How to Feel Less Sluggish During Your Workout
Do you ever have days where you feel too exhausted to exercise or just feel slow and sluggish during your workout? Occasionally feeling a little slow and sleepy during your regular exercise routine is normal; however, if fatigue and sluggishness is something you struggle with more regularly, try changing your routine to help you have a little more energy for your workouts. Your diet, sleeping patterns and overall exercise patterns will determine how much energy you have to stay active. In addition, there are some tips and tricks to give your body and mind a little boost of energy right before your workout. Try making a variety of changes and see if you can feel less sluggish and more energized during your workouts.
Maintaining Energy Levels During Exercise
Have a snack before your workout.If you're in need of a little jolt of energy before your workout, consider having a snack before you head out. This can help give your body energy to begin and finish your workout.
- Having a pre-workout snack is essential if you need that boost of energy or are planning on being active for over 45 minutes at a time.
- In addition, this snack needs to be primarily simple carbohydrates. These break down quickly in your body and turn to usable energy quickly. Mix these with a protein or more complex carbs to keep the fuel supply available longer.
- Try: smoothie with greek yogurt and fruit, a slice of whole grain toast with jam, a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit, a small yogurt with fruit, or an apple with peanut butter.
- Plan to have 100–200 calories before you work out. This will give you the energy that you need to have a strong workout.
Grab a cup of coffee.A little jolt of caffeine is great to get your morning started or push you through an afternoon slump at work. Drinking a quick cup of joe may also give you a little boost of energy to start your workout.
- The caffeine in coffee (and even in tea) is a stimulant. It can help give you energy, make you more alert and improve concentration.
- People who drink coffee often have better circulation in the short-term. This helps your body circulate nutrients and oxygen more efficiently during exercise.
- Consider drinking a small cup of coffee before your exercise routine; however, the rest of the day should still be made up of mostly water in order to keep your body hydrated.
- Roughly 400 mg is the limit on the amount of caffeine that an adult should consume in a day. This is approximately four cups of brewed coffee.
Listen to upbeat music.Listening to music doesn't just help pass the time as you chug away on the treadmill or elliptical. Listening to music, especially upbeat and motivational tunes, can help you feel a little more energized during your workout sessions.
- Many studies have been done on exercise and music. They have shown that those who listen to music needed less oxygen during exercise and were able to exercise longer compared to those who weren't listening to music.
- In order to get music to improve your energy level, you need to be choosy about what you're listening to. Classical music probably won't stimulate your energy. Find tunes that match your pace or rhythm.
- Listen to a radio station, download music on your smartphone or consider using a music/fitness app. This can help you stay in tune with music and keep you going during your workout.
Try higher intensity exercises.Another exercise option you can do to increase your energy level is doing high-intensity exercises. These heart pumping exercises can help wake you up quickly.
- High-intensity exercises are those that require close to maximal level of effort.Regardless of how sluggish you were feeling prior to your exercise routine, the sharp increase in intensity or activity level can help wake you up.
- The other benefit of high-intensity exercises is that you do not have to do them as long as more moderate-intensity exercises. In fact, you can cut your workout time in half if you are doing higher-intensity exercises.This is a great idea if you're feeling tired or don't have a lot of energy while you're exercising.
- Jogging, running, jumping rope, swimming laps, playing sports or hiking up hill are all examples of more intense activities.
Go for intervals or circuit training.If you're feeling a little mentally sluggish during your exercise, try including more intervals or circuit training. This constant change in your exercise can help keep you more mentally alert.
- Interval and circuit training are a type of exercise that alternates between a few different activities. It's a perfect way to beat boredom and to pep you up during your normal exercise time.
- If you're feeling sluggish, try doing a quick interval or circuit training routine. Alternate between high and moderate intensity aerobics and fit in some strength training.
Preventing Fatigue During Exercise
Stay hydrated during the day.Drinking adequate fluids is essential to staying alert and energized before and during your workout. Drink enough both during the day and during your workout to prevent sluggishness.
- If you're not adequately hydrated during the day, especially right before your normal exercise routine, it's normal to feel tired and sluggish. Signs of dehydration include fatigue, dark colored urine, thirst, and headaches.
- If you're dehydrated, your body may feel weak and tired. In addition, you might find it hard to complete your workout.
- Most health professionals recommend consuming at least eight 8-ounce (236-ml) glasses of water daily; however, depending on your age, gender and activity level, you may need more than 10 glasses daily.
Get enough sleep.Sleep and exercise have a unique relationship. Without adequate sleep, you'll feel more fatigued during your workouts; however, if you don't work out regularly, you may have poorer quality sleep.
- If you're not getting adequate sleep, your body doesn't have time to refuel and recover. Over time, this could lead to fatigue and sluggishness in your workouts.
- In addition, it's during rest that your body develops the most gains. You'll see better improvements in muscle mass and endurance with proper rest.
- It's recommended that most adults get about seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you're not currently meeting this guideline, it's time to go to bed earlier or wake up later.
- Try and practice good sleep hygiene. This means getting up and going to bed at the same time each night and making the bedroom a restful peaceful place.
Maintain a balanced diet.Your diet also plays a huge role in whether or not you're feeling sluggish during your workout routine. Following a well-balanced and nutritious diet will help fuel you through your workouts.
- A well-balanced diet includes foods from every food group each day. In addition, it includes a large variety of foods from within each food group during the week.
- When your diet is unbalanced (like if you're following a low-carb diet) or have a poor diet in general, your body and energy levels will suffer. It's difficult for your body to push through a workout when it's lacking in one or more nutrients.
- If you've been feeling sluggish during your workout, think back to how you've been eating lately. Are you getting in enough fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains? If not, make sure to clean up your diet and you'll see improved energy levels.
- If you are trying to lose weight and exercise you should not go below 1,200 calories a day without being under the supervision of a doctor.
Consider changing the time of your workout.Most people either work out early in the morning or hit the gym after work. If you're not feeling energized for your workouts, consider changing the time of day you're exercising.
- Studies have shown that a variety of factors affect your energy levels during exercise. Body temperature and circadian rhythm play a big role in when your body is feeling energized and when it's more sleepy and sluggish.
- Body temperature is higher in the afternoon after your body has warmed up. Studies have shown that with a warmer body temperature, your performance improves.
- However, some people experience more energy in the morning due to their circadian rhythm and sleep cycle.
- If you're a morning person, but are feeling sleepy, try waiting until the afternoon to do your workout. If you're an after work exerciser, switch to the mornings to see if that works better.
- Experts say the morning is the best time to exercise, but you should follow you body clock to see what is the best time for you.
Slow down if you're feeling under the weather.The occasional cold, runny nose or cough can cause you to feel more tired and sluggish during your workout. Play it safe and listen to your body to decide whether or not you should push through your workouts when you're sick.
- Most health professionals say that light to moderate exercise is OK for your average cold or runny nose. In fact, studies have shown that exercise can help open up nasal passageways and decrease nasal congestion.
- However, if you have a more serious cold or the flu, you need to stay home and probably stay in bed until you're feeling better. In addition, its not recommended to exercise if you have symptoms "below the head" like a cough, chest congestion or an upset stomach.
- Exercise requires your body to exert energy. This is energy being diverted away from healing your body and recovering from whatever illness you have.
Talk to your doctor.If you continuously feel sluggish regardless of what changes you've made to your diet or lifestyle, consider talking to your doctor. Chronic fatigue and lack of energy isn't considered normal.
- Talk to your doctor about any medications or supplements that you're currently taking. Many prescription medications and other supplements make you feel more groggy, sleepy, fatigued or sluggish.
- There are some medications available that will stimulate your metabolism and increase your energy and weight loss but you need to be evaluated by a doctor to see if you are a candidate.
- Also consider getting bloodwork done. For example, if you've had issues with anemia, you will feel sluggish and fatigued consistently. You'll need to get bloodwork done to confirm any issues and to begin treatment.
- Thyroid issues may also be the cause of your fatigue and sluggishness. Bring this up with your physician as well.
Taking an Occasional Rest Day
Schedule in one to two rest days weekly.Your body will let you know when its time for a break. So if you're feeling sluggish lately at the gym or during your workout, it might be time for a rest day.
- Most health and fitness professionals recommend that you include one or two rest days each week. You can still include a large amount of training during the other days, but allow your body time to rest adequately.
- If you notice you're a little more sluggish, think back over the last week or two. Have you been hitting the gym hard? Have you been overly active everyday? Has there been one day where you've relaxed?
- If you think it's time for a rest day, take a day off. Avoid the gym, don't go for a run and skip your spin class. You should, however, try to keep your body moving, even on rest days. Try a leisurely walk, gardening, tai chi, or a restorative yoga class, which can provide the same benefits as sleeping.
Become familiar with signs of overtraining.If you don't allow your body adequate rest, you can cause more damage than good.Schedule in rest days to avoid injuries and other issues. Look out for signs of overtraining like:
- Increased resting heart rate
- Increased and nagging muscle soreness
- Moodiness and depression
- Increased sickness and colds
- Loss of concentration
- Constant fatigue and sluggishness
Consider outside stressors.In addition to making sure you're eating well and drinking enough fluids, there are some outside stressors that can make you feel more sluggish during your workouts.
- If you have a significant amount of stress going on in your life, you may want to use exercise to help you relax and let off steam; however, chronic stress can make you feel more tired and sleepy — even during those stress-busting workouts.
- For women, during menstruation, you may notice increased fatigue as well. This is normal as your body goes through changes during this time of the month.
- It's natural to feel occasional sluggishness during your workouts; however, if this is consistent, consider seeing your doctor.
- Make sure your diet is well balanced to help provide your body with energy for your workouts.
- Try having a pre workout snack to see if that helps boost your energy a bit before your exercise routine.
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