The 5 am starts at the gym. The nutrition restrictions when you want those extra curly, extra crunchy french-fries. The never-ending list of clients that you’re so grateful for but can’t seem to get a break from. The constant training, dedication to detail, and updating of plans and workouts.
It’s starting to get to you, and you hate that.
When you’re a personal fitness trainer or any kind of fitness professional, your job is your entire life. Your dedication is unreal and it’s never-ending. For as much as you love it, though, you’ve started to feel it hitting you hard lately. You’re feeling tired all the time. You dread the idea of taking on a new client (an idea that would have had you elated last week,) you can’t keep yourself on your own fitness track. You're nearing personal trainer burnout.
You’re feeling pushed to your breaking point, and it’s starting to affect your personal happiness as well as your professional well-being. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are hundreds of different steps, techniques, and strategies you can implement in order to save your sanity (as well as your business).
If you’re feeling this way, remember, you’re not alone. You can still love your job, make a difference, and keep fighting the good fight, you might just need a little help combating the dreaded burnout.
Read on to get a glimpse of a few of our favorite tips to help combat personal trainer burnout.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO
Listen, we get it.
It can be hard to turn down clients, especially when you have a burning passion to help people become the best versions of themselves. Helping people, putting them before you, and boosting people to success can become incredibly addictive, and while doing those things is never bad, it can sometimes make you put yourself and your needs on the back burner. Though you want to be as busy as ever, whether for benevolent reasons or because you want to put money in the bank, it’s never a good idea to bog yourself down or overload your schedule.
It’s hard to set limits, but it’s important to remember this simple sentiment: you’re not a bad trainer if you tell someone that you’re not available to train them.
It simply means that you’re just too busy. It can incredibly hard to say no to someone, especially if they’re asking you face to face and you know that you could help them, but if you’re not taking care of yourself first, you’re likely going to be useless for your other clients.
HOW DO YOU COMBAT THIS?
Take an objective look at your schedule.
Do you have built in block that allow you time to relax and unwind before your next client? Are you actually available to train more clients? Get a clear, unbiased understanding of your schedule before you take on any new clients, and if you find that you’re genuinely unable to do it, don’t feel bad for saying no.
MAKE TIME FOR YOUR OTHER PASSIONS
Fitness is a great passion, but you don’t have to allow it to be your only passion.
One of the best ways to avoid personal trainer burnout is to give indulge in your other passions. Don’t allow fitness to entirely consume your life. For your sanity, and your body’s sake, give yourself a break from the fitness world. Whether it’s a few hours every day, or a few days every week, make sure you’re doing something you love that isn’t fitness related.
This includes taking a break from your fitness friends, too. Scheduling time for yourself, or for your friends who work in other industries, will allow you to take a full break from the industry and get your brain focused on something else. With fitness friends, no matter how much you love them, it can be difficult to not slip into talking about work, the latest exercise fads, and totally stressing your brain out during your off-time.
Talk to people who aren’t trainers for a change to get a change of pace. Read a book. Paint a picture. Go to the beach. Do something you love that has absolutely nothing to do with the fitness world. This will give your brain and body a rest, allow you to relax, and rejuvenate your fitness passion to help you come back fresher than ever.
KEEP YOUR GOALS ALIVE
Sometimes, taking a deep breath and taking an even deeper look at the goals you’ve set for yourself can be the ultimate refresher. Take a morning for yourself, sit at your favorite coffee shop, sip a latte you love, and ask yourself a few of these questions: “am I doing all that I wanted to reach these goals?” or “am I allowing myself enough free-time to refresh and rejuvenate in order to allow me to reach these goals?”
Take a look at what your goals are. Do you have room to update them? Have you met your goals? If not, what’s stopped you?
Taking a good hard look at the goals you have for yourself and don’t be afraid to adjust, reorganize, and set new ways to help you reach your goals.
RECOGNIZE BURNOUT BEFORE IT BEGINS
Oftentimes, there are tell-tale signs of personal trainer burnout that are happening before the full-fledged burnout begins, and if you catch them in time, you can save yourself some heartache and drama. But recognizing those signs is going to be key in helping you maintain a level head.
So, how can you recognize these signs?
One of the best ways is to sit down by yourself and evaluate exactly how you’re feeling. Ask yourself, “am I feeling overwhelmed? Do I constantly feel tired? Am I feeling unmotivated and uninspired?” If this is the case, it’s possible that the burnout is setting in.
Once you’ve established these feelings, try to get to the root of the issue. Ask yourself what’s stressing you out and evaluate if you’re in a position to change it. Then, determine if you can change the way you’re reacting to these stressors. This kind of evaluation and self-reflection can help you stave off burnout and lengthen your career!
SCHEDULE TIME FOR YOU
This sort of goes hand in hand with the idea of building out time for you and saying no to other clients, but this should go far beyond just your schedule at work.
When you’re looking at your weekly schedule of clients, meal preps, and more, are you blocking out time to do things you want to do? Did you schedule that once-a-week lunch with your best friend? Did you leave some time of the weekend to read the rest of that book you’ve been dying to finish? Did you schedule time to train yourself this week? Did you schedule in enough time to sleep this week?
When you’re building out your schedule, it’s important to fit clients in, but it’s mostly important that you’re fitting in time for yourself.