Teacher Burnout

As a fitness instructor you ought to not only take care of your clients but also yourself. Read here how to create and maintain a successful fitness career.

Yay! You’re a Successful Trainer working full time and making a living off of doing what you love!

Make your “Me Time” as important as the pediatrician’s visit or the conference call, and treat it just like any other appointment.

So what’s the problem? One word: BURNOUT!. I’ve been there, and I’ve seen it in my colleagues. In order to keep teaching for a long time, we need to learn to take care of our own bodies so we can take care of our clients.

Just because you are doing something as fabulously healthy as teaching exercise and fitness, it doesn’t mean that your body will stay fit and fabulous all by itself.

As a victim of burnout, it was difficult for me to understand that I had to do less in order to keep doing more. While I was talking up the values of balance to my clients, I wasn’t following my own advice. It took me a longtime to overcome the dissatisfaction that had become my life, and it was only after taking the following steps that I “came back to myself” and started loving my job…and my life…again.

Make your “Me Time” as important as the pediatrician’s visit or the conference call, and treat it just like any other appointment. For your mental, physical, and psychological well-being, you sometimes just need to stop and do something for yourself. Turn off your iPhone every night, even if just for 10 minutes. Read a magazine or a book that has nothing to do with your profession. Get a massage or a pedicure. Let your family know you’ll be making some time for yourself this month. Gradually, you’ll notice that the email response can wait; the call doesn’t have to be returned immediately and your family likes the way you look and act after your alone time.

Your own exercise routine is just as important as your clients. Schedule a workout outside the studio or gym too. Go running, take a Spinning® class, play tennis, hike, whatever…just make a commitment, like scheduling an appointment with a personal trainer, and get out of the studio and exercise. Cross training is important not just physically, but also mentally. Not only it will keep you fit, but it will remind you what it’s like to be a client again – and you’ll appreciate the energy being put into you, rather than you giving out all the time. It will also keep you from growing stale in your thinking – and your clients will appreciate this too.

Training your clients to clean up after themselves, changing their own weights or springs during sessions, and showing up on time are important. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself bending over more than 100 times per shift, which is not a habit you’ll want to get into. Not only are the above habits better for your body, they will also stop you feeling resentment towards your clients if you end up feeling physically poor. And it’s likely that your clients are more than happy to help.

The most important thing you can do in order to avoid burnout is know your limits.  if we cut back on clients we automatically think we will make less money. However cutting back will give you more energy and  greater joy in your career again, and in the long run you will make more money because when the supply is low, demand is high. After my 5th client in a row, I have very little energy left. I want to give to my 6th client as much energy as I gave the previous ones, but realistically it’s not going to happen. Plan breaks to eat and to re-energize. Take a quick 15-20 minute walk, Or eat something nutritious and you won’t feel like snapping that 6th or 7th client in half like a twig.

It’s important to remember that nobody likes a grumpy teacher. Creating a healthy work–life balance is the key to maintaining a satisfying and successful career. Making yourself a priority enables you to generate energy, enthusiasm and passion for what you do as a professional.

Love your life, and love what you do for a living. And with that in mind, go forth and have a truly fabulous career.




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