Exercise Burnout and Addiction: What are the signs and how can you help? 

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Nearly a quarter (24%) of Britons exercise when they need ‘me’ time and over half (55%) of gym-goers exercise at least once per week – but are these people at risk of exercise addiction or burnout?’

As of 2020, burnout will be recognised as a medical condition1. For regular gym-goers, exercise burnout and addiction can become a problem; and business owners should be doing all they can to spot red flags early, and help their clients.

Business management software in the fitness and wellness industry – MINDBODY identifies the signs of exercise burnout and addiction, as well as advising business owners on how they can help any clients who may be suffering. 

Nearly a quarter (24%) of Britons exercise when they need ‘me’ time2 and over half (55%) of gym-goers exercise at least once per week2, But, are these people at risk of exercise addiction or burnout.

According to a French study of gym-goers, nearly half (42%) could be at risk of exercise addiction, with men and women equally affected3



The key symptoms of exercise addiction among gym-goers are: 

  • Overtraining e.g.going to a lot of fitness classes, especially more than one per day
  • Never having a break from the gym
  • Losing weight at a fast rate
  • Over-pushing themselves in a class
  • Exercising even if injured or sick
  • Injuring themselves in the gym due to exhaustion  
  • Having to exercise for a set amount of time per day 

Exercise burnout refers to the feeling of being continually fatigued and disinterested in exercise. Signs that a client could be suffering from exercise burnout include: 

  • Decrease in performance when working out, e.g not lifting as heavy as before 
  • Disinterested in exercise and complaining that they don’t want to work out
  • A halt in significant results 
  • Mood changes, including stress, low energy, tiredness, anxiety, anger, moodiness and irritability 
  • Delayed recovery time and increased injury

If you spot any of the above signs when you see your clients, then it could be a sign that they are suffering from exercise burnout, or an exercise addiction. They may need help. In this situation, there are steps that you can take as a business owner. 

A spokesperson at MINDBODY, says “Speaking to your clients and customers is the best way to help someone you believe is suffering from exercise burnout. Train your employees in how to identify common red flags, and encourage them to ask clients about how they are feeling, highlighting the importance of rest and days off from the gym. 

“If clients are suffering from burnout, then the best way to help them is to encourage them to try something different, like a new group class or gym routine, as this can prevent them from being bored of their routine and disinterested with working out. If you or your employees have a good relationship with your clients and worry they could have an exercise addiction, it could be worth asking them to seek professional help as this is the best way to help them recover.”

Tom Jenane, Nutrition & Fitness Expert at Natures Health Box offers his advice: 

“While many people dread the gym, for others it can become a second home and a crucial part of their daily routine. Unfortunately, this can sometimes pass a healthy level and become an addiction. While a regular gym-goer is in the interests of the business, they have a duty of care to ensure customers are taking sufficient breaks and allowing their bodies to recover.

Television screens can also be used to offer tips in between songs, such as the importance of recovery, getting plenty of sleep at night, eating a healthy diet and taking rest days.

With modern systems, you are alerted how often you are going to the gym, and this data can be used to personalise advice. So, if a client is coming to the gym every day, then they could be sent an email highlighting the regularity and the importance of rest and recuperation.”

As a business owner, you also need to take staff burnout into account and make sure that your staff aren’t overworked or unhappy within their job.

A spokesperson at MINDBODY also explains: “It’s important to make sure that your staff are happy and supported at work, without feeling drained or burned out. If you haven’t already, a way to do this is to implement marketing automation software that can help take some jobs off their hands, such as booking, scheduling and payments.

“It may also seem like a small thing, but making sure that your staff rota is completed in advance is important. You should take your staff’s personal commitments into account when organising the rota, ensuring they are happy with their hours and aren’t double-booked with classes or sessions – this will help to promote a positive working environment and
work-life balance. MINDBODY Business can help with this, by giving you and your staff the freedom to view and update schedules, complete day-to-day tasks and track payments on the go, directly from your phone or tablet.”

For more information about MINDBODY, please visit: https://uk.mindbodyonline.com/

MINDBODY is the leading technology platform for the wellness services industry. Local wellness entrepreneurs worldwide use MINDBODY’s integrated software and payments platform to run, market and build their businesses. Consumers use MINDBODY to more easily find, engage and transact with wellness providers in their local communities. For more information on how MINDBODY is helping people lead healthier, happier lives by connecting the world to wellness, visit uk.mindbodyonline.com

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