If you're feeling down about your life outside your fitness goals, it will show up in the gym. Or worse, it will prevent you from going there at all. Separate your fit life from your personal life. If work is stressing you out, you belong in the gym now more than ever. It's too easy to go home, pour a glass of wine, and sink into the couch.
Leave your woes at the gym door. The only weight you should be lifting is racked in front of some mirrors, not being lugged as emotional baggage on your shoulders.
Company Check: See Who You Hang With
A recent study by University of California-Davis found that college students who spent the majority of their time with 30 randomly selected undergrads adopted the diet and exercise patterns of the least fit person within their peer group.1 Yikes! And it's not just strangers who influence your choices. As a 2007 study found, you might not always want to lean on your friends. The study found that when a participant's friend became obese, the participant had a 57 percent greater chance of becoming obese themselves.2 Translation: The company you keep dictates your success and your drive to get fit. Inactive people attract inactive people.
Fit-minded people are best to kick-start your fitness and eating habits. Making solid training schedules and checking in can make all the difference in making momentum in your progress!
Set A Solid Goal
It may help you to set a time-sensitive goal. Training for the sake of training doesn't gel for everyone. I personally fall into this category—I must train for something specific.
Sometimes a concrete future goal is just the kick in the pants you need. Sign up for a mud run. Try a 10k or triathlon. Give a physique competition a go. If there's a registration fee, you'll commit. Start a training blog to keep yourself accountable and rev up motivation for future goals.
Change Your Routine
The mehs can instantly be cured by switching up your training and adding in something new. Learn a new exercise, hire a new trainer, check out a new gym class, or research a training technique you've never done. Check out new training videos. The simple addition of new information is incredibly powerful for someone who has been grinding through a somewhat similar training routine for months on end. You may even find yourself looking forward to the next time you can add a new exercise or technique to your training.
Shake up your routine and your flame may be rekindled before you know it.
Celebrate The Small Stuff
When you do something well, acknowledge it. Bask in it. You earned it! There's absolutely nothing wrong with feeling proud of yourself. Did you train a few days in a row for the first time in weeks? Have you been climbing the stairs instead of catching a ride on the elevator? Was your diet perfect for a whole day? That's great. Use that pride to rebuild momentum toward your goals.
If you do screw up, let it go and start over. Life gets in the way, but let it be a bump instead of an unexpected road trip.
Feeling stuck? You aren't alone. A second wind is coming for you and me. 2013 isn't over yet; rekindle the fire within you to bring in 2014 with a triumphant bang!