Running a fitness business is highly rewarding and exciting, yet it can also be challenging and take its toll on you. Getting breaks are few and far in between, especially when you have less staff and trainers due to COVID.
This is when burnout can start to creep in. We’ve all been there. I know I have. And I learned that I needed to switch things up.
So, that’s what I did. Taking time out for myself became a huge priority. Also, this brush with burnout taught me a lot of valuable lessons. This article will share many of them and hopefully assist you in creating your own ‘burnout prevention plan’.
Ways to prevent burnout
When you have a mentally and physically demanding job and are on your feet a lot, and wearing dozens of hats, like us personal trainers — it’s necessary to manage your energy and expectations. After 20 years in this industry, I understand that burnout is real and that it can happen to any of us.
Based on my personal experience and getting through that difficult time, I want to share some tips with you.
Become a master of your schedule
Setting up a detailed schedule can help you stay centered and focused. Also, seeing a visual layout of your day can assist in optimal time management. When your day or week is mapped out, there are fewer surprises. And when there are fewer surprises, there’s less worry and stress in your day.
Furthermore, the mind likes structure and routine. It doesn’t need every second mapped out, but general structure. This takes the mind away from stressing about the unknown and instead can work from a concrete timetable.
Moreover, carve out some time in your calendar for you! Get that ‘me time’ in. Even if you’re in startup mode, or carrying more of the weight because of COVID challenges, still find time for yourself.
The mistake I made was to push and push and push some more. But, this led to burnout. It took that experience to learn what not to do going forward. Burning out sucks and it can severely impact your business.
In short, members come to you for more than a workout. When you’re stress-free and mentally calm you can give them a positive experience and make them members for life. But, it’s all about the long-run. Pushing too hard for short term success can lead to serious burnout.
Make time for your own workouts
Whether you spend more time managing the business from the office or work with clients most of the day, it’s crucial to get your personal workouts in. Use the schedule you’ve created and find a pocket of time that works best for you. Maybe the early morning is open, or the mid-afternoon.
We all know this, but that doesn’t make it any easier to get it done. Particularly for us seasoned trainers who have some minor injuries from decades of training. The key is to find balance with your training. And it’s even more crucial to find this balance when you’re pulling off most of the sessions yourself when staffing is limited.
If you’re struggling to get your workout in, it might be easier to do it in a different place. A new atmosphere or setting away from your gym. Try to make it a priority because this is your time to relieve any accumulated stress you’ve built up.
As you know, exercise releases endorphins, which have many benefits like creating positive feelings and general happiness. You’re great at encouraging your clients with their fitness goals, so give yourself that same support and encouragement to get your workouts in.
Ask your colleagues for support
This is key! Getting support and guidance from close friends and colleagues is incredibly powerful. However, it’s not always easy to ask for it. Many of us learn from a young age that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But, it’s actually a sign of strength. It takes a lot of courage, but the reward is high.
We’re not meant to do everything alone. When we’re short on trainers or have specific business demands, having someone who’s there for us can make all the difference. So, call up a friend, find a coach or mentor, arrange a lunch meeting, or schedule a workout together and relieve some of your stress and concerns.
Something as ‘simple’ as this can help you avoid and prevent burnout. When we had to shut down due to COVID, I had multiple people in the industry help us transition to virtual and bounce ideas off of.
Prioritize your sleep
Without restful sleep, you’re not allowing your body to restore, reset, and recover. Also, lack of sleep can affect your adrenals and nervous system, which can lead to anxiousness, fatigue, and overwhelm.
So, do your best to get consistent sleep because it’s honestly one of the best medicines out there. And it won’t cost you a thing. Speaking from experience, I was part of the culture that traded hours of sleep for work. But that always backfires.
Get as much sleep as you can, so you’ll have more energy during work. You’ll be able to get more done this way and serve your clients better. In this industry, you’re interacting with people all day. Staying sharp is a necessity for your success.
Take a break from your phone
After a long day running your business, motivating, and training clients, you may feel the need to be on your phone. To catch up on emails, texts, social media messages, or anything else your phone requires of you.
If you own a business, do yourself a favor and get a phone strictly for business. Having the same number for personal and business matters can be difficult and cause unnecessary stress.
Also, try to make your downtime real downtime. Put your phone in another room if need be, or turn it off. Your brain needs a break. It’s not meant to be staring or working on screens often. This can affect your circadian rhythm, which then impacts your ability to get restful, deep, restorative sleep.
Final points on how to deal with burnout
If you burnout as a business owner and don’t have a business partner to back you up, what then? Who will run your gym for you?
To prevent burnout from happening in the first place, it’s essential to take preventative and proactive measures, rather than being reactive. By implementing the tips mentioned, you’re keeping your daily health needs in check. And from that place of empowerment and vitality, burnout is less likely to occur.