More than overwork: How burnout kills your fitness goals (and how to prevent it)

"Meal prep? You're funny, I barely have time to eat!"

“I can't work out, I’m too exhausted to even move when I get home!”

"How am I supposed to get all that done?”

Halfway through my education as a psychological counselor, I’ve learned one thing:

Lack of motivation, strategy, or laziness aren't the main reasons why people fail to reach their fitness goals.

Think about it:

  • You've got the discipline to work 40 hours (or more) every week.

  • You have access to thousands of hours of information.

  • The top 3 New Year's resolutions are fitness-related.

In reality, it comes down to overwhelm, exhaustion, and stress - leading to resignation.

This condition makes it impossible to integrate all the advice you hear online.

Interestingly, these are symptoms of something, you wouldn't usually connect to fitness:


Burnout has been getting a lot of attention over the recent years - and for good reason:

75% of employees experienced at least one of the three key symptoms of burnout "sometimes" or "often."

That's the conclusion of a 2020 report from Gallup.

But how can you prevent that from happening in the first place?

How can you get out of this state of chronic exhaustion and finally take care of your health and fitness goals?

This is the topic of this newsletter.

We will cover what causes burnout, how to address it, and how to make changes that will improve your fitness as well.

Burnout - more than overwork

Disclaimer: This article is no replacement for psychotherapy or counseling. Burnout is a complex topic. It's impossible to go into all the details within one article. The article is supposed to give you a brief overview of the causes. If you're struggling with symptoms of burnout, please seek professional help.

In the early 70s, Herbert Freudenberger discovered "Burnout" at a New York clinic for drug addicts.

Despite the high workload, workers remained upbeat at first, motivated by their mission.

But over time, he observed their health and morale plummet:

The staff lost their optimism, got exhausted, and even cynical.

But what caused this change?

In contrast to popular belief, burnout isn't just a matter of overwork.

Christina Maslach, a psychologist, pinpointed a total of six triggers:

Lack of Control: 

Feeling trapped or micromanaged at work, without the freedom to use your creativity, can lead to burnout.

Conflicting values: 

When your values clash with those of your company, burnout can creep in from disillusionment.

Insufficient reward: 

Not getting enough pay, recognition, or appreciation makes efforts seem futile, fueling burnout.

Work overload: 

Too much work, beyond what you can handle, leads to physical and emotional drain, setting the stage for burnout.

Perceived unfairness: 

Unfair treatment, bias, or favoritism at work can make you lose trust and feel more resentful, leading you closer to burnout.

Breakdown of Community: 

Working in a hostile place or feeling isolated makes stress worse, and can cause burnout.

What can you do about it?

Your key takeaway is that burnout is a complex phenomenon.

Taking a two-week vacation isn't enough.

You need to address each trigger systematically, or you’ll be sucked right back into it.

Here are 4 important steps:

1) Identify your primary burnout trigger:

Look at the 6 triggers:

  • Lack of control

  • Conflicting values

  • Insufficient reward

  • Work overload

  • Perceived unfairness

  • Breakdown of community

Which are the ones weighing on you the most?

Rank yourself on a scale from 1-10 for each of these triggers.

2) Disarm the triggers

Next, it's time to take countermeasures.

Here are some practical things you can do:

Regain Control

Focus on what's in your power.

What's the smallest task that you have control over?

This could be as simple as organizing your workspace.

Align Your Values

Reflect on your personal and professional values.

Does your work align with your intrinsic strengths?

If not, can you shift to a department in your company that suits them better?

Ask for recognition

Advocate for your worth.

Are you sacrificing disproportionally? If so, set boundaries.

Highlight your contributions and seek fair compensation or acknowledgment.

Manage your workload

Establish clear boundaries between work time and rest.

If you can, delegate or eliminate some of your workload.

Avoid multitasking as much as possible and aim to work at 85% of your capacity.

Address unfairness

Confront biases and communicate your concerns with those in authority.

Rebuild community

Invest time in nurturing relationships and fostering a supportive environment.

3) Strengthen your nervous system

This will increase your resilience toward stress and exhaustion.

You can do so by integrating hormetic stressors into your routine.

These are activities that raise stress levels briefly but then offer relaxation.

Here are three of them:


Saunas elevate your heart rate like moderate exercise. 

The subsequent cool-down induces relaxation, aiding stress recovery.

Cold exposure:

First, you feel a shock, but then you quickly calm down.

This helps lower your heart rate and improves your ability to handle stress.


Regular workouts boost physical health and temporarily increase your heart rate. 

After exercise, your body naturally enters a recovery state, improving stress resilience.

4) Get professional help

If you struggle with burnout, seek professional help.

Burnout develops gradually, often unnoticed until it severely affects your well-being. 

Consulting a mental health professional like a psychologist or therapist offers personalized guidance.

The sooner you seek help, the easier recovery becomes. 

Early intervention prevents lasting health and happiness impacts. 

If you're a driven entrepreneur or creator and looking to:

  • Efficiently manage stress for better health and productivity

  • Drop up to 20lbs in 90 days, without the diet-hamster-wheel

  • Reach your dream physique in just 2 hours per week

Click HERE for a free 30-minute strategy call where I'll show you exactly how it works