Athletes are faced with lots of physical, mental, and emotional challenges day in and day out. Therefore, because of their work as physical in nature, they have to focus on high-quality nutrition. The problem for many athletes, though, is it is hard for them to balance the energy taken in and expended.
Nutrition deficiency is one of the most pressing issues that athletes have to face every day. Especially for professional athletes, the likelihood of having a burnout is highly likely. Even amateur athletes who don’t train as hard as professional athletes even fall into the burnout trap. It is because of the stark difference between energy-in and energy-out; and if there is no balance between the two, any athlete cannot function to the best of his/her ability.
If you are an athlete and you are not sure if you are experiencing burnout, what are the symptoms that you must look out for? Here are the most common signs of exercise burnout:
1. Lack of energy: even though you know you have one day off in a week, you may still feel worn-out after all the rest that you’ve taken for yourself. When you train, you feel the soreness in your muscles that never seems to fade away. And when you carry weights, it seems they are too heavy for you. When you experience a general sense of malaise, it means you are experiencing burnout, and you need to rethink your training and nutrition.
2. Constipation: if you haven’t had problems with your digestion and you suddenly experience constipation, it is a sure sign that you may be experiencing an exercise burnout. Because your body now has to exert extra effort into making sure you feel good, energy is shifted from digestion to the other needs of your system.
3. Weight gain: it may sound counter-intuitive to gain weight when you are exercising too much. However, it is most often the case that you will experience weight gain when you don’t give yourself enough time to rest from exercise. It is because your body can only handle as much exercise, and if you go beyond that capacity, your body thinks you are in starvation mode. Therefore, instead of burning calories, your body tries to hold on to every bit of fat that can be carved out from the food you eat. You then end up gaining weight instead of losing when you over-exercise and under-eat.
4. Inability to sleep: when you are experiencing an exercise burnout, your body gets restless because it is unable to be at peace with all the stresses that you’ve subjected yourself to. Therefore, it is not uncommon to experience sleep disturbances like insomnia and broken sleep. If you have always enjoyed a healthy dose of sleep, and have been finding it difficult to sleep lately, you may be experiencing exercise burnout.
5. Mood swings: when something is wrong in your body system, all your hormones are also affected. Therefore, you will feel like you are suddenly short of fuse, the little things irritate you, and you tend to be negative about everything. It is acceptable to be this way when it is the time of the month, or when you are going through a rough stage in your life. However, if you suddenly feel these emotional changes without anything else happening in your life, then that may be a sign of exercise burnout. Because your endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and other hormones are in a low state at this point, these “feel good” hormones cannot get to you in the most efficient way possible. Therefore, you feel overwhelmed by everything, and what used to be okay now seems irritating to you.
If you’ve answered “Yes” to at least two of the signs mentioned above, then it is most likely that you have exercise burnout.
It can be challenging to get back up from this health roadblock, especially if you have a scheduled training or an upcoming competition. Put a focus on nutrition and rest if you want to feel better. High-quality diet and rest are the two factors that can help you recover from exercise burnout. If you only choose nutrition and keep on exercising, then you will not achieve the recovery that you have been looking for.
It All Starts with Nutrition
Apart from excellent rest where you will steer yourself away from stresses and training that may further exacerbate the problem, you must put a prime focus on nutrition. When you get to nourish your body correctly, you can overcome all the health hurdles that you are experiencing right now. Focus on eating clean and organic foods that can provide healing and nourishment for your body. Go with fresh and organic fruits, vegetables, grains, seafood, and lean meats. It is now also the right time to say your goodbyes to processed foods. When you are experiencing burnout, processed foods should not have any place in your diet.
However, in truth, it can be challenging to prepare meals at home when you are an athlete, more so if you do it for a living. An option would be to sign up for Diet to Go meal delivery that can cater to your needs. Just make sure to specify to the service provider what your goals and dietary restrictions are. By signing up for this service, you get to enjoy the full meal plans that you want while not sacrificing on downtime once you get home from training.