Is It Normal To Feel Depressed After A Workout?

sad lifter
July 4, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “is it normal to feel depressed after a workout?”. This is a question that some people will have asked themselves.

Not everyone feels depressed after a workout, but many people do experience this. In this article I will explore this topic in greater detail and present some useful insights and anecdotes.

Is It Normal To Feel Depressed After A Workout?

Most people don’t feel depressed after working out. However, some people do and it is a common experience for them.

In my own experiences I have felt depressed after a workout on occasion. Workouts that are very long and intense can often drain you physically and emotionally.

You have little energy afterwards and this can result in mood changes. If you are feeling depressed for very long periods after working out then it could be that you actually suffer from serious depression.

You would need to seek medical help to alleviate your depression, or open up to others about how you are feeling. Having a strong social support system and good relationships can reduce the likelihood of getting depressed.

Another cause of depression after workouts could pertain to the standards that you set for yourself. If you have very high standards then you could often find yourself falling short of those in your workouts.

Beating yourself up about missing lifts or not making enough progress can result in depression. Learning to enjoy the process and finding fulfilment from working out will help to alleviate depressive thoughts.

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Depression Isn’t The Most Common Response 

Working out in general is one of the best things you can do for overcoming depressive thoughts and improving your wellbeing. So it isn’t very common for people to feel depressed after working out.

Normally after a workout you will feel invigorated and proud of yourself. Every workout you do you are improving yourself physically and emotionally. 

Exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel better about yourself. Working out regularly and eating healthy are positive self care steps. Having a better body helps to improve your self image and should alleviate depression. 

Some Individuals Can Feel Depressed After Exercise

It is important to be aware of the fact that some people do experience depression regularly after workouts. If it is happening often then it means that there is an underlying issue causing the depressive states.

Maybe you have focused on fitness for many years and have made great progress, but have started to lose interest in working out. It could be that you have great fitness but you feel insecure about other areas of your life.

If your finances or relationships are lacking, this could cause you to feel more depressed after working out. Exercise can be a temporary relief when you are in severe depressive states. After you have finished exercising, you could be flooded with the same negative thoughts again.

If there is an underlying cause behind your depression, you should do what you can to work on the areas that are making you unhappy. You may need to seek professional help in order to resolve internal conflicts that you have.

Intense Workouts

Long and arduous workouts can often tire you out physically and emotionally. Your mood can change for a short period after these workouts and you can enter into depressive states.

This does happen to some people who incorporate very long and intense workouts into their routine. I train full body and my full body workouts are long and intense.

I sometimes find myself emotionally drained after these workouts and my mood can shift. However, this change in mood is normally short-lived. After some time has elapsed you will return to a more calmer state of mind.


Anyone who has ever lifted weights for a significant length of time will have experienced injuries. Some injuries are worse than others, but they are not fun.

If you experience an injury during a workout, you can often feel depressed afterwards. My most recent injury in the gym was when I hurt my lower back doing hack squats.

I was pushing for more reps even though the weight was moving very slow, I hurt my back on the last rep. After this session I was depressed for a few days, it took about two weeks to recover from that injury.

Hopefully, you are not experiencing injuries in every workout! For most people, injuries from working out happen once in a while and are not usually too serious.

Previously I have discussed whether long term injuries from lifting are inevitable.

Constant Depression After Workouts

If you are constantly feeling depressed and depleted after workouts you may need to investigate your hormone levels. It could be that your testosterone levels are low and could benefit from TRT therapy.

You should also consider seeing a healthcare professional if you are unable to resolve your depression. In general, exercise will boost your wellbeing and be a net positive in your life.

If you are struggling with depression on an ongoing basis, even with a consistent exercise routine, then you need to investigate this issue further to resolve it. At the end of the day, a healthy body and mind will ensure that you have the best quality of life possible.

A.J Morris Anecdote

I thought it would be good to share A.J Morris’s story relating to depression after working out. His story is very interesting and he makes some thought provoking points.

He mentions feeling pumped up and energetic in the gym, ready to move heavy weights. After a good workout, sometimes he can feel sad even though he achieved a lot in the workout.

Having lofty goals and not feeling happy when you achieve them can set you up for depression. AJ says that achievement doesn’t get people as fired up as failure. This is true to some degree. 

People are usually a lot more hungry after a failure and have a point to prove. When things are going well and you are achieving things, sometimes you don’t really appreciate and celebrate the success that you have had.

This is why it is very important to celebrate and acknowledge small successes. 

Final Thoughts

Is it normal to feel depressed after a workout? Most people don’t feel depressed after a workout. They feel energised and proud of themselves.

However, there are people who respond in different ways. After intense workouts some people can get depressed for short periods. Others could be burnt out and losing motivation.

It is also possible to have very good workouts but not celebrate or acknowledge your achievements. This can also set you up for depression. If you are suffering from depression regularly after working out, it could be that something else in your life is causing these feelings.

Maybe your career isn’t going as well as you would like or you are feeling very isolated. You should step back and figure out what is getting you down. If you can’t resolve it yourself then you should seek professional help.

Exercise can help to improve your wellbeing. We all deserve to be happy, if you are feeling very sad then you need to figure out how to be happier. 

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