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Whether you’ve spent years of your life working out in the gym, or you’re in your first few months, everyone is at risk of gym burnout.

If you are finding yourself searching for any excuse to avoid slipping on your trainers and heading to your local gym, then you too may be suffering from burnout.

But what is it? And how can you avoid it and keep your body transformation on track?

Let’s take a look.

What is Gym Burnout?

This is a good question and has more than one answer.

Gym burnout can be mental or physical. It can be your mind telling you you’ve done enough for the week, and the latest series on Netflix is far more appealing than jumping on a treadmill right now. Or it can be your body telling you it needs time to recover after your last workout.

Both of these are easy to pick up and can keep you at home instead of in the gym.

If you’re feeling fatigued and mentally drained, then the chances are you may have been pushing yourself too hard, and it may be time for a break.

Gym burnout can leave you feeling tired, sore, and irritated, so it’s best to avoid it if you can.

But how can you avoid it?

Well, like many things, prevention is the greatest cure, and by realising what your body can handle, you can learn to make the most of your workout sessions, and more importantly, your rest periods.

How Long Should You Workout at the Gym?

There are many different reasons people head to the gym, and this has an effect on how long they will spend there.

If you’re performing cardiovascular workouts, a recommended amount of time in the gym would be around thirty minutes of non-stop moderate-intensity working out, around five times a week.

This would be enough to burn around 200 calories, so could see you dropping 1000 calories throughout the week.

Of course, people exercise for different reasons. If you’re a trained runner, you will do longer workouts than someone looking to drop a few pounds.

It’s important to listen to your body. While you may feel great after thirty minutes, your body may suffer if you push it too hard regularly, so it’s important that if you’re planning on raising the time you spend working out, you do it slowly and not all at once.

If you’re looking to build muscle, the times may be a bit different.

For beginners, thirty minutes may be enough to get a full body workout in, but an experienced gym goer will be spending longer than this on their upper body alone.

As your body becomes accustomed to regular workouts and your muscles grow, you may work on different muscles on different workouts, and begin to spend longer in the gym.

An experienced gym goer may spend over an hour on an upper body workout alone, but for someone new, stick to smaller times and listen to your muscles.

How Long Should You Spend at the Gym?

This is slightly different to the question of how long your workouts should be.

A gym can be much more than simply a place you go to lift some weights. If you get to know people there, it can be a great place to socialise, and if there are the facilities available, a place you can eat and relax after a workout.

This means you may spend a lot longer at the gym than your workout time. Speak to staff and fellow gym-goers for a bit of advice and a bit of friendly chat and try not to see the gym as somewhere to avoid, but somewhere you enjoy visiting.

Heading to the gym shouldn’t leave you feeling anxious, and it should be an enjoyable experience, so don’t rush out of the door if you can help it.

lady working outHow Often Should You Go to the Gym?

Again, the answer to this question depends on your goals. The government recommendations, co-written by some of the top scientists in the UK, recommend adults (19-64 years) should try to accumulate 150 mins of moderate exercise or 75 mins of intense cardiovascular type exercise per week.

They also recommend doing strength-based exercises two times per week. If you follow these guidelines, you will maintain a good level of fitness, which will help you lead a long healthy life.

However, if your goal is to lose weight quickly, build lots of muscle, or compete in a sport, you may need to work out more. The amount will depend on a variety of factors, including fitness level, age, experience, final goal.

Again, beginners and experienced gym-goers will differ, but no matter who you are and how much muscle mass you have, you should be staying away at least once a week.

Is it Bad to Go to the Gym Every Day?

For a beginner or novice, the answer to this question is most likely yes.

And there are several reasons for this.

Firstly, muscles need time to recover, so if you are putting them under pressure every day, you may be doing more harm than good. When you work a muscle, the fibers break down, and it is the rebuilding of these fibres which makes the muscle stronger and bigger.

If you don’t give your muscles time to rebuild, you may actually stunt their growth.

Another huge factor is the fact that you are putting your body at risk of injury. Working the same muscle group every day can lead to your muscles being overworked, and this is when you are at most risk of picking up an injury.

Even when performing cardiovascular exercise such as running and cycling, if you’re a beginner you should take a day to allow your muscles to relax and recuperate or else you’re putting them at risk.

Finally, working out every day can put a strain on you mentally and this is a big cause of gym burnout.

By taking a break, you allow your mind to refresh and enjoy a night out of the gym, which can have a big effect when it comes to sticking to a strict routine.

Should You Go to the Gym When Sore? 

This is an interesting topic.

Whilst sore muscles are a common after-effect of a workout, when muscles are too sore, it is a sign that your muscles may need a bit of time off.

To avoid injury and gym burnout, you must be sure you’re always working out with the correct form. This can be tricky if you are over-compensating with sore muscles and adjusting your body shape when exercising.

Soreness is natural, but when you are in pain, or you feel stiff and like your muscles aren’t allowing you to move freely, it’s time for a break.

Can I Go to the Gym Twice a Day?

Again, this depends on how experienced you are, and the intensity of your workouts. Yes, some professional athletes train twice per day multiple times per week, but they are conditioned and have well thought out training plans. These training plans alter the intensities of workouts to minimise overreaching or burnout.

For most people, training twice per day is a little excessive. If you want to break up some long low to moderate cardiovascular exercise into two sessions, then that should be fine.

What you probably shouldn’t do, is two high-intensity workouts as this could lead to major burnout.

Injuries occur when you’re pushing your body too hard, and muscles need time to recover. This is often more than 24 hours, so if you’re pushing them twice a day hard, it could be too much.

Personalise Your Workouts to Avoid Gym Burnout

The key to avoiding gym burnout is to know what works for you and your body.

Are longer but less frequent workouts better, or shorter but more frequent ones?

Your body and your mind will be able to provide answers for this, so listen to them and know when you’re pushing yourself too hard to avoid gym burnout.

For more information, why not get in touch with Trojan Fitness?

From bespoke gym equipment, to personal training tailored to you, our professional team can help you along your body transformation.

Come on down to our Northwood-based gym and see for yourself.


Matthew Morris