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4 Tips for Fighting Fitness Burnout

Don't get stuck in stuck in a fitness routine—find a new workout to break up the monotony.

It happens to the best of us – before we know it, we’re tired. We’re burnt out. We don’t wanna go to the gym anymore, don’t wanna go to the classes, the sessions, the... whatever. It’s overwhelming, frustrating, time consuming and sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered.

The problem, however, is when 'just resting' for a day or two turns into several weeks, months, and even years in some cases.

Without a doubt, life happens. You can easily get called away by something that forces you having to put your fitness routine on hold for a minute or two. Or, even worse—you have nothing preventing you from going to the gym, but it’s just sooooo boring that you’re a sneeze away from hanging it up.

Have no fear, kids. As usual, I have a few tips to help you work through this fitness crisis:

1) Be patient. If you’re new to fitness, it might take a while for you to feel the sparks that many avid exercises rant and rave about when it comes to their workouts. Those of us who do it and love it? Many of us struggled with it at first, too, but we hung in there and grew to adore it, too. Yes, even when it hurts a little bit, too. (You’ve just gotta foam roll your way through all that.)

2) Be compassionate towards yourself. Yes, you skipped class the last couple of weeks, but so what? There’s no amount of anger, sadness or shame that’s going to bring those weeks back, so why put yourself through it? Trust me, there’s no sense for “punishment” when it comes to this. Look at it as a signal – you know you’re slippin’, so make it simple: take a deep breath, pack that gym bag (or unravel that mat and weight set), set the date and time for which you’re going to get it done, and… shrug. That’s right, shrug. It’s no big deal – it’s another commitment, like brushing your teeth or paying your bill. The less of a big deal you make about getting back into it, the easier it’ll be to, well, get back into it.

3) Don’t be afraid to switch it up every now and again. Sometimes, quite frankly, you need to spice it up. Sometimes, that same spin bike can get a little boring. Sometimes, step aerobics gets a little monotonous. And, yes, even my beloved weights set has bored the daylights out of me, too. But, remember—fitness is a state of being, not just a hat you put on sometimes, and take off others. Switch it up! Instead of three days of class, add in a day of biking through your city or taking the family for a family walk/run. Take a different class, instead. Run a different path. Spend a half hour tootsie rolling instead of belly dancing, for all I care. (Great for the booty, or so I’ve heard!) The important part is that you prioritize active living in a pleasurable way, not your specific activity.

4) Check to ensure you’re receiving the results you genuinely want and, if not, figure out why. Results often serve as incentive to keep going, no matter how boring the workout may be.  Boredom and no results, though? That’s the kiss of death for any fitness neophyte. Nutrition, stress levels, sleep, activity levels, body fat percentage will all contribute to your ability to achieve your goals in the time you’re anticipating. Carefully observing each over time will help you understand what you’re running short on, and how to stay on target.

Remember, more often than not, this is something that you have the capability to control. It takes time to make things a habit, but when habits turn stale, don’t be afraid to spice it up a little bit. As always, your body will thank you for it!

Erika Nicole Kendall is the writer behind the award winning blog A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, where she blogs her journey from 330lb couch potato to certified personal trainer and nutritionist. Ask her your health and fitness-related questions on Facebook and Twitter.