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Article: Train Smarter Not Harder: How to Avoid Burnout

Train Smarter Not Harder: How to Avoid Burnout - PBCo.

Train Smarter Not Harder: How to Avoid Burnout

As a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, I often see my members pushing themselves week after week, and not always seeing the results they want. The problem is often BURNOUT, both on a physical and emotional level. The answer resides in knowing when to rest and how to get your mojo back when you have hit a wall. Learn how to train smarter, rather than just how to train harder.
The best advise I can give is this - listen to and nurture your body rather than punishing or pushing it further.
It’s about finding the equilibrium that allows maximum results without having to compromise our body through burnout. This effectively means training smarter.

There are a number of tools you can apply to your life to ensure you train smarter and start to see real results. Let’s look at these in details


Your body will tell you if you are pushing beyond equilibrium. In order to train smarter, you need to be in tune with yourself by listening to how you feel. This applies to both physical and emotional feeling.
  • Find your happy place. Start by finding an activity that you actually enjoy rather than one you must push through and actually despise. In saying this, it’s always important to challenge our comfort zone, but if getting uncomfortable equates to misery, the first thing that will happen is you will give up.
  • Find a new routine. If you have been doing the same thing for weeks, it might be time to change things up. Try a new style of training (Boxing vs Cycle), a new setting (indoor vs outdoor) or even a new gym or trainer. Don’t be afraid to change if you are losing the spark.
  • Know your weaknesses Put more physical effort into the things you are good at but also consistently work on weaker areas.
  • Create or join a support team. We all need encouragement and motivation. Whether it’s a training buddy, our partner or a coach – make sure you have someone in your life who believes in and encourages you. Often having accountability or being around like-minded people can give you the motivation to keep going.


Training smarter to avoid burnout means you need to apply some positive training strategies. Following these tips:
  • Use 4-6 week programs. Change your program every 4-6 weeks. It will keep your body guessing, increase your metabolism and avoid repetitive joint injury.
  • Keep it under 1 hour. Training longer than 60min has adverse effects on your cortisol levels, which is a precursor for increased levels of body fat. Keep it short, sharp and effective.
  • Eat adequate calories. Our bodies need a wide range of vital nutrients from lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbs to produce energy, build muscle tone and create new skin cells. If you’re not eating enough of the right types of food, you won’t get optimal results. Timing your carb intake around your workouts will boost your performance and speed up recovery. Have a look at this previous blog post on Low Carb Diets if you need some meal ideas.
  • Mix it up! The cumulative effect of long cardio sessions, high impact routines and training with very heavy weights wears out your joints, ligaments and tendons making you prone to injury (especially as we get older into our 40’s and beyond). If you’re suffering from constant niggles, aches and pains – listen to your body and make some changes!


Often we neglect rest and recovery as an important part of our training program. Training smarter to avoid burnout may be as simple as applying some of these strategies into your day, week or month.
  • Get quality sleep. Our bodies renew themselves overnight. Muscles are repaired and strength is restored. Two hours of sleep before midnight is worth four after; so get to sleep earlier especially after a hard training day. We also need to go through the full cycle of sleep several times a night to wake feeling refreshed. If you’re constantly waking up throughout the night there are many things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep.
  • Post workout rest. What you do post-workout is vital. Daily stretching, supplements like magnesium, gentle massage and regular body exfoliation will help to remove lactic acid and other toxins, promote blood circulation for efficient delivery of nutrients and ease muscle soreness to prepare for your next session.
When the balance is right – you can achieve an incredible body without plateauing, without hitting the wall and without risking burnout. It’s time to listen to and nurture your body – not punish and push it. In return, it will reward you for years to come by looking and feeling incredible!
~ Dani Bosancic

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