CrossFit gym workouts can get pretty intense. They often demand an extreme level of physical exertion and leave you exhausted in a sweaty heap on the floor.

Workout burnout is the wall you hit, where instead of growing stronger, faster, and sharper you begin falling backwards… and no amount of extra exercise can help it.

Workout burnout is a form of over training and if left untreated can lead to some harmful side effects. Make sure you monitor your energy levels and recovery times so that you don’t fall into the burnout abyss.

Major Side Effects Of Workout Burnout

There are a plethora of negative affects over training can have on your body and your mind. Symptoms can include brain fog, muscle soreness, fatigue, blurred vision and dry skin just to name a few. We believe the most damaging symptoms to your overall health are the following:

Overloaded Central Nervous System (CNS)

While attempting to bust through plateaus and gain new personal bests your central nervous system will take an absolute beating.

By training at the very edge of your capabilities for extended periods of time you are likely going to fry your mental functions dampening your physical output in relation to power, speed, endurance and adaptability.

Adrenal Fatigue

The adrenal glands adapt the body and prepare it for a stressed state. If this balance goes out of kilter your body is no longer able to manage the stress it is placed under.

As all stress accumulates and there is no way to extract it in this state there will eventually come a breaking point which will damage your psyche and hormonal function.

For instance a consequence of this stressed state is a heightened level of anxiety – this can pull your body through bouts of panic attacks (also known as fight or flight responses).

In most cases this will negatively affect your social life and ability to cope in crowded spaces often sending your head into a spin and looking for the nearest exit to comfort the overwhelming feeling of anxiety.

Weakened Immune System

Over training and workout burnout can push your immune system down into the dumps. A weakened immune system can knock you back, days, weeks, even months of progress – and if you fail to recover before returning to the gym you will only compound the detriment to which your body is already experiencing.

Once your immune system is compromised you open yourself up to the advent of stomach bugs and parasites, become at risk to pathogens and have episodes of nutritional sensitivities which can manifest in breakouts of acne and rashes.

Strategies For Recuperation

First and foremost you must rest your central nervous system as it is likely over stimulated. The central nervous system requires at least 48 hours of downtime in order to replenish its capacity – and depending on how hard you have been beating your CNS – it may take up to 10 days to fully recover.

This means no strenuous exercise whatsoever. Get enough sleep – best practices show at least 8 hours of sleep is optimal for muscle protein synthesis as well as mental recuperation. Remember this is only a periodical deloading – if you monitor your energy levels and become conscious of your energy fluctuations you may be able to avoid this downtime all together in the future.

Secondly, if you don’t already, you should incorporate mindfulness and meditation as a staple habit on your daily to do list. Mindfulness can help alleviate stress by bringing your focus into the present moment improving your clarity of thought and reinforcing your immediate intentions. You learn to slow the mind down, how to keep calm under pressure, how to process difficult situations and how to actually “feel” life consciously through your body. All of this whilst cultivating gratitude for the simple things in life and placing trust in the process as opposed to the need to be outcome oriented.

Thirdly, take the time to nourish your physical and mental state through proper nutrition. Simple steps towards this goal could be drinking at least 2 liters of water per day, upping your calorie intake to replenish your energy stores, eating a wide range of different fruits and vegetables to overcome any micro nutrient deficiencies and eating at set intervals throughout the day to get your body back into its circadian rhythm.


Our culture and society is such that we are always on the go – ever looking ahead to make gains as hard and as fast as humanly possible.

Often times we must listen to what our bodies are telling us and heal ourselves both inside and out – a vital next step towards getting over the lulls and reaching our genetic potential.

Are you interested in joining us for our next CrossFit course? Check out the classes on offer here. Fully recovered and itching to get back into the gym? Book a free trial with us today at TOA CrossFit Wellington Central – Wellington’s Premier CrossFit Gym.

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