It’s really hard to get in a good workout when you’re low on energy. Frankly it’s hard to do just about anything when you’re low on energy. That includes eating well.
Feeling good is a big reason why many people decide to lose weight and get healthy. Instead of providing a list of ways to boost your energy, I think it’s important that we first discuss possible causes of low energy.
Research shows that tiredness is a symptom for a wide variety of different conditions. Here’s the common ones that you can fix:
- low carbohydrate intake
- nutrient deficient – iron, magnesium or other
- poor sleep
- excess weight
Here’s a few medical causes of fatigue that require a doctor:
- kidney disease
Before heading straight to the doctor, are there any that you can address? Sit down and take a long second to think about it. How much red meat and leafy greens do you eat? Do you drink enough water? How much stress are you dealing with right now?
If you’re under a lot of stress, it takes a toll on your body in different ways. So examine why you’re under stress and what you can do to fix it. Can you plan projects better? Can you say no to anything to give you more time to complete tasks? Are there any activities that help you relieve stress?
Experiment to find out what works for you.
Low carb diet
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy. If you’re cutting them out, it will definitely cause tiredness and fatigue. Your body can get adapt and get used to it. Until then, you’ll have to struggle through.
I recommend that you examine why you need to eat such low carbohydrates. Yes, it is an effective way to cut out calories but it isn’t that necessary. Be sure to eat a moderate amount of carbs before and after workouts (about 20 grams) so that your muscles have the fuel they need to rebuild. If your muscles feel sluggish at all, then you need to bump up your carb intake.
Poor nutrient intake
It’s crazy to think that the United States is overfed yet undernourished. But even with a balanced diet, it’s entirely possible that your short on essential nutrients.
Try varying your diet and eating more red meat, leafy dark greens and seafood. Being under on your Iron, Magnesium and Omega-3s can definitely contribute to sluggishness. You can also try taking a magnesium supplement before bed to help you sleep better.
Even if you feel like you’re sleeping fine, it’s totally possible that you aren’t getting enough of certain kinds of sleep that contribute to a well-rested you. Try turning off electronics an hour before bed time since the blue light tricks your brain in to thinking it needs to stay awake.
Make sure that you eat a good dinner and don’t go to bed super hungry. Having a small protein or fat based snack can help you fall and stay asleep.
According to WebMD, a lot of people who complain of fatigue are actually just dehydrated. They recommend drink eight glasses of water per day.
I say, fill a gallon jug and see how much you can drink! There’s a lot of factors that can contribute to dehydration such as menstrual cycle, workouts, tiredness, medications or summer weather. Drinking a gallon of water per day can also help increase your metabolism and prevent you from eating when you’re actually thirsty. So drink up!
If none of the above applies to you, then try these tips that can help the occasional tiredness. If you’re consistently low on energy and none of the above help, then it might be time to get some blood work done to ensure you don’t have an undiagnosed medical condition.
Tips to increase energy levels
- Walk around the block. Even though you’re tired, increasing physical activity, specifically a brisk walk, increases energy.
- Take a power nap. When you’re hard a work, you can feel exhausted just from working your brain. A short power nap can restore you to your previous energy levels.
- Don’t skip meals. Eating breakfast and lunch give you the energy you need for the day.
- Eat less sugar. I’m sure you already know that sugars cause huge insulin spikes and drops which can leave you feeling wiped out. Skipping sugar in favor of whole grains and starchy vegetables will provide you with consistent energy levels.
- Power snack. Pair protein with fat and fiber for a filling and brain boosting snack. Turkey, carrots and hummus or yogurt and nuts are a great option because the carbs give you a quick pick-me up, the protein gives you energy and the fats make the energy last.
- Upgrade your coffee. Drinking black coffee can give you a stomach ache and a hard-to-concentrate high. Instead, take your caffeine shot with nuts or make it a latte to let the caffeine last longer.
- Eat the right combination. For most meals, you should pair protein with a fat and a carb. Two examples include steak, sautéed veggies and a small baked potato or a green salad with chicken and avocado.
- Don’t skip fat. Fats are required to absorb essential vitamins. Don’t skip out on olive oil, avocado, nut butter, and flax. Or bacon.
- Take your multi at lunch. If you take a multivitamin regularly, start taking it at lunch so you get the added energy from B12 during the normal afternoon slump.
- Avoid rich foods. Meals that are very high in fat or carbs, like a cheeseburger or pasta, can put you in a food coma. A lighter lunch like a salad packed with protein will prevent the post lunch sleepiness and keep you going through the day.
- Spend a few minutes outdoors. Sunshine boosts vitamin D levels which play a role in sustaining energy.
- Avoid alcohol right before bed. Alcohol interferes with your rest, so make sure to have the ONE glass of wine at least two hours before bedtime.
- Socialize. Hitting up the water cooler midday is a great pick-me-up for your tired mind. Take a few minutes to chat, refresh your brain, then return to work.
- Take some deep breaths. Breathing re-energizes your brain. So take a few minutes to stretch your arms, legs and back then breathe deeply through your nose a few times.
- Exercise. You might not feel like it, but you’ll feel better afterwards. Get your blood pumping and use your muscles to increase energy.
- Workout in the morning. You’ll have energy that lasts throughout the day instead of dragging yourself to the gym after work. Get the endorphins going to keep you happy and energized.