After Burning Out as a Trainer, I’ve Found That *This* Is What Sustainable Fitness Looks Like at 40 – Well+Good

You’re stressed, not sleeping well, and life feels like it’s dragging you along. You want to exercise, but when you do, it just leads to anxiety and a heavy feeling in your body. In fact, you rarely experience the buzz that everyone else seems to get after they work out.

Yet they all tell you that there’s nothing like a good sweat, right? Well-meaning friends and self-help articles say that feeling that burn will uplift your mood.

The truth is, however, that a heart-pumping workout can sometimes become the source of stress, and actually cause more harm than good when it comes to your health.

I know this all too well. In my early 20s, I had fun working in gyms, teaching classes filled with vibrance and positive energy with a side of sweat. But after a few years, I started getting sick over and over again. I lost the energy to get through my sessions and started to experience anxiety, low moods, and muscle soreness that rarely went away.

Having first joined a gym at 14 years old, I’d spent so much of my life turning to movement for an emotional boost. It used to make me feel good no matter what was going on, and helped me create the energy to keep up with life itself. But by my mid-twenties, I’d fatigued my system to the max, was overtraining and had pushed myself to burnout—emotionally, physically, mentally.

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I realized I needed to overhaul my lifestyle. So I began to optimize my sleep, eat better, and take on less. And, crucially, I refined the balance of types of exercise I was doing.

You see, I wanted to continue to move. I could not do nothing. But I certainly needed to listen to what my body was telling me. To give my nervous system a chance at restoring,

I pulled back from what I thought of as traditional forms of gym sessions (cardio, strength work, core, weights, circuits, boxing) and instead embraced Pilates, yoga, stretching, and meditation.</…….


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