Workout Burnout


Yesterday was Groundhog Day at my gym.

The same people, with the same bodies, were doing the same workouts that they do each and every day.

  • The skinny-fit people were running hard, uphill, on their treadmills
Brandon Moen: treadmill marathon champ
Brandon Moen: treadmill marathon champ
  • The skinny-fat people were jogging, like good little hamsters on their treadmills or ellipticals, and


  • The wanna-be skinny-fat people were plodding along in their fat-burning zones.


  • The resident “strong-men” of the gym were trying hard to hide even more muscle under their generous layers of body-fat.
Dave Tate - powerlifting guru - pre-transformation
Dave Tate - powerlifting guru - pre-transformation
  • The “machine-junkies” were getting a very safe & sensible workout


  • The Yoginis were stretching themselves into pretzels
model: Christy Turlington
model: Christy Turlington
  • And the interval training junkies were working out like this:

and this:

And the question I ask is…


Why do the runners run and the lifters lift?

Why don’t the yoginis ever try to build some strength?

Why do the Crossfit cultists only do Crossfit?

Why don’t the Curves circuit bunnies ever do some sprints on the exercise bikes?



So, I ‘m asking you.

Do you have the guts to break out of your routine and try something new?


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  1. Is this a rhetorical question?

    Who has the quote “everything works, nothing works forever”? It sums things up well.

    Anyone intelligent and open minded should be able to figure out if what they’re doing isn’t working, and adapt accordingly.

  2. Right now I’m just doing a martial arts class twice a week, but when I do go to the gym, I usually use a treadmill or elliptical. I guess it’s because of the ease of use–you get on and go. I’d be willing to try something else, like weights and stuff, but there’s so much variety that I don’t know what to choose. There’s also the fear of using the weight machines incorrectly.

  3. I think people work out according to “quantity” versus “quality” much of the time — they focus on burning calories, not improving fitness. (Myself included — I was just thinking about this last night and that I need to change that.)

    As an aside, I really like the HIIT/HIRT theories, and while I don’t know if I can handle HIRT, I think HIIT sounds great — will plan to try soon.

  4. I mostly only do the classes at my gym, and I do whatever they tell me, to the extent that I can. I do three different types of cardio, a few body sculpt type things, and even yoga if I get to it (not as much as I’d like). I know a lot of people are down on body sculpt, but if it’s hard for me, it’s gotta be doing something. I don’t need to be muscular, just not flabby. And so what if some people only like to do a certain type of exercise? It’s still healthier than sitting around drinking beer.

  5. You’re right Julie…any exercise is better than no exercise.

    And, I think that your decision to do yoga (flexibility, joint mobility, muscular endurance, mental stamina & relaxation), body sculpt (muscular strength, hypertrophy, endurance) and cardio (aerobic endurance) is great precisely because you are challenging your body to improve in a variety of different ways.

    If you were a professional marathon runner, it would probably be best to focus exclusively on cardio.

    But, for us Joe Six-Packs and Suzie Chardonnays, we don’t need to develop extreme fitness in any one or two areas of fitness.

    For example, there’s an older fella in my gym (late 60s) who does nothing but lift hard and heavy. I was talking to him the other day and he was telling me about how he can lift as much as he did in his 20s. But, he is also on blood pressure meds, has a bad shoulder that needs surgery, climbs stairs like a 99 yr old and can’t touch his toes.

    He trains about 6 hrs a week.

    My point is that his overall health & fitness might be better served by devoting 3 hours to cardio & muscle flexibility/joint mobility and still have 3 hours a week to get his bodybuilding fix.

    Or maybe he could join a body sculpt class

  6. One of the main tenants of CrossFit is to learn and regularly play new sports, therefore the CrossFit cultist shouldn’t only be doing CrossFit if they are following the program properly. However, CrossFit itself is extremely varied and involves weight lifting, gymnastics, running and body weight exercises. Can’t really accuse CrossFitters of doing the same old routine all the time.

    I do CrossFit, but I also do martial arts and kickboxing as well as being a good dog owner and walking my dogs every day. Variety is the spice of life. 🙂

  7. I agree with you DR. I think it mainly amounts to lack of knowledge. I always see women in the gym doing only cardio for what seems like hours, and 2-3 different machines. Then there are guys who come in with their friends and only lift weights. Often times, it looks like the blind leading the blind. To generalize, women primarily want to loose weight (hence the constant weighing and calorie counting), and men just want to build muscle (or the appearance of strength).

    I personally do abs every day, weights & machines four days a week, yoga twice a week (schedule permitting), and hike and ride my bike weekly or bi-weekly. I do cardio machines or jump rope a 4-5 days a week. I view fitness as a life style, and try maintain balance.

  8. I actually switch up my workouts all the time
    every month or month and a half. Power lifting to old school body building, to plyometrics, to longer distance running, to body weight strength exercises. Sometimes I do all at once, each one assigned to a different day.

  9. Mixing it up is definitely the way to go. I mix getting out 3 x a week for a 6k+ run, 15 minute strength training x 3 and between 1-2 gym based x trainer, stepper and cycle. Works for me!
    Great article.

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