As a coach, I’ve been through my fair share of burnout. When I first started coaching, it was all new. I didn’t have enough time to do everything I needed to do, I was working too many hours, I wasn’t sleeping enough, and the kids were too intense. It didn’t take long to reach the point where I had nothing left to give.
Burnout is an inevitable consequence of coaching. It happens to both new and veteran coaches alike, yet we can all take steps to minimize the negative effects it has on our lives.You know those trainers who seem confident, resilient, satisfied, successful? They’re not supermen. They just have strategies that help them through the ups and downs of their jobs, which is both interesting and challenging. Here are eight key elements that will help you build resilience and avoid coach burnout.
If you work in the health and fitness industry – whether you’re a doctor, personal trainer, therapist, yoga instructor or group leader – your job is to help people live healthier, stronger lives.
And that’s great, because you can do it:
- Helping them find (and formulate) the big goals they dream of.
- To see it go from this will never happen to Fucking hell, I’m doing it and I’m the strongest man in the universe.
- Watch them grow, not just because they feel better in their clothes, but because they feel stronger in their lives.
- They get hugs and kind words when they realize they are different; they are happier and healthier, and you have helped them be that.
This super-rewarding job can also be exhausting.
It takes a lot of mental energy, which can lead to exhaustion and, if left unchecked, burnout.
The four most vulnerable coach types.
Burnout can affect anyone, although it is more common in the caring professions, and certain behaviours make some people particularly vulnerable.
These are the four most vulnerable types of coaches.
Many people who choose a career in health and fitness do so out of a fundamental desire to help others.
If you want to help, it is probably because you are attentive to the needs of those around you and want to use all the skills and resources at your disposal to meet those needs.
They are also likely to be conscientious, compassionate and generous.
But being a helper can also have its drawbacks.
Common reasons why a caregiver may feel devastated:
- You can base your self-worth on your ability to help. It’s not easy, because of course there are many things that are out of your control. For example, you won’t be able to motivate a customer if they’re just not ready (and pushing them to be more enthusiastic may even backfire). As a doctor or nurse, you have no control over a patient’s life history or genetics; some of your patients may remain ill or die.
- You are more empathetic, meaning you are more likely to feel and perceive the pain of others. It’s a superpower, but it can also become a block if not managed effectively. Empathy gives you the ability to understand the experience of a client or patient with great depth, to the point where you feel like you are going through their difficulties too. While this gives you a good idea of the person’s needs, it also means that coaching can be a rollercoaster of emotions.
- You may find it difficult to interrupt or separate your work. You find it hard to say goodbye or let go of things you have no control over. For example, if you’re trying to fall asleep and you’re thinking: I have a patient who is having difficulties – I need to find a way to help him! Or when you’re on vacation and you think in the middle of a sip of margaritas: Oh, my God! I was just thinking of the perfect resource to send to my client! It’s hard to recover when you’re constantly on edge.
- They may believe (subconsciously or otherwise) that it is good to help others and bad to help themselves. You may brush aside the tremendous services you provide to others, but be stingy when it comes to yourself. You may think it’s selfish to ignore a client’s email and take a relaxing walk outside. You may think it’s okay to put patients’ needs before your own. But everyone putting on an oxygen mask first? This also applies to the floor. You also need time to breathe!
Sportsman / Warrior
If you come from a sports or tactical background, grooming may seem like a joke. What about self-pity? Not in your vocabulary. You are tough, you are a man and you will finish the race even if your knee bleeds.
Perhaps people admire your resilience and you are particularly good at helping others find that last bit of fire they need to finish a grueling strength training session or find the courage to try new vegetables.
But all the fire? Yeah, sometimes it burns.
Common reasons why an athlete/sportsperson may burn themselves out:
- They place great emphasis on extreme performance. In fact, you like extreme things in general. Go beyond your limits. Go to the edge. Find your stumbling block. Yeah, that’s what keeps you going. When you are faced with pain, there is a voice in your head that speaks: Take this… and go! Resign? Not for you.
- Taking care of yourself or managing stress can seem like a sign of weakness. You may think a break is for wimps. You also have an insatiable desire to be part of the action. They don’t want to be pushed aside! They want to be on the ground! Just tape the thigh that is bent at an odd angle and continue.
- You are used to training hard and take pride in your ability to work hard. After years of getting up early to train, performing under pressure and ignoring your body’s cry for STAHHHP! grinding is what you do best. This ability to keep going while others fall down around you is what sets you apart and makes you special. You’re the one who keeps going, like a Terminator in the flesh. It is a reputation that is not easily given up.
You became a coach because you love it. Your passion feeds you. They jump out of bed in the morning, put their fists in the air and say: I WILL SAVE THE WORLD!
This is fantastic.
The world needs your bright dreams and your respectful heart. Your clients and patients often find your enthusiasm contagious. They have the ability to convince people that they can do anything.
But sometimes your float ball leaks and things go wrong.
Common reasons why a passionate fan may recoil :
- Passion can make you want to do more than is necessary or even useful. At work, your eyes may be bigger than your stomach. Your dreams are often more than your mortal body can handle, no matter how hard you try. You want to be the person who goes the extra mile. They want a gold star.
- Passion can tell you to keep going, work harder or do the right thing already, when it would actually be better to take a break. When you have a strong goal, it can be hard to quit. Especially if you serve a lot of people, you may wonder why on earth you prefer the little old man instead of creating something useful for the masses. You tend to ignore your own needs because the needs of those you serve are so great.
- Passion can make it difficult to recognize the signs of fatigue until you are in a state where you have no energy to return. Are you tired? No way! Get out of bed! Your beating heart helps you stay alert, focused and inspired throughout the day! You can’t wait to meet your next client / start your next project / stay on track! After completing a task, look around eagerly and ask: WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? … Until your car has an accident at high speed. You should now rest in the cast. Yuck.
Exemplar / Walk-the-Talk
You want to inspire and motivate your customers. Show them what is possible. Live by your own example.
You are so observant and conscientious as you live your life. You feel like people are watching you; you have to be above things.
You are a man of great integrity and a paragon of excellence. People often tell you that they admire you and that you inspire them.
This is admirable.
But, boy… the collar gets a little tight, the chest gets a little ….. shrunken.
…glum, is the room getting smaller?
They are under enormous pressure.
Common reasons why a role model / walk-the-talk can feel overwhelmed:
- You may feel like you need to act and look like a perfect health icon. You blame yourself for your human failings. How can I teach people to eat better if I can’t break the habit of eating cookies after dinner? In sessions with clients and patients, you feel like you have to have all the answers. In life, one must feel that one can overcome all adversities. Farting and burping are unacceptable.
- You can completely ignore the obvious signs that you need a break. Not in the spirit? Oh, I never get sick, you say, as your sinuses throb. You stoically resist because people will tell you if you miss a day at the gym. After publishing an article about the success of the juice cure, you go to another city for ice cream because, well, you eat refined sugar like a cheat. They must not get sick, eat too much or spoil their mood. People trust you.
- They are never satisfied with the average. Forget a six-pack – go for eight! Hey! They just invented two more presses! They smile at the idea that it will be inspirational, #fitspiration. They want people to always be at their best. And when you’re coaching people to do their best, you have to be better yourself. This is your ethical duty. You can’t preach what you don’t practice, right?
Be alert to signs of burnout in the coach.
In some ways, burnout is a badge of honor for many coaches.
It is easy to use our fatigue as proof that we have worked tirelessly for the people we care about.
However, constantly tightening the buttocks without investing in rest, recovery and a change of mindset can lead to… Ass-kissing. Or worse, a cigarette butt in the fire.
Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of burnout, which are different from those of normal stress.
When we are stressed, we are ready to react immediately to a threat. We’re on high alert. Like a tiger ready to attack.
With burnout, we go from acute agitation to collapse. We’re starting to check it out. We feel powerless, overwhelmed, trapped. We become immobile, convinced of the hopelessness of the situation. The tiger is ready to crawl into the den.
Acute and temporary periods of stress can actually energize us and make us stronger.
Burnout exhausts us. It’s like drowning… without a life vest in sight.
One of the main signs of burnout is that you just don’t care anymore about the things that used to matter to you.
Their shining fantasies of a different life have now degenerated into dusty, withered husks of dead ideals.
You feel defeated and hopeless, overwhelmed by the tidal wave of human suffering you face. Or maybe you feel incredibly irritated and frustrated: Why is everyone so stupid? You can’t find the strength to care about everything.
Other signs of exhaustion include :
- Problems falling asleep or staying asleep
- Tiredness, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Rapid heartbeat, palpitations
- Either a lack of appetite or practically overeating.
- Stomach ache, digestive problems
- Headaches, migraines
- Contractions of the jaw or grinding of the teeth.
- Chronic pain and discomfort
- Copying through alcohol, drugs, shopping, etc.
- are sick more often and take longer to get better
- Hair loss (if this is not normal for you)
- Constant feelings of fear or anxiety, but unable to do anything about it
- Difficulty concentrating; poor memory
- Prioritizing problems or putting things off
- There is no choice but to go to school.
- There is no alternative but to go to school.
- There is no reason not to, and there isn’t.
Выгорание тренера – явление обычное, но неизбежное.
I had a burnout myself.
Thankfully, I came back from that dark night of the soul (and the ruined body). And I have learned that burnout is not a prerequisite for coaching. You don’t have to burn yourself out to help people or have a great career.
And to be honest? Although we often think that by crushing ourselves we will impress others, this is not the case. Done: An exhausted coach is an ineffective coach.
If you want to help your clients and patients achieve the best possible results, you must first help yourself. Yes, you have superpowers. But most of all, you’re human.
How to avoid burnout to keep changing lives
Do you know the trainers who really give the impression of being confident, resilient, satisfied and successful? They’re not supermen. They’re from the same planet as you!
What makes them so effective are the strategies they use to get through the ups and downs of this meaningful and often difficult work.
Do you want to learn from them?
Here are 8 strategies to help you build resilience and avoid burnout:
1. Cultivate a growth mindset.
Developing the resilience needed to be burnout-free depends on the mindset. And the anti-burnout mentality is a growth mentality.
A growth mindset sees everything as an opportunity – every failure is just feedback; every challenge is an excuse to learn; every problem is an invitation to come up with a new solution.
If you receive criticism or encounter an obstacle, treat it as an interesting puzzle. You rub your hands together, excited at the prospect of a new challenge. Even when you fall apart, you come back together stronger.
The growth mindset is also curious. When events don’t go according to plan, he asks:
- Why did it happen like this?
- Can things be different?
- What if I had tried a new way to solve the problem, or tried harder, or asked for help?
Curiosity will help you find answers that you can use to your advantage when the next difficulty arises.
The opposite of growth thinking is fixed thinking.
Someone with a fixed mindset believes:
- Some people are good at business and some are not. Things are the way they are. End of story.
- Failure or negative feedback is an embarrassment and a reflection of personal shortcomings. If you’re good, you can’t be criticized.
- If a problem seems unsolvable, it means that the person trying to solve it is not good enough. If someone is struggling, it’s because they don’t have the talent for it.
A growth mindset uses challenges to develop strength and intelligence. A fixed mentality is only happy when everything is going well; at the first sign of trouble it runs away or gets scared.
2. Focus on behaviour, not results.
Your customers may come with high expectations.
I want to lose 40 pounds.
I want to be like The Rock.
Hurry up. I have to get better soon.
You may have expectations of your own.
If my client does not achieve his goals, I am a failure.
I have to answer all the questions or I’m a fraud.
If I don’t look good, no one will respect me.
The problem is that no one can verify the results.
And the more you try, the more you risk anxiety and frustration because you’re trying to control uncontrollable things, and well….. You see what happens.
Instead, focus on what you and your client can control:
- A way of thinking. (see above); and
- Behavior. You want to lose 40 pounds? Not under your control. Eat more vegetables and go to the gym four times a week? Especially under your control.
Identify the behaviors that contribute to the desired results and make these behaviors daily habits. Practice these habits consistently and the results will be much more likely and permanent.
3. Knowing who is responsible for what.
Clients and patients come with all kinds of pain and problems. Some of these (lovely and well-meaning) clients will want you to benefit from this suffering.
On your journey as a practitioner, it is not your job to carry the burden of someone else. On the contrary, it is your responsibility to help people through the difficult times and guide them on their way.
Have compassion for the difficulties of your clients/patients, but instead of offering to fix or relieve their pain, offer them your confidence that they can get through it.
This is how we help people become stronger.
If you notice that someone is putting undue pressure on you to rectify the situation, or if you are putting such pressure on yourself, calmly relinquish responsibility and remind the person of your role as coach (sharing your knowledge and experience) and your role as client (deciding on and taking action).
In other words: Their role is to be an educated and informed clinician, offering knowledge, understanding, compassion and gentle correction.
Your client must decide what work to do and do it.
4. Rest and digest regularly, no matter what.
Stress activates the sympathetic division (i.e., fight-and-flight mode) of our autonomic nervous system.
You can specifically activate your parasympathetic nervous system (i.e. the resting and digestive mode) using various techniques:
- Movements that discharge the energy accumulated by the activation of the SNS, for example:
- Run (which tells your body that you’re fine and you need to get away).
- Boxing or MMA (that shows your body that you are fit to fight).
- Trembling or shivering (this is part of our natural system to release trauma and stress from the body).
- Tumbling or skating (which temporarily disrupts us and acts as a reset of the nervous system).
- A breath that focuses on slowing down, lowering the chest, creating a long, deep exhale and a natural, slow inhale.
Maybe you have your own list of movements and exercises that calm you down and make you feel lighter and breathe easier. Add them to your toolbox for durability.
5. Check your body.
When your body indicates it’s in pain, it doesn’t let you down. He’s trying to get something across.
Respect what your body is telling you.
Listen to the physical signals and read them.
For example, if you find that you have a headache around 3pm every day, you need to change some things before it becomes a daily headache that crushes your skull.
Maybe you need a break from the computer around 2:30pm? Or a walk in the fresh air? Or take a nap? Or a healthy snack?
Experiment with different interventions to see what helps your body.
To listen to your body better, you can try the following
Take a look at your mind and body.
Lie down, relax and scan your body from head to toe, observing your physical and emotional sensations. Be alert to signs and symptoms of discomfort, both physical and mental.
If you notice particularly chronic or intense symptoms, pay close attention. Maybe your body needs rest or attention from your doctor.
6. Exercise and preparation.
Practice staying calm when under fire so you’re ready when it counts.
Resilient people – such as B. Top athletes, military personnel or people with great accomplishments – anticipate, train and plan to overcome obstacles.
They imagine themselves working on the kinds of problems they normally face and practice staying focused.
For example, when the rescue forces arrive at the scene of an accident, they are already prepared. They prepared and tested their equipment in advance. They carefully and calmly carry out the standard assessment, triage and treatment process. Even if they have to work fast, they know what to do.
Why? Because they have prepared. They’ve been practicing.
Even under the pressure of a code red stunner, the skills that help them react and escape unharmed are practiced almost automatically.
If you want to develop this kind of resilience, think about the problems you are likely to encounter in your practice in the coming weeks:
- What can you do now to prepare?
- Can you think of anything that will help you avoid the inevitable bumps in the road?
- Do you have a checklist to help you remember what to do during a session with a client/patient?
If you find yourself facing a difficult situation with a client, ask a friend or colleague to help you play out the situation ahead of time while staying relaxed and focused.
Yes, it sounds crazy, but it’s better to train now than to panic later.
7. Rewrite your story.
We create personalities, stories and scenarios about ourselves and our world.
Sometimes these personalities, stories and scenarios do more harm than good.
We can become more resilient by questioning and revising our own ideas about ourselves and our lives.
Think about a current situation in your own life – something that worries or upsets you.
What story do you tell yourself about this?
Play it back in your head or, better yet, write it down. Pay attention to all the ridiculous, pompous and banal beliefs about what it means to be yourself.
Now try to rewrite this story from at least two different points of view.
Their original story:
I have to do all these things. They all depend on me. I feel broken and alone.
Reconsidering History 1 :
If you reason from someone else’s point of view, no one expects me to do everything. In fact, people asked me to slow down and I ignored them.
History paraphrased 2 :
I’m not alone. My student asked for help. This is an excellent opportunity to give him the chance to develop professionally. I will delegate some tasks to help him learn.
History paraphrased 3 :
Being stressed helps me understand what my clients are going through. If I can teach myself to slow down and take care of myself, I can talk about my experience and help them do the same.
Reframing offers a more flexible perspective. Suddenly you’re no longer trapped in a scary plot that ends in an apocalypse. Now you have more opportunities and discoveries for new purposes.
8. Use your team.
One of the quickest ways to burn out is to isolate yourself, because you think no one can do the job as well as you, because you don’t trust the people who can help you, or because you don’t want to be a burden on anyone else.
But think about it: United States weightlifting team. Seal Team 6. The diesel team.
The strongest and toughest people in the world have guards.
Even if your body and mind can literally move 1000 pounds, you still need people to take care of you. For that, you needed coaches, trainers, physical therapists and, you know, your mom to encourage you.
There is no exhausted, sad and lonely me in T-E-A-M.
So, lend a hand. Ask for help. Stop trying to carry the whole world on your back.
And if you do try to get the world moving, you’re much more likely to succeed if there are lots of people around the corner to pick it up.
If you don’t have a team yet, start recruiting.
What to do next
Some advice from
Follow the steps below to begin building your resilience to prevent burnout and help your loved ones even more effectively than you already do.
Assess your situation fairly and clearly.
When you feel really good, energetic and in top shape, that’s great!
Keep doing what you’re doing.
If you find that you’re not recovering well from stress or that unpleasant symptoms (such as digestive problems, chronic pain, anxiety/anxiety, etc.) are piling up, consider doing something different.
Create your own resilience toolkit.
No matter how much natural resistance you have, you can achieve more with practice.
What resilience skills do you currently have?
Where/how can you get more of what you need? What else would you say?
Familiarize yourself with the 8 strategies above and choose some of your favorites to start practicing and developing them.
(And for more good tips on dealing with stress, read PN Good stress, bad stress).
Give your body.
Check your physique.
How do you feel physically? Full of concentrated and sustained energy? Or full of boring gremlins and mojo vampires?
Possibly try a mind-body scan (PDF worksheet, audio file with instructions).
Instead of chasing your feelings, acknowledge them. Just start cultivating an unbiased awareness.
Not only are we able to pick up messages before they become too strong, but we are able to focus on our bodies, which helps us stay more present and grounded, and allows us to better respond to and recover from stress.
Be kind to yourself.
Try harder, work longer, be more self-critical and put more pressure on yourself?
This sergeant-at-arms approach rarely works and only exhausts you further.
Try the opposite:
Be sweet and kind to yourself. Respect your signals and physical needs. Putting you first… for you.
Yeah, maybe everyone’s doing fine.
(Fact: probably not.)
But even if you were, you are you.
Everyone has a unique stress pattern that can change over time and be more or less vulnerable depending on what is happening in your life.
Accept and respect what your body, mind and spirit are telling you in this moment.
Give yourself what you need.
Do you want strategies to improve your coaching?
It’s no secret that master trainers develop over time, through training and constant practice, usually under the guidance of a mentor or coach.
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