When the nights get longer and the air gets colder, everyone feels like they have no energy to work out regardless of gym-time preference. Out of the seasons subject to SAD, people find a number of reasons to avoid the grind. Perhaps it’s their personal plateau, reorganized priorities, slight sickness, or simply the all-too-common feeling of exhaustion; whatever the diagnosis, there’s nothing wrong with your lack of motivation! There are tons of tips out there to answer the question ‘how to get energy to work out’ and we’re here to compile the best of the best to get you back to the gym in no time.
Whether the solution is dietary, sleep-related, caused by dehydration, or something else, these tips will be the stepping stones to getting your daily workout in to increase the associated positive endorphins.
No energy to workout? 16 reasons why
Research shows that there are a few regular culprits to a lack of physical energy.
According to UConn Today, researchers found that “In both sexes these adverse mood changes may limit the motivation required to engage in even moderate aerobic exercise. Mild dehydration may also interfere with other daily activities, even when there is no physical demand component present.”
Keep in mind that the amount of water each individual needs per day may vary, but the gist is that you need about 2 liters a day.
You may need some substantial dietary changes (which we’ll go into detail about later on).
Changing your eating habits from eating to satisfy hunger (which can result in ample snacking and convenient choices) to eating for energy. Small changes that can assist in this change include subbing calorie-dense, nutrient-empty carbs for healthy carbs such as nuts, fruits, and grains. (For example, switching from white bread to whole-wheat, or from flour tortillas to corn.)
You may need to move around more, even just a little bit. Getting up and moving keeps the heart pumping, blood flowing, and oxygen moving. Even the small steps are big steps toward increased exercise tolerance with your cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
The American Heart Association says even simple stress-relieving activity brain breaks like lunchtime walks, bursts of meditation, or stretching and yoga are quick ways to rejuvenate and refresh, even in an office setting.
Additionally, the AHA suggests that people alternate sitting and standing as much as possible throughout the day. If you keep comfortable shoes onsite, you’ll be more willing to take a quick lap around the building than if you were in dress shoes of any variety.
Improper breathing habits (though subconscious) can negatively affect digestion, the heart, nervous system, muscles, brain, and the development of teeth/facial features. Avoiding over-breathing, chest breathing, and unintentionally holding your breath are some ways that you can breathe better.
Proper breathing encourages energy production, lessens anxiety, and generally promotes better health.
You might be breaking up your cycle of productivity and lacking consistency.
What this means is: you should try as much as possible to work out either right before working or going to school, or right after. Leaving a break between your must-do activities makes you less likely to get out and get moving again. You know it’s true: once the Disney+ or Netflix comes on at home, you’re down for the count.
Studies show that if you eat smaller meals/snacks throughout the day, it’s better than a big breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is because your brain needs a steady stream of nutrients to promote optimal functioning. Additionally, eating the right things throughout the day can reduce the daily brain-lag that happens to some.
Examples of Energy Filled Foods
Protein balls, bars, or bowls
These customizable snacks use the protein powder and your choice of peanut butter, honey, fruit, nuts, coconut, oats, cranberries, cinnamon, etc., to get a home-made energy solution without all the extra sugar and preservatives of protein bars or energy shakes.
Fruits (such as bananas, apples)
Chicken (with wild rice)
Boiled egg whites (or just boiled eggs)
How to have the energy to work out, naturally (acct. to Harvard Health)
Take control of what causes you stress.
This could mean clinical therapy, support groups, meditation, yoga, listening to instrumental music, tai-chi, brain breaks, or can be assisted by proper breathing.
Figure out your ‘must do’s’ and work to lighten your load
If you feel overworked, you probably ARE overworked. Whether it be professionally, educationally, familially, socially, or personally, if you have too much on your plate, you’ll flatline eventually.
Keeping a calendar, whether literally or mentally, of must-do tasks and appointments, can ensure that you aren’t biting off more than you can chew.
Keep in mind that exercise isn’t just for weight loss.
Regular exercise promotes better, regulatory sleep, allows for your cells to more efficiently burn and circulate oxygen, and helps with the release of stress hormones that relate to energy. Exercise shouldn’t just be for physical results but mental results as well.
Avoid smoking, vaping, e-cigs, tobacco, etc.
In 2019, this should be a ‘duh’ moment. There is ample research showing that smoking harms the overall health of humans, and vaping isn’t far behind.
Smoking can result in disrupted sleep cycles (even insomnia, or sleeplessness) and can raise your heart rate and/or blood pressure.
Once the craving becomes an addiction, those listed negative symptoms can worsen exponentially.
Regulate and restrict sleep.
Avoiding naps and sticking to a strict sleep schedule can improve your nightly quality of sleep.
Control your caffeine, don’t let your caffeine control you.
Different sources of caffeine can enhance energy production throughout the day, so long as other characteristics are tended to as well. For instance, according to this study, inadequate b-vitamin intake can be associated with negative effects on mental energy, due to their integral role in energy production.
Energy drinks, tea, and coffee are all associated with different times of day. According to this study, morning beverages such as tea had more favorable consequences (improved wellbeing) over evening energy drink consumption (restlessness).
Limit your alcohol intake.
It’s no secret that alcohol is nutritionally lacking and generally unhealthy. Beyond empty calories and mental instability, limiting alcohol can fight the mid-afternoon slump that comes with the lunchtime cocktail. Studies show that alcohol’s sedative effect is strong at midday, so it’s best to keep alcohol intake to times when your energy is winding down naturally, such as evenings or nights.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
As we already mentioned, dehydration yields drowsiness. For an all-natural way to get the energy to work out, chug some H2O.
Preworkout Energy Boost: A quick and simple solution
If you’re looking for a quicker cure for your energy ails, pre-workout is a painless pick-me-up. There’s a lot of pre-workout on the market, anywhere from powders to pills, so it might be overwhelming for the new consumer. If that’s the case, Transparent Labs has the perfect how-to guide on picking the best preworkout. If you’re looking for more scientific research on pre-workout effects and outcomes, check out this PubMed.gov article reviewing the energy booster.
Regardless of how, Transparent Labs wants to help you to forget the days when you had no energy to work out. Sluggish slumps, midday naps, and general loafing are things of the past once you figure out your way how to have the energy to work out.