Just when you feel like you've finally gotten into a solid workout groove, something horrible happens: You lose every ounce of motivation, succumb to exhaustion, and want to throw your just-broken-in tennis shoes out the window. We've all been there.
Workout burnout is real, but it is possible to become friends with fitness without ending up hating it down the road. Juliet Kaska, celebrity trainer to clients like Kerry Washington and Vionic Innovation Lab spokesperson, is proof.
Here are her tips to stay happy, healthy, and motivated for the long-term.
1. Switch Up Your Workouts
Hitting up a high-intensity class every day before work? The weight-loss results might be there, but they're not sustainable if you're constantly pushing your body beyond its limits without giving yourself a break.
"I've always gone back to doing things that are more restorative in nature — like walking, meditation, and yoga — and not just doing the push-push-push. Workouts like HIIT are so addictive — they get our adrenaline so high. But they can do damage to your joints and muscles, as well as your adrenal glands," Kaska says.
Instead, she recommends cross-training, meaning training in many different activities to achieve full-body results and keep you out of a rut.
"You can work out seven days a week. What you shouldn't do is high-intensity workouts or weight-training seven days a week. Three of those seven days should be more gentle workouts, like Tai Chi, Pilates, or yoga. Then three days a week doing something high-intensity. Then the seventh day, have a fun workout day," Kaska says.
2. Remember Workouts Don't Need to Be at the Gym
Instead of spending every day of the week at the gym or in a class, take at least one day to spice things up. Your mind will thank you for the change in routine.
"Go to the beach, play volleyball, go on a hike; do something outside. Sometimes I find people who are workout people — myself included — think that if they don't go to the gym or a workout class, they're not getting a workout in. A hike counts," she says.
3. Catch Some Zzzs
"I'd rather my clients cancel on me and get some sleep — that's the No. 1 thing. No. 2 is nutrition. And No. 3 is doing more therapeutic movements," Kaska says. "That's going to get you both the calming effects, and also the workout effects. In hard workouts, you're putting your nervous system into more shock. It's more important to make sure my clients get in the calming workouts over the high-intensity workouts."
4. Take Time for Yourself
Sometimes you just have to get away from it all — no sweat included.
"What I've been doing is walking with my puppy every morning for 20-30 minutes with my headphones on. I'm usually listening to something motivational," Kaska says. "It's the most simple thing you can do, and that's been my foundation most recently."
5. Find Your Balance
If you want to meet up with your girls for a night on the town (or just sitting around sipping wine in your pajamas), go for it.
"I believe taking the time to go have a drink with your girlfriends is of the upmost importance — I'm not that trainer who will say the opposite. I believe that's a level of enjoyment and happiness," Kaska says. "But there's a difference between meeting your girlfriends for a drink or two and having an entire bottle of wine by yourself at home. There's also a big difference between having a occasional drink and having one every single night at 5:30 after work — that's abusive to your body."
If you know you have something fun coming up, plan for it.
"All week I was very clean with my diet and didn't have any alcohol because my friend was in town — I knew we were definitely going to have wine when I saw her. And smiles and laughter and all the great things that come along with it," she says.