Exercise is good for your health, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes, though, you just can’t muster the energy to make it through a workout. While feeling tired once in a while is normal, persistent fatigue could be a sign of a problem. Some lifestyle habits can have a big effect on your energy and will ruin your workout.
Consider these six things that can sap your energy and stop your workouts before you’re done.
Let’s start with one of the most common ways to ruin your workout — and easiest to fix — dehydration. The human body is more than half water by volume, and the nutrient is involved with virtually every biological process that happens. So, it only makes sense that a lack of water will affect a good portion of your body and its performance.
Even if you regularly sip on water throughout the day, you may need more. That is because the actual amount of fluids you need to take in each day varies, but adhering to the traditional advice of eight glasses of water may not be enough for you. This is particularly true if you are trying to push through tough workouts that generate excessive sweat.
If you find that you aren’t sweating as much as normal, your skin feels dry and thin, or your urine is darker than a panel yellow color, your fatigue may be the result of dehydration. It might be a good idea to up your water intake by a couple of glasses a day and consider adding in an electrolyte supplement as needed.
2. Hormone Imbalance
Disruption of hormonal systems can also affect energy levels, and it often manifests as more than just feeling tired. An underactive thyroid is a prime example of this type of dysfunction. When hormones are an underlying cause of fatigue, you may also notice things like unexpected/unexplained weight gain, dry skin, or cold intolerance. If you suspect hypothyroidism, it’s a good idea to look into strategies to support thyroid health.
3. Poor Diet
Some causes of fatigue are the direct result of a poor diet, which is more common than you might suspect. If you follow the Standard American Diet, your vitamin and mineral levels may very well be substandard thanks to its reliance on heavily processed, nutrient-deficient foods.
Not all nutrients are directly related to energy production; however, if your levels are low for any of the following, it could manifest as fatigue or lethargy:
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
4. Lack of Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? Unfortunately, there’s a pretty good chance you are in the majority of American adults who aren’t getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. That can seriously impact your energy levels, and not in a good way. Before you say you are catching up on the weekends, think about this: It only takes about four days of insufficient or poor-quality sleep to start seeing the effects of sleep deprivation.
There are several strategies that can help alleviate a persistent lack of sleep. Try establishing a nighttime routine, limiting screen time later in the day, and avoiding post-lunch caffeine binges. It may also help to turn down the temperature in your bedroom, which can help improve sleep quality.
Stress may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you are always prepared to handle it — physically or emotionally. Chronic stress can quickly deplete your reserves by keeping your body in a heightened state of awareness. Luckily, there are plenty of proven strategies to combat stress. Try taking a break from strenuous gym sessions and opting instead for a restorative yoga class to recharge your systems.
6. Low Blood Sugar
When you feel worn out, try eating a small piece of fruit. If it perks you up, low blood sugar could be what is stopping your workouts. When blood glucose levels drop, it feels like your fuel tanks are empty. Left untreated, this can be potentially life-threatening so, if you suspect blood sugar issues, talk to your doctor.
There are lots of reasons your energy levels sag during a workout. Hormone imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, and a lack of sleep are a few of the most common causes. Watch your lifestyle habits, take it day by day and try to reduce these mistakes so they won’t ruin your workout and sap your energy.