Do you ever feel like you've been run over by a train? You feel fatigued and can't concentrate, and as if that wasn't enough, you feel a headache creeping up on you? The worst part though: You just recently decided to become healthier! You started lifting weights, added some cardio to your weekly routine, and pronounced pizza the source of all evil! And now this! What happened?
Here are three possible reasons for your low energy levels:
"You can sleep when you're dead", "The 5 am club", or "If you want to succeed you have to make sacrifices". We've all heard these or similar expressions before. And while it is true that you have to make sacrifices when you want to reach your fitness goals, sleep should never be one of those sacrifices. Your body needs sleep to recover from strenuous workouts and your brain needs sleep to be able to focus.
On average, an adult requires about 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep time to reap all the benefits of a good night's sleep. So if you are constantly feeling tired and fatigued, take an honest look at your daily habits when it comes to sleep.
Here a few tips that might help you get better rest at night:
- Instead of watching TV at night, read a good book or meditate
- Have a notebook and pen on your nightstand
- Reduce your caffeine and alcohol intake
For more tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep click here.
Overtraining / Under-recovering
If you've been training regularly for a while now and all of a sudden you feel tired and fatigued, it might be worth checking if you are giving your body enough time to recover. You know how it is: you have a goal, you get super excited about it, and you give it 100%. And that's awesome!
However, in order to be able to reach sustainable results, we need to make sure that our bodies get a little break once in a while. Just like your workouts, recovery days should be planned into your weekly schedule as well.
This doesn't mean you have to spend a full day on the couch twice a week. How about some active recovery time like a light walk outside, some play time with the children (or the dog), or a dip in the pool?
You are sleeping well, you are giving your body enough time to recover between workouts, but you still feel kind of groggy? It might be time to take a look at your nutrition. Especially if you just recently transitioned to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you might be lacking some important vitamins and nutrients.
But Jen, they told me being vegan is much healthier for me and now you're saying I'm missing vitamins? WTH??
Hear me out on this one! We as humans tend to be a little lazy sometimes. So when we are trying to eat healthier, our first instinct is often to cut out foods we perceive as "unhealthy" (processed foods, red meat, or dairy come to mind). And that's great! But that should only be the first step.
Now that you cut out the bad stuff you need to replace it with some healthy alternatives. Simply getting rid of certain food groups doesn't make you healthy. You need to make sure you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs.
Low iron, low vitamin D, or Vitamin B12 levels (and others) can be a cause of low energy. If a vegan or vegetarian diet is new to you, it can be challenging to get all the nutrients you need, simply because we are creatures of habit. Most of us eat the same foods day in and day out. If one of your daily staples was a piece of chicken you might be left with a big hole on your plate wondering "what now?".
Make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of different fruits and veggies, as well as plenty of beans, legumes, healthy fats, and some grains. If you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to start, go ahead and download Karina's vegan grocery list. It will give you plenty of ideas for how to fill your plate with healthy, nutritious, vegan food!
Living a healthy life with lots of energy requires not only regular physical activity but also plenty of sleep, time for recovery, and a well-balanced diet. Small changes over time will help you create healthier habits that are sustainable and lead to a fulfilled life with plenty of energy.
About the Author
Jennifer is a personal fitness trainer and mindset coach from Miami who offers in-person training and online coaching. With a background in Social Psychology and Educational Science, she focuses on providing a holistic approach to health and fitness to help women become happier, healthier, and more confident. When she is not working Jennifer enjoys traveling, good food, and outdoor activities. You can connect with her on Facebook and visit her website for more info.
Download Karina's 350-item vegan grocery list!
Need inspiration for healthy plant-based eating? Need to spice up your daily meal routine? Download your free vegan grocery list! With more than 350 healthy items (some of which might be new to you), you'll be a vegan nutrition superhero in no time.