Beginner Burnout – How To Avoid It

Avoid beginner burnout! So you’re ready to start pumping iron and get cardiovascularly fit. You’re excited about reaching your physique goals. Without question, you’re highly motivated to work out, even driven. No doubt you’re anxious to get started. You want to do it all. And you aren’t afraid to give it all you’ve got. You’re committed to getting that body you’ve dreamed about – no matter what!

How To Avoid Beginner Burnout – Take A Step Back

Stop and take a moment to analyze all this. Do you see what’s going on here? These are all thoughts and emotions. Whatever you end up doing with your body is clearly preceded by certain thoughts and emotions. In other words, your mind is moving your body into action. Look at it this way: Your mind is the control center for your body. Whatever you think will have an effect on your body.

On the surface, all your feelings about succeeding in the gym seem to be positive and desirable. And you’re right, to an extent, but too much motivation can backfire. You can be so enthusiastic that you’ll end up shooting yourself in the foot, and that’s when those bulging pecs or that sleek thigh sweep will remain just what they are now a dream. I know what you must be thinking: “C’mon being motivated can’t be bad. Did you drop some weight on your head?” just hear me out.

Avoiding Beginner Burnout – Control Your Excitement

Bodybuilding is a new and exciting activity for you. It’s true that you can attain your specific fitness goals in a number of ways. But here’s the problem. Your mind seems to harbor limitless positive feelings for this new activity. But your body is limited in what it can withstand. Look at it from a physiological perspective. You must look at training as a form of stress you place on your body. Your body will adapt favorably to this stress by getting bigger, stronger, and more flexible. That’s true only if you apply the right amount of stress. You have to allow yourself to recuperate sufficiently between workouts. If you don’t, you won’t make gains. Read that last line about 10 times. Tape it into your bathroom mirror. Send yourself a text! In other words, get the message!

Beginner Burnout –  More Is Not Better

Here’s where all these positive emotions can become a problem. You’re so motivated and excited. That means you end up working out at higher levels of intensity than your body can deal with. Before too long, you’ll reach a plateau. You won’t get any stronger or bigger or lose any more body fat. So you look at your high degree of commitment and drive. It must be I’m not working hard enough! Or, I’m not as motivated as you should be. So you end up doing precisely the wrong thing – you train even harder. That’s when one of three things will happen. One, you still won’t make gains. Two, you end up injuring yourself. Three, you quit because you aren’t getting anywhere.

News flash: It’s the quality of the workout, not the quantity of workouts you do. Avoid beginner burnout by being smart.

Reality Check

You can stop this vicious cycle by recognizing that your enthusiasm may take your body beyond its capabilities. You need to curb your workout in an effort to avoid over-training. Also, you need to approach your training sensibly and with a close reality. Let your intuition guide you. See what kind of answers you come up with to the following questions:

  • How motivated do I need to be to reach my goal?
  • If I’m more motivated than that, will I reach my goal more quickly?
  • Am I able to force my body into responding more quickly than biologically possible?
  • Is more better?
  • Is rest necessary for progress?
  • If I take a few days off, will I lose all of what I gained?

The questions could go on and on. The answer to each seems rather lucid. So approach both the mental and physical parts of your newfound activity with moderation, guided by reality.

Avoid Beginner Burnout With Goal Setting

Look at sport psychology for research on goal-setting. You’ll find that many components need to be addressed. Not attending to each decreases the likelihood that you’ll reach your goal. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily advise a beginner to attend to all of them. Here are my top picks.

Though you should have a long-term goal, don’t get bogged down with it. For the most part, it’s quite a ways off. Focus on short-term goals. Such as learning proper techniques. Take it one step at a time. Enjoy the process of becoming more proficient in some of the more complex exercises. As you get better at them, you’ll notice how much stronger you actually are.


Avoid beginner burnout by being confident in a goal-driven approach. This approach should include frequent recovery days. It should also include quality workouts, not haphazard marathon sessions. Focus on maintaining confidence in your ability to reach your physique goals. When practicing your technique, use a mental picture. See yourself perform the new exercises with perfect form. Use positive self-talk to ground the mental exercise. Finally, seek to understand the reasons why you should do certain things.

Commit To Avoiding Beginner Burnout

You’re highly committed to your training. The secret is to maintain this commitment. Use it in the right quantity so it doesn’t end up hurting you in the long run. You should think about your training. However, continually thinking about working out can interfere with other aspects of your life. It certainly won’t help you attain your fitness goals any more quickly. To avoid beginner burnout, restrict your commitment to and thoughts about training. Think about it only when it’s necessary. Such as about an hour before and during your workout. You could also engage in some relaxation training to help clear your mind. Or, simply find other activities to immerse yourself in when you aren’t exercising. Don’t force the issue. Be realistic about your approach. Your life should never revolve around only one activity, even if it is bodybuilding.


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