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Michael Stefano, FDNY captain and author of The Firefighter's Workout Book, has been training with NYC firefighters and men and women from all walks of life for 2 decades. In addition, Captain Mike offers online fitness & weight loss .

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Avoid Workout Burnout
by Michael Stefano

When it comes to exercise, most people have no trouble kicking off a new program. Motivation is usually peaked by a personal experience such as a hurtful comment, the devastation of a break up or a warning from a physician. What usually results is a great start followed quickly by workout burnout.

In the gym, consistency is the only proven formula for success. When you start furiously and then hit the wall due to an overexertion injury or lack of interest, you�re doing the exact opposite of what gets the best results.

Instead, a slow start with a steady climb and eventual leveling off is what�s called for. For a great start-up workout, click here.

Manage Your Motivation
The body is a mere pawn. It obeys orders and gives feedback to the brain. When you first start training, all you can think about is the steps you�ll take to get in shape. Cool equipment, the promise of a new body, how you feel the day after a good workout -- all these thoughts serve to reinforce your willingness to workout.

How can you sustain this healthy level of commitment that�s necessary to overcome the unrelenting resistance of a tired, overworked body?

To simply go with the ever-popular catch phrase, �Just do it,� doesn�t cut the mustard. When every fiber of your being screams, �Lay down on the couch,� how do you know when it�s best to rest and when it's better to keep pushing past that feeling of fatigue?

Pushing Past Fatigue
On the other hand, �Just say no,� might be the slogan of the day. It�s possible to be too tired to exercise, and for that day, plopping on the couch is the right choice.

Generally speaking, a heavy feeling in the legs and arms, and extreme fatigue are signs you need to back off before you add another physical burden into your daily schedule.

If you don�t fully energize within five or ten minutes of starting to exercise, cut it short or skip the workout altogether. Catch up on your rest and resume your program on your next available day. Any type of illness should also be cause for concern, and possible reason to sideline you for the day.

A lighter version of your normal routine might be appropriate for those days that you can�t get going, but be sure to get back on track as soon as possible. If symptoms of extreme fatigue persist for more than a few days, get checked out by your physician.

Sustaining Commitment
Prioritize health and fitness in your life and the time factor will fall into place on its own. Remember that you�re important enough to ALWAYS find 20 - 30 minutes, 2 - 3 times per week to devote to exercise. That�s as little as one hour each week! A few pieces of basic equipment around the house can eliminate travel time (usually double that of actual workout time), and this will help you better manage your time.

So be slow to start. Do some research on what works. Over the long haul, a program that progressively (and safely) pushes you a little further each workout is what will produce the most dramatic results.

Avoid Workout Burnout - 10 Quick Tips

  • Start slowly and spread initial enthusiasm out over time
  • Perform a split routine or just change exercises from workout to workout
  • Use two or even three modes of cardio during one workout
  • Intersperse stretches between strength exercises
  • Every two or three months, take a week off
  • Completely change your routine every three to six months
  • Exercise outdoors whenever possible
  • Play your way fit (tennis, racquetball, golf without cart)
  • Set up a small home gym to save time and energy
  • Pay attention to signs of over training* and slow down if necessary

    ���*Loss of appetite, extreme fatigue, irritability, lack of progress, insomnia
    ����or recurring injury and illness are sure signs you're over training.

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Start today: CLICK HERE

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