8 reasons why your energy is low
Posted on 6th March 2021 at 08:27
I think an often overlooked aspect of our progress is having poor energy. There's nothing worse than having poor energy, right?
New clients come to me often with this daily problem, for no fault of their own, but from years and years of poor habits, behaviors, food choices and lack of exercise.
No wonder you're struggling with day to day motivation to get stuck into your goals.
It's one of the biggest contributors to poor adherence to a plan. Who wants to get up at 5am to go train when all you can think about is that extra hour in bed? We've all been there, especially when your dogs are running around the bedroom at 1am!
Let's get stuck in.
A stressful situation can mean a numerous amount of things — whether something environmental, such as a job/work issues, or psychological, such as constant worry about losing a job, or the current climate for instance. These can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-organised physiological changes. A stressful incident can make the heart pound and breathing quicken. Muscles tense and beads of sweat appear.
This process can actually be well known as the 'fight or flight' response. This particularly well organised sequence of hormonal changes help someone to fight off the threat and flee to safety. We often find our day to day triggers can be somewhat less life threatening such as family events, work life, exercise, poor sleep etc. However, it still makes a huge impact on our day to day energy, motivation, discipline and so on.
We understand being in a stressful state not only can hinder progress, it's also been shown to indirectly be responsible for obesity. This doesn't mean it's the direct causation, however contributes towards other factors that will cause obesity such as low energy output, low NEAT, poor food choices; typically calorie dense and nutrient scarce, poor sleep and much more. The more we allow stress to get on top of us, the more chance we have of poor lifestyle habits and behaviors.
The idea is you need to look at what stress you can ditch straight away. The self inflicted stuff. This could be poor time management resulting in running around like a busy fool, it could be eliminating who you follow and listen to on a daily basis who really don't compliment your outlook. These are triggers that realistically we can control and get rid of.
The other types of stress which we have to look at 'managing' could be the environment we're in. Family and personal life, work and job, societal, anxiety and worry. There are amazing techniques and interventions you can implement right away to start taking control back of these certain areas.
JOURNALLING: A fantastic way to de clutter your headspace. I perform so much better when my head is clear and I've journalled for the day and in the evening before bed. It's so important to allow paper to take the wrath of our thoughts; you'll be shocked at how far that can go. Try it this evening, bullet point 3 things you've enjoyed about your day; 3 things that have gone well and 3 things that you've struggled with. See how you feel going to bed and how you wake up!
BREATHING TECHNIQUES: I perform this at least 3 x per day. First thing in the AM before I start any of my tasks, during the day when I'm deep into my work and struggling with concentration and before bed. Headspace app is a perfect way to guide you through this. Many of our clients utilise these processes on a daily basis to help them with their own daily stressors. Give it a go!
TALKING: Do we really do this as often as we should? Feel like a burden on the people you're talking to? Feel like it's all you do? I'll be honest, the way you go about the conversations could possibly be changed. Instead of focussing on the negatives you're feeling. Instead talk to these people about what positives you've found instead. Sometimes this is truly difficult as how can you find the good in so much bad sometimes? However, you'll be shocked!
EXERCISE AND MOVEMENT: Pretty simple really. 20 minutes of activity WILL go a long way. Look to build it within your routine, where it can fit, make it non negotiable and use temptation bundling to start with to get you into the habit. I wanted to implement early morning exercise into my routines before I started with my 5.30am clients. This would mean getting up at 3.45am to be ready to train for 4.30. In the beginning I would perhaps get it done 1 maybe 2 x per week because the habit wasn't there. I didn't see any instant reward from doing this so I started to make it more desirable by tempting myself with other habits I enjoy doing. This could have been eating my favourite bagel with toppings on that I look forward to eating.
TRY SAYING THIS; 'IF I exercise in the morning before I start my work, THEN I will have a bagel with nutella and biscoff spread on' You are using a rewarding circumstance and coupling it with the habit you want to create. If you don't exercise, then no bagel. But please don't mistake this for treating yourself like a dog and rewarding yourself with food. The temptation bundling will soon diminish and you'll be exercising without the bundling aspects. Give it a go!
OVER TRAINING AND DOING TOO MUCH
Have you ever got to the end of the week and just gone 'WOW, that was tough'?
Now don't get me wrong, you have to be doing A LOT of exercise and training to get into the realms of 'over training' however due to the contribution of many factors, restricted calories, lifestyle stressors, work stressors, poor sleep, exercise selection. It's quite easy to pivot over to the realm of 'doing too much' and lack of down time. It's quite simple really. We all want to be on top of our game and why shouldn't you. But I'll be honest, my best days come from when I've had a chance to relax, unwind and do something for me. I make sure every Sunday from 1/2pm onwards I switch off from everything. No work interaction, no emails. Not because I hate what I do, far from it; but quite simply I need a break from it to then be my best when it comes to Monday.
It's ok to take some time away from your training and daily routines. Don't fancy training one day? Don't do it. Fancy a sit down with a brew and scrolling on your phone? Do it.
There's almost an element of we have to be 'doing' every minute of every day when quite frankly, we don't. My life got really good when I lowered my expectations of what I thought others were thinking I was doing. Who cares what I'm doing and who cares what people think I'm doing?
Poor nutrient intake we all know contributes to a lot of our day to day functions. We don't often see it straight away, but on some occasions we do. Tell me one occasion you felt good after you'd eaten a calorie dense, low nutrient based meal? Wanted to go get 10k steps in and train like a boss? Did you sleep well that night and how did you wake up? A bit groggy, tired, lethargic and dry mouth? (Sounds like a gange over tbh haha)
Now you're adults, you don't need coach Longbott to tell you to eat your greens, fruits and improve your food quality. It's something I'll be honest that we should all aim to have some form of discipline towards over a period of time. It's not pretty, it's not that great, but it can be, you can create daily fruity smoothies, you can roast your veggies with honey on, you can make soups, you can try different recipe ideas for food varieties. It doesn't have to be as simple as chicken broccoli and rice, remember that.
Another avenue you could explore is vitamin intake however due to not being a registered dietician or nutritionist, I won't be advising on those things. Just use google.
Booooooring.... 1 conversation that always comes up in consultations is 'I don't drink enough water I know it - it makes me go pee a lot'. Step 1 today. Increase water intake by 250/500ml. Good luck!
TOO MUCH CAFFEINE AND SUGAR:
'Bore of longbott'
Hear me out you melons.... It's very very true. They are contributing factors towards playing around with day to day energy levels. They are stimulants. What happens when they wear off? We down regulate. Quite simple. That doesn't mean avoid them, s*** i couldn't do without them. It just means perhaps balance out the amount you're having, at certain points in the day. Sugar may be more favourable in and around your training windows, as with caffeine, and limiting caffeine after 2/3pm will also work wonders for your sleep. Give it a go! See if it helps.
SITTING AROUND TOO MUCH, NOT MOVING:
It's very very true, the less we do, the less we want to do. Am I right?
I know full well If im balls deep into my work there's a fat chance I won't go train later in the day. Take a look at where you can prioritize your movement on a daily basis. I get it, you're busy and you don't have time. I've used this excuse before and i'll be transparent, it will take some time to get the routine right. I'm into my 3rd year of business and I can say I'm probably just settling into my routines now. Take some time to look at where you can improve this area of your life.
I have articles and posts galore about sleep, we even have written sleep management guides you can download. Ask us for more details on this!
CALORIE INTAKE IS TOO LOW:
This is a catch 22. You want to see results in a timely fashion, but you also want to feel good on a daily basis. You can and should have both. Theres a fine balance behind what sort of calorie intake you should be looking at, enough to start bringing body fat down, but also enough to prioritize exercise performance and energy. Start as high as possible with calories. Measure the non negotiables weekly and assess what needs moving. Assess your sleep, day to day energy, hunger and appetite and keep a journal about it all. The more data you collect, the more you can manage.
If this helped in anyway, please let us know!
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