Are you tired of fighting that 2 pm crash every day? Do you wish your energy levels were a little more stable throughout the day?
If so, you’re not alone! Find out how to beat fatigue and feel like yourself again with these six tips.
What is fatigue?
Fatigue is exhaustion or weariness that comes in one of two forms: temporary or chronic.
Temporary fatigue is the exhaustion or weariness that you might experience during the middle of a workday or the morning after pulling an all-nighter; it tends to come in waves, giving you that roller coaster feeling of alertness.
Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, is an almost constant state of weariness that limits your energy levels and often mental capacity. This is often a sign of an underlying chronic condition, so if you suspect that you might have chronic fatigue, consult a healthcare practitioner near you.
What causes fatigue?
Common causes of temporary fatigue include dehydration, insufficient food intake, very restrictive diets, mild nutritional deficiencies, gut imbalances, and lifestyle factors like stress and sleep.
Chronic fatigue, however, tends to the result of underlying infections, severe mineral deficiencies, environmental toxins, or hormone imbalances.
6 Tips to Beat Fatigue
If you suspect that you’re suffering from temporary bouts of fatigue, then keep reading. Once you’ve established that you’re not just hangry, follow these next 6 tips.
If you suspect that you could be suffering from chronic fatigue, then I would highly recommend making an appointment with a health professional in your area, as these tips may not address the root cause of your fatigue.
If you notice a dramatic decline or plateau in your climbing performance, first assess your daily food intake. Often times, as climbers, we don’t eat enough food to fuel our training sessions or climbing days.
This should be a no-brainer, but just to cover all my bases: you need to eat.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
You might get tired of hearing it, but proper hydration is one of the easiest ways to combat temporary fatigue. Your brain needs water in the same way that your car needs oil.
You might be able to get from point A to point B without enough oil, but the trip will take a little longer than necessary and involve a ton of stops along the way.
In the same way, proper hydration will help your brain function more efficiently.
One study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2011 demonstrated that very mild dehydration was capable of affecting mood and concentration in women.
Another study found that mild dehydration was associated with diminished working memory and increased anxiety and fatigue in men.
If you’re feeling tired and cranky throughout the day, reach for a cold glass of water.
3. Cut back on sugar and caffeine
The next best way to fight temporary fatigue is to make some minor changes to your diet. Stimulants like sugar and caffeine can provide immediate energy, but the results are not often long-lasting.
If you consume too much sugar (in the form of glucose) in one sitting, your pancreas will react by releasing insulin, a storage hormone that stores the glucose away as either glycogen or fat.
This process is what causes that familiar “sugar high” followed by the “sugar crash”.
The best way to avoid these spikes in energy is to reduce your intake of sugary foods and replace them with foods rich in protein, like meats, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Fiber-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds can also provide more stable energy levels throughout the day.
4. Address vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Magnesium, zinc, and many of the B vitamins are directly involved in energy production, and iron is critical for the delivery of oxygen to your cells.
If you’re not getting enough of these nutrients in your diet, then your body cannot produce energy very efficiently, which may leave you feeling sluggish throughout the day.
If you’re suffering from low energy levels throughout the day, you may want to consider getting some blood work done. If you already know you’re deficient, you can try to increase your intake of the foods listed below.
For more magnesium: take Epsom salt baths or eat cacao nibs, dark chocolate, spinach, cashews, peanuts, and avocados.
For more zinc: eat oysters, beef, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, cashews, and cocoa.
For more B vitamins: eat leafy green vegetables, fruit, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes.
For more iron: eat clams, oysters, liver, pumpkin seeds, beef, nuts, dark leafy greens, beans, dark chocolate, and tofu.
*WARNING* There IS a such thing as too much iron, so if you haven’t had any blood work done in years, it’s better to be on the safe side and get a few labs done (CBC, CMP, serum ferritin, etc).
5. Take an anaerobic probiotic
If you’re making healthy food choices and still struggling with inconsistent energy levels, then it might be time to address your gut health.
Certain gut infections, like a candida overgrowth, bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and parasites, have the power to hijack your energy levels by suppressing your immune system.
If you’d like to improve your gut health, consider taking a daily probiotic to boost your immune system, maintain optimum energy levels, manage food cravings, and resolve unwanted digestive symptoms.
Probiotics containing Lactobacillus or Bifidobacteria often die during digestion and are not very effective, so I highly recommend taking a probiotic with strains of Bacillus since they can thrive without oxygen.
If you feel more comfortable buying them from my site, you can do so here.
6. Improve your sleeping habits
The last piece of the puzzle in tackling temporary fatigue is good quality sleep. If you feel like a zombie by 2 pm every single day, then chances are you aren’t getting enough deep sleep.
Deep sleep, or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, is the restorative form of sleep that allows your body to repair any damage that occurred during the day.
Waking up in the middle of one of these REM cycles is often the cause for feeling groggy and sluggish in the morning.
If you feel rudely awoken by your alarm clock every morning, then you might want to consider an earlier bed time or download a smart alarm clock app that will wake you in your light sleep.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, you can help your body relax for bed by dimming bright white lights after sunset, keeping your smartphones and tablets out of the bed, or unwinding in a bath of Epsom salts for 30-40 minutes.
Taking the time to improve your sleeping habits can make all the difference in your daily energy levels. For more suggestions on how to improve sleep, check out my related article: 5 Ways to Sleep Deeper and Fall Asleep Faster.
If you’re tired of riding the energy roller coaster, there are a few things you can try:
- Eat enough food
- Drink more water
- Cut back on sugar and caffeine
- Consume more protein and fiber for stable, long-lasting energy
- Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and nuts to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Get your blood tested for severe nutritional deficiencies
- Take MegaSpore to improve your gut health
- Reduce your exposure to bright white lights after sunset
NOTE: If you follow these recommendations and still struggle with fatigue, you might be dealing with a more serious form of fatigue, known as chronic fatigue.
If your energy levels are at a constant low, then it might be time to schedule an appointment with a health professional to pinpoint the root of your energy levels.
Your provider should be able to run appropriate diagnostic tests to assess the functionality of your hormones and immune system.
If you’d like to schedule a nutrition consultation with me to discuss your health concerns, you can do so here: Work with Me.
If you’re struggling with muscle fatigue during training, check out my related article: How to Delay Muscle Fatigue