Your Inner Athlete: Five Tips to Fight Burnout

Your Inner Athlete: Five Tips to Fight Burnout

Dr. Haley Perlus is a regular presenter at the Telluride WOW Festival, Thursday, June 9 – Sunday, June 12, 2016. This year, she will be talking about the psychology behind good nutrition and how to conquer fear. In the run-up to the Big Event, Haley continues to share tips about ways to empower “Your Inner Athlete.” This week the subject is “5  Tips to Fight Burnout.” (Full schedule for Telluride WOW here.  Tickets here.)

Dr. Haley Perlus

Dr. Haley Perlus

Ever felt physically and mentally drained when it comes to your fitness routine? It’s like hitting a brick wall: you do not feeling like doing anything.

Every push-up is a chore.

Every lunge is a struggle.

Proper nutrition and other things health practices feel like an uphill battle.

If you’ve ever felt stuck and helpless in your fitness program like that, take comfort. You’re not alone.

Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts experience low motivation at some point. Often it’s no big deal – for a day or two you might feel less than motivated and then you’re back in the swing of it. At other times, the feeling can persist more than a few days and affect your confidence and overall energy and determination. In severe cases, this low motivation can turn into burnout, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to show up ready and willing to exercise.

Burnout is the psychological, emotional, and sometimes, physical withdrawal from an activity you once enjoyed. At first, you feel emotionally and physically exhausted and nothing can get you energized. Next, you develop a cynical attitude towards fitness, believing it’s pointless and won’t help you to achieve any of your goals. Eventually, you start to think negatively about yourself and your performance.

Although burnout is real, if you are experiencing it, or believe you may be on your way, you’re not doomed. Here are 5 proven steps you can start today to give yourself the best shot at regaining your energy and positive focus. Many of these steps could also be used to combat burnout in other areas of your life as well.

Step 1: Change your routine
Demotivation and burnout are often the result of following the same routine and focusing on the same goals. A common phrase in sport psychology is “A change is as good as rest.” Any type of change, such as switching programs, training with a friend, or using different equipment (e.g. resistant bands instead of weights) can create a new challenge that not only improves your physical health, but your overall mindset, energy, and motivation to get back to your workout program.

Step 2: Remember your fitness pleasures
Developing lean muscles, lowering your body fat percentage, or achieving gains in muscular strength are all good reasons for training. However, a tunnel vision focus on results can quickly contribute to burnout because it distracts you from the enjoyment of being physically active for its own sake.

When you’re following a training schedule, continue to include other physical activities you enjoy such as hiking, dancing, swimming, or tennis. By balancing activities driven by intrinsic motivation (those you do purely for the satisfaction you experience when doing them) with those that are driven by extrinsic motivation (motivation that is connected in some way to an external driver), you can optimize your fitness enthusiasm.

Step 3: Celebrate your daily efforts and achievements
Burnout can be partially brought on if you’re constantly focusing on what you haven’t achieved yet. It’s time to focus on the good stuff. For instance, take a look at pro sports. It’s not just the goals that are applauded. Every successful catch, interception, and rebound is celebrated by the players. The athletes always take a brief moment to acknowledge their efforts and achievements. You too must celebrate your daily successes. Take at least one minute every day to journal one fitness achievement. It may be that you completed the entire set of an exercise for the first time, that you trained even though you really didn’t feel like it, or that you moved up a skill level.

Step 4: Set daily process goals
Setting long-term result goals can be valuable, but if they don’t come as quickly as you think they should they can also distract you from the day-to-day and cause you a lot of stress. Process goals help you to stay focused on the little things that will keep you confident and motivated to cross the finish line. Your process goals could be holding a specific pose for five more seconds, making it through your training without pressing the pause button, or improving your technique in one particular exercise. With each fitness session, fulfilling your process objectives will create a greater sense of achievement that can only boost your inner drive.

Step 5: Ask for social support
One of the best ways out of burnout is to ask for support. Reach out and share your experiences, talk through specific problems that are having a negative impact on your mood. As the old adage goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” The message boards, blog comments, and Beachbody’s social pages are there for you to do just that. By vocalizing your pain and talking through solutions, you’ll feel less alone in your experience. It will also help you feel as though you are taking action towards improving your situation, and that can give you an extra little boost of confidence to push through and persevere.

About Dr. Haley Perlus:

The event wears its name like a glove: “WOW.”  The acronym is a perfect fit for Becca Tudor’s awesome Weekend of Wellness, relatively new festival (the 4th annual gathering takes place in early June 9 – 12, 2016) that celebrates overall fitness, including ways to grow a spine, man up –  yoga, kettle bell, Pilates, cycling, kids’ classes – and also get educated about health trends in general through lectures by doctors, nutritionists, and renowned experts in the field of sports psychology. Experts such as Dr. Haley Perlus, a stand-out on a long list of superstar women featured at Telluride WOW, already a no-miss event if you are on a path towards personal transformation.


I attended Haley’s lecture about the psychology behind good nutrition and overall health. The holistic contents turned out to be a back door to ways to live a healthy life in general. We were all left wanting more from this buff, blonde brainiac, so Telluride Inside… and Out invited Haley to blog on our site. And lucky for us all, Haley agreed. 

BIO: With a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology, M.S. in Sport Pedagogy, and numerous fitness and coaching certifications, Dr. Perlus is an expert at empowering athletes of all types and health enthusiasts achieve peak results. An adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, international speaker, former Alpine ski racer, appointed Industry Leader for, and author, including soon-to-be-released “The One Minute Diet and Guidebook to Gold.”

Dr. Perlus helps people reach their highest standard of performance. For further information and a free chapter of one of her books, visit  

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