Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Kung Fu vs. Burnout


No one is going to care about this except me, but I made it to the kung fu studio 19 times in March, for a total of 24 classes. This far exceeds all of my previous attendance records. (There was one month when I only went four times… Yikes!)

Burnout is definitely an issue. When I go five times a week, it can feel a little oppressive, like I’m trapped by my class schedule. I don’t get to eat regular dinners, I’m constantly showering and doing laundry, and I’m forever dealing with bruises and sore muscles (which leads to a lot of groaning and limping around the apartment).

On the other hand, going every night reinforces habit. In many ways, it’s actually easier to go every night than to go two or three times a week. There is no internal debate — Do I go or do I skip? — the body, mind, and spirit are already on board, or at least resigned, to getting in the car and driving to class. Habit is a powerful, amazing, kind of terrifying thing.

There’s also the mental aspect of class, the intense group learning environment. Remembering dozens of forms and techniques on top of trying to pick up new moves and execute them immediately can be extremely stressful…despite how much I love doing it. The Mind and Spirit are often taxed and tested just as much as the Body. That’s a whole different way I can experience burnout.

For you folks who workout — in any capacity — how do you deal with burnout? Is it even an issue for you? What’s your ideal number of workouts a week?

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • I only work out 3 times a week, and in my own flat, so traveling is not an issue. If I had to go to a gym, I would never ever work out. I'm just so lazy that way, plus all the other issues in my town, like finding parking etc. At least twice a year I blow off working out because of work demand or burn out. I've been back to working out for 2 weeks now, but I took off 5 weeks previously. I hadn't done that in a couple years. Normally I just take 2 weeks off. I decided that life is too short to be too rigid about it. Your body and mind send signals all the time and I can tell when I need a break vs. just being lame. So I don't let it get to me about slacking if I think I really need it. I know what you mean about inertia though, hard to allow yourself to stop, and hard to get back in the saddle after time off (oh the pain!). Just be honest with yourself about why you are/aren't taking a break. I do the same thing with my life drawing, especially now that I'm doing 2 sessions a week instead of just one.

  • Hey Mike!

    If I was only working out at home, I'd never do it! I need the pressure of an external commitment to stay motivated. (Also, kung fu is fun!) But basically, I'm thinking I need a new attitude. I blow off working out way more than just twice a year. I'm a total wimp! But you're right about listening — I think that's the key. I'm just not good at figuring out when I'm trying to trick myself yet.

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

Newsletter Signup