Lately I’ve been feeling burned out. Exhausted. Unmotivated (crazy, right?).
When I get like this, sometimes I take a step back, rest, and blame it all on the physical work that I do. My “burnout vacations” have me coming back feeling the same though. I come back still tired with just a smaller to-do list because I spend my break catching up on things I don’t get to do at home.
If I give my body a break, why is it not responding?
I’ll tell you why.
It wasn’t my body. It was my mind. I have not been trying to do anything to strengthen my mind. My medulla has not been oblongata’d.
I have been beating the crap out of myself with kettlebells for years now. I’ve been training at least 4 to 5 days a week for about 12 years now. I know I’m getting older, but I made a pledge to myself that I will be more in shape when I’m 30 than I was at 20 years old. Based off my strengths and decreasing weaknesses, this has held true. So I’m not going to blame it on Mufasa (our 700 pound monster truck tire) or my sleds for why I feel burned out. Also, why have I not named my sleds yet?
You probably can tell that I am an extreme introvert. It doesn’t mean that I am sadistically wild. It just means I gather my energy from different sources. So mentally I have come up with a list of things that I feel you should work on. Once I have started doing these, I have instantly felt the pressure come off of my joints and muscles. Now I feel fresh and ready like a whole new me (*enter Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner joke here*). I can actually start adding some workouts back into the mix.
Before I let you in on my secret spices, make sure you realize that rest is all based off of how YOU recover your muscles. Do you take the time out of your day to treat your muscles with care? Foam rolling. Stretching. Yoga. Icing your sore joints. Heating your sore muscles. Long walks.
I guarantee you that these brain fuels I give you will help in this too.
1.) Meditation – Find yourself the comfiest chair in your household. Set an alarm for 30 minutes and turn your phone on silent. Turn off your lights and unplug everything that makes noise. Lock your pets up for a few. Do what you need to do to find complete silence. To be honest, I looked at meditation as a completely different science before I started. I thought it was something you did with your legs crossed in weird directions as you hummed a hymn.
It’s not. It’s euphoric. Close your eyes and think of nothing. You’ll have random thoughts here and there, but meditation gives you a chance to clear your mind and relax. Hell, I thought about this whole blog post on one meditation session. Before you categorize meditation as some Thai Chi ritual . . . don’t. It’s an amazing source of mind strength. Once you accomplish two weeks of 30 minute meditation sessions by yourself, try making a soothing playlist. I promise you will crave meditating after awhile.
If you’d like to chat with me more on this in detail, ask me after class hours.
2.) Read – I’m not going to lie. I hate books. I’m the type of guy that loses interest in stories. This would probably explain why I have never watched all of the Harry Potter’s or played video games when I was younger. However, I do love to read.
Take 30 minutes out of your day to read something and expand your knowledge. I love reading blogs and magazine articles about fitness (go figure). Most of the stuff I read is complete bologna, but that helps too. It helps me to pick good information from the bad information. It gives you a different language to use when teaching people something. Andrew (Jungle Gym’s other amazing trainer) has a different language than I do. We may teach the same product, but sometimes it’s easier for you to understand how he explains it than I do.
Reading will take care of some mind blocks and hopefully save you $100 on a cable bill.
3.) Write -“Dear Diary,
Geoff pissed me off so bad this morning. He made we power swing a heavier bell and then he told me that my form looked good. What a d**k!”
I know all of you have thought about this in the session. First you get frustrated but then after the frustration is released, you see the good side of things. Writing can help you release this.
Writing will let you write drown the bad, then process it into good. You don’t have to start a blog or write a book. If you just buy a 99 cent composition notebook and wrote down your thoughts for 15 minutes a day, I guarantee your mind will strengthen. It will release a lot of the bad thoughts that are 99% useless and leave you more room to introduce the good.
4.) Detox Your Liver – 80% of all things consumed in your body pass through the liver. Two main things that I am really watching my intake on nowadays is artificial sweeteners and food dyes.
I know it’s tough, but during this detox, it’d be smart to stop consuming alcohol. Once alcohol hits the liver, it shuts down completely, leaving everything else that needs to be distributed in your blood stream at a standstill. We all love our beers and spirits, but I highly encourage you to try a liver detox of all alcohol, food dyes, and artificial sweeteners for two weeks and tell me if you feel less stressed about it. The results are quite epic.
5.) Stretch – Oy vay! So many people focus on the sexy part of fitness like abs and arms, but yet fail to realize that fitness is not sexy. If fitness was sexy, you would walk into a room and walk out with the body of your dreams. Fitness is boring. So is stretching, but honestly, it’s a necessity.
When was the last time you were frustrated that you couldn’t land a box jump or that you couldn’t get a dead lift set? I can guarantee that 90% of the problem lied in a mobility issue.
Granted this is coming from a guy who pretty much lives at a gym and stretches about 1 hour a day, but for a big buffoon like myself, I can out flex most women. To me, stretching is a physical rendition of meditation. It lets you understand your body more. If you can feel your body’s limits, then you have a better chance of pushing them to the limits instead of standing there when things get tough.
I’ve yelled it across the gym and I’ll continue to yell it again.
“Everyone wants to lift heavy ass weights, but nobody wants to do no heavy ass stretching.”
This should be close to the number one thing you do in the morning after you brush your teeth, brew your coffee, and check the Jungle Gym website for updates. Once again, for more info on stretching, Drew and I can easily set up a stretching program for you.
6.) Money – When was the last time you actually kept track of money? How much did you spend on food this month?
Stop spending so much. One of the top stressors in the world is definitely finances for some people. Go two weeks without spending any money on fast food or restaurant food. This doesn’t mean not to go see the newest flick or concert. It means, be cautious of where your hard earnings go. You work hard for your money. You have the right to do with it whatever you want. However, taking away all the dollar signs that jump the fences in your dreams at night may help you sleep better.
7.) 5-AT – Cortisol levels are HUGE in fitness. Having too much cortisol in your body can be a game changer. There’s a natural supplement called 5-AT. It’s a proven cortisol depressant. I recommend you grab some, whether you think your stress levels are high or not.
Here’s what the stress hormone cortisol causes in your body: Low blood pressure, nausea, extreme fatigue, weakness, lack of concentration, unexplained weight gain, depression, and painful muscles and joints.
If that’s how you’re feeling, then maybe it’s not last night’s workout. It may be the way you treat your brain.
Next time, before you blame your somber moods and sore bodies on training too much, reconsider your mental lifestyle. Is your mind fatigued?
This is where your body changes,
Geoff Morehart, Owner and Founder of Jungle Gym Newport News LLC.