Do you ever feel the harder you train the less results you see? But how is this even possible? 

Surely more is better. More intensity, more duration, more resistance surely equals greater results? 
More calorie restriction, more measurement, more time training so less sleeping should be a good thing also, right? 

Unfortunately the body doesn’t work this way. This approach often results in more weight gain, more injuries, more sickness and more frustration. As the body is in a state of chronic inflammation also known as burnout. 

So how do you know when you are at risk from exercise burnout? 

There is a fine between high performance and burnout. Often the same indicators for high performance are the precursors for burnout. The key is getting to understand your body and where that line is. Often this takes time and the more I work with a client the greater the understanding I gain of where that line is. 

At first glance you may not think you are stressed but upon asking yourself the harder questions you may find you are harbouring a stress bomb ready to explode. By acknowledging that stress can come in many forms, and honestly assessing your stress levels on any given day, you can determine the perfect remedy for your body. Sometimes that might mean a hard and fast approach, other times a softly slowly approach. 

To help me determine what a client needs out of their workout on a particular day, we will start the session by asking them a series of questions surrounding each area. 

Try asking yourself the below questions before your next workout: 

1. Lifestyle: how demanding has your day been? What was your sleep like last night? What have you eaten in the last 24 hours? 
2. Physical: how do your muscles feel? Experiencing any stiffness, soreness or tightness? 
3. Emotional: what is your mood like? How are your energy levels? 
Take all these factors into account and then rate your current stress levels out of 10, with 10 being stress is very low in each of those areas. The days when you rank seven or above are perfect for pushing yourself to the limit. So try something really demanding. 

However, if you’re below a seven a high demand workout may leave you in a worse position. So try walking, swimming or yoga to get you moving instead. By taking your stress levels into account before your workout you will decrease your risk of injury and illness, boost your wellbeing to help you to be fitter, smarter, stronger and leaner. 

I would love to see this strategy used in work places. Imagine businesses where managers weren’t just focused on tasks but were focused on people. Where managers would ask employees how they are feeling physically, emotionally and lifestyle, and then manage workloads for employees accordingly. Imagine the long-term sustainability and performance of that employee, their engagement by knowing someone actually cares about them and how likely they are to stay with an organisation who values wellbeing. 

High Readiness, Low Demand = Under Arousal 
High Readiness, High Demand = High Performance 
Low Readiness, Low Demand = Recovery 
Low Readiness, High Demand = Burnout