One of the biggest challenges we hear people dealing with at the gym is: simply getting to the gym.
There are a number of reasons why this could be. Many of our members are hard-working professionals with busy schedules. Unless they plan their weeks out in advance, scheduling time for themselves at CrossFit Lobo, their gym routine can quickly fall by the wayside.
On the other hand, even when people can come to the gym, sometimes they don’t have the energy to do it. They just have nothing left to give.
Why is that?
Let’s discuss this.
First, what is “energy” and why is it important?
The definition of energy in the way we’re talking about it is: “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.”
It’s not exactly something you can quantify, like your bench one rep max, but we all know what it feels to have it in droves (or not at all).
This is also why it’s important. Energy is our fundamental life force. It is the thing that gives us the will and the desire to live our lives to its fullest capacity.
What are the consequences of low energy?
Conversely, when we have low energy, our lives suffer for it. As does our potential, both in and out of the gym.
We are unable to perform at work, we are absent in our relationships, and a work out routine? You can forget about it.
If you’re suffering from low energy, continue reading.
10 tips to troubleshoot low energy
- Add More Activity: Add activity to your work day for a boost. Every movement you do adds up, and just moving alone can help make you smarter and more alert at work. There’s also a placebo element to additional activity, too. When your brain thinks “I’m active,” you will choose other active things to do. Thinking “I’m inactive” will make you reach for a couch the first chance you get. Here are some ideas to get moving:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Use a basket instead of a cart for small items at HEB
- Walk short distances instead of taking the car
- Unplug: Staying connected with others is important, but we can easily become over-connected. When we mindlessly scroll, we expose ourselves to other people’s lives, thoughts, and opinions, and if we aren’t careful, this can massively sap our energy. Learning to unplug and be on our own, without the constant presence of technology, can help ground us and renew our energy.
- Exercise: We wouldn’t be a good gym if we didn’t mention this tip, would we? 😉 If you’re struggling to make it to the gym everyday, aim to work out at least 3x a week. Immediately after a work out, you will feel happier (endorphin release!), accomplished (after that tough work out), and more resilient. It’s not news that working out can provide a big stress relief, but here’s your friendly reminder. 🙂
- Eat for Energy: At Lobo, we run annual Whole30 challenges and we offer nutrition coaching, where you get to dial in your nutrition under the watchful eye of Bianca, our nutrition coach. But you only need to make a few tweaks to see huge boosts in your energy:
- Reduce sugar and other simple carbs (pasta, bread, muffins, cookies)
- Eat protein at every meal (it helps to keep you full and less snack-y!)
- Veggies! Whether you like to have them in a smoothie or on the side, don’t forget to have large amounts of veggies for every meal
- Drink enough water. Aim for 64 oz a day.
- Balance: Life is meant to be enjoyed. Even at Lobo, where we have high-intensity work outs, the point is for it to feel like PLAY, not WORK. It’s easy to get on the hamster wheel without any plan to get off it. Here are some tips to introduce some balance (and enjoyment) into your life:
- Schedule breaks at work. Just “pushing through” makes it that much harder to get back to it at full capacity later on. Want to know the best way to schedule breaks? Try the Pomodoro Technique.
- Schedule vacations for the upcoming year. It’s almost the end of the year, and this is the perfect time to think about when you want to take vacations next year! It’s not self-indulgent – it is taking care of yourself. You know if it’s left up to you, you won’t remember to take a vacation until you’re stressed, it’s too late, and now you’re in screw-the-world-just-leave-me-alone mode. Plan your work and play ahead of schedule.
- Boredom: Although similar to balance, this calls for a little more introspection. Are you excited by your life? More importantly, are you adequately challenged? Boredom is very low energy, and being bored in one arena of your life can translate to finding everything else boring. Take some time to figure out how you feel about your job, your relationships, and see if you can spot any energy saps.
- Caffeine: We’ll never be the ones to tell you to give up coffee, but could you be over-caffeinated? Do you “run” on tons of coffee and/or energy drinks? If so, your energy level may be suffering. Here are some guidelines for keeping your caffeine dependence in check:
- No more than 400 mg of caffeine/day, which comes out to 4 cups of coffee or 2 “energy shot” drinks
- No caffeine after 2 pm
- If you need to decrease caffeine, do it gradually. If you go cold turkey, you run the risk of getting fired for sleeping at your job (true story!).
- Consider having tea instead of coffee
- Stand Up: Being in normal work environments, many of us are used to sitting up for long periods of time. Not only is this not good for our posture, but it is also not good for our health. Find a way to stand up at your desk, or even have a way to alternate between standing and sitting. You’ll notice you feel more alert before anything else.
- Sleep: Good sleep helps you feel energized when you wake up and for the rest of the day. We all know sleep is important, but what does that really mean? How much sleep do we need to get, and what’s “good sleep”? Here are some tips to get better rest:
- Sleep in a completely dark room
- Fall asleep and wake up at the same time every day
- When you’re in bed, aim for relaxation. Save the worrying and brainstorming for the day.
- Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep
- Don’t oversleep! More is not better and it can actually make you groggy.
- Connect: As human beings, we are social creatures, even though the internet sometimes makes us wonder. Even introverts need connection, just in a different quality and quantity. Make sure along with all the other tips, that you’re also making friends and relationships a priority. We help you do that at Lobo. With a group of people ready to encourage you and high-five you at the end of a work out, we can also provide that connection and community that’s so crucial to keeping your spirits (and energy) high.