Lacking energy during the day and during training is a complaint I hear on a regular basis.
“I feel like I need a nap around 2:00.”
“I need my sugar or caffeine in the afternoon.”
“I crash earlier than my friend during workouts.”
Many people I talk to think this is totally normal to feel this way. It could be because their peers experience the same issues. Or maybe because it is the way they have always felt.
Perhaps you feel the same way. When you feel a certain way all the time, you don’t know it is possible to feel any different.
I totally get it. I felt that way for many years. I thought it was normal. It wasn’t until I figured out how to break the cycle that I realized how much more life and vitality was available to me on a daily basis.
When we are athletes, we need enough fuel in us to support the demands of life, training, and racing. A HUGE aspect to low energy is as simple as not getting enough fuel based on your energy output.
Many times, we feel we are eating enough calories without realizing we are significantly under fueled. I know first hand that it is very easy to do. One reason I track my food daily is to make sure I get enough food in to support my daily life and my training.
It is one thing to be 100-300 calories under your daily requirements in order to get leaner if that is your goal. It is another thing to be >500 calories under on a daily basis just because you don’t realize what is going on.
When you are in a significant deficit on a regular basis, your body uses all the fuel it has just to survive. This results in low energy because your body doesn’t have any fuel left to energize you, keep you mentally focused, and/or keep you alert.
If this is a situation your body is in, increase your calories and you will notice a quick improvement in your energy levels.
The foods that you choose to eat play a role in your energy cycles during the day, especially the crashes you feel throughout the day. It has to do with your insulin cycles.
When you consume carbohydrates, your blood glucose rises, which in turn brings insulin into the bloodstream so the glucose can be stored appropriately. The more carbohydrates you consume, the more insulin is released.
As the insulin clears, your energy crashes…ultimately, the “sugar crash” that people often talk about. In order to get energy back, you have to consume more sugar in order to get the insulin back up. This is the insulin cycle.
How can we break the cycle? Choose foods higher in fats and proteins early in the day, keeping your higher carbohydrate foods for dinner. Does this mean you can’t have any carbohydrates during the day? Absolutely not. It means consuming lower carb foods, such as berries and lower carb vegetables, at breakfast and lunch, keeping your higher carb foods, such as potatoes and grains, for dinner.
When talking about energy, this comes into play more for people who train in the morning. The issue I see frequently is an athlete will train early, but then doesn’t consume enough after training to replenish the calories burned in the training session as well as provide more fuel for the rest of the morning. This immediately causes a downward spiral of energy, starting first thing in the morning.
When you are so low in the morning, it is difficult to recover later in the day. If you train in the morning, make a point to get enough fuel in afterward to support your morning calorie burn as well as your energy requirements for the morning.
Does one of these scenarios sound like you? Want help restoring your energy? Email me at email@example.com to schedule a call with me. If you know you are ready to get started improving your energy, check out the ReFuel program.
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