According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout “is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.”
All sorts of jobs in all sorts of industries bring their own risks of potential burnout, including personal training.
“Depending on a trainer’s client load, meetings and business processes, and keeping up with the latest education and professional development, it can be exhausting,” said Nathan Capuchino, the senior general manager of Active Wellness. “Couple this with a trainer’s own health and fitness regimen, and it’s easy to see burnout can take place much more quickly than you might think.”
Just as your club educates its membership base on the importance of proper health and fitness, it’s also important to educate your training staff on how to take care of themselves to prevent job burnout.
“Fitness and wellness professionals spend so much time educating others about the potential issues that come with burnout that we often forget to reflect and do the same for ourselves,” said Capuchino. “In-house education and awareness on burning out at work is a great resource to maintain in the facility. Management and leaders should also be on the lookout for anyone who appears to be exhibiting signs of job burnout.”
What are signs a trainer is overextending themselves? According to Capuchino, things to look for include:
- Fatigue while at work.
- Neglecting aspects of their duties as trainers.
- Trouble remembering programs for various clients or issues speaking in a manner that maintains their rapport with clients.
- Not having the spark of happy customer service.
To prevent trainer burnout at your facility, Capuchino shared the following advice: “Make sure your staff does not work outside of their scheduled hours unless otherwise approved or necessary. Once a trainer clocks out for the day, they should not be taking work home with them to help maintain a proper work/life balance.”
Capuchino also advised maintaining a small budget for team recognition, such as gift cards to a favorite coffee shop. “It’s also important to check in with each trainer daily — even informally — to ask how they are doing and how you can support them to ensure burnout does not take place,” he added.
And as easy as it is to neglect doing so, don’t forget to look inward as well.
“Never get so caught up in the health and wellness of others that you forget to do so for yourself,” said Capuchino. “Always remember to take care of yourself. If you are not in the proper state to help yourself, you won’t be in a mindset to help those around you.”