I recently had a client tell me that after working out, they never feel like they gain energy, only drain it.
"I do not relate to all those people who tell you that they can feel their endorphins flowing."
So why is this?
Even though exercise does help with energy levels, there are other factors that can get in the way.
Stress, sleep, and nutrition are three common ones.
Maybe you’re juggling a busy job, a family (and everything that goes with it) and more. And that can definitely be stressful!
Exercise is effective for stress management for many people, but it’s important to remember that exercise is putting the body under stress to help it grow in muscle mass and cardio capacity. So if you feel like it’s making you more tired, you might need to make some changes! For example:
Make it enjoyable – For any workout routine to be sustainable, you have to find joy in your workouts! If you’re feeling a sense of dread before each workout, that could be the reason you're tired and drained.
Make it social – Being successful in a job, or being a parent can be so isolating. Try working out with a friend, get a friend to join a live class with you, or even start a challenge.
Make modifications – Sometimes you need to take a break the high impact workouts and make modifications. Adjust jumps and fast paced exercises to be slower and more methodical. You're still moving your body, but you’re not pushing and exhausting an already stressed out body.
Add a solo walk into your rest day(s) with your favorite playlist or podcast. It'll give you a chance to step away and breathe some fresh air (don't forget the sunscreen).
Your body might be asking for rest – Set aside 30-40 minutes every day. Try working out 4 or 5 days a week, and keep those 30-40 minutes on the other days for YOU. Do something you struggle to find time to do.
Even if you’re getting yourself in bed at the right time to get enough sleep, unfortunately, it won’t do you any good if you’re not getting quality sleep.
It's difficult when you have a lot on your mind. Try to stay off your phone and/or computer an hour before bedtime, and incorporate a way to decompress into your bedtime routine. Read a book, meditate, stretch, journal, or just take 5 minutes to breathe deeply. And if sleep is a long standing battle, consider talking with your doctor about how to improve sleep!
Nutrition and Hydration
Finally, the other big factor – nutrition. If you're someone who takes care of everyone else first (parents), sometimes that leaves you surviving off bits of leftovers, skipping meals, or grabbing whatever is convenient.
So when being honest about your nutrition, are you eating enough? Consistent meals that include carbs, protein, and healthy fats are SOOO important for maintaining your energy levels.
Are you drinking enough water? Being busy makes it easy to forget to drink during the day! And dehydration will definitely drain your energy levels.
Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out for more help.
If it feels like nothing is helping you escape your exhaustion, talk to your doctor. They can help you rule out or manage other causes like hormonal issues or vitamin/mineral deficiencies. Whatever weight you feel weighing on you, physically or mentally, finding someone to talk to is important; this isn’t something you have to deal with alone.