Fitness Articles

8 Exercise Energy Zappers

How to Beat Your Mid-Workout Slump

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Be a Planner
Do you set your alarm for a 5 a.m. run only to snooze until your exercise slot has come and gone? Or do you come home at night, too exhausted to hit the gym? Try to schedule your workouts for the times of day that your energy is at its peak. Even if it's a little less convenient, you’ll get a better workout and might be more likely to stick with your program.

Rest Up
Whether you're skimping on sleep or you're exercising too much, a lack of rest and recovery can zap your energy levels and hurt your progress, too. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, so reorganize your day and your time so that you can get as much shut-eye as possible each night. After all, who wants to exercise when they feel tired and run down?

Overtraining can also lead to increased fatigue during your workout. Sometimes, even the most experienced exercisers and athletes need a break (hence the "off season"). Learn to listen to your body. Often when you're too tired to make it through your usual workout, your body just needs a break, after which it can come back even stronger.

Deal with Stress
Just as your mental to-do list can keep you awake at night, other life stressors can creep into your mind during a workout and distract you from the task at hand. Sometimes these thoughts are overwhelming, and the sheer thought of dealing with the issue can be exhausting. Other times, feeling too busy can cause you to stop your workout short because you want to work on something else other than fitness. While working out can help you alleviate stress, sometimes life hands you a little too much, which can result in fatigue, aches, pains and headaches. Instead of letting your stress prevent you from hitting the gym, think of your workout as a much-needed break. Use this small window of "me" time to mentally sort through any issues you've been dealing with lately. Or think of it as one small part of your day that isn't filled with stress, work, and a never ending list of tasks. If necessary, plan some additional de-stressing tasks into your day. Just like you take time to exercise, take some time to relax, whether through meditation, a hot bath, or just reading a book.

Banish Boredom
Who hasn't been bored to sleep one time or another? Boredom is exhausting! And that's the last feeling you want to experience when you're trying to exercise. Hate the treadmill? Don't use it. Watching the clock when on the stationary bike? Hop off and find something fun. Whether you take your indoor workouts outside or try a new fitness class, variety will keep boredom at bay and help you get better results, too. Sometimes even working incorporating varying intervals during a single workout (instead of the same intensity, pace, speed or incline) can really shake things up and keep you energized and interested.

Overall, the occasional energy slump can usually be fixed by trying some of the tasks above. Sometimes it's a combination of lifestyle changes that works best. If you feel run down all the time or exercise results in major fatigue for you, make an appointment to see your health care provider to find out why.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • Good article. - 9/11/2013 5:34:03 PM
  • Thanks. Good info. - 5/16/2013 7:32:51 AM
  • So far, the only slumps I've experienced have been banished by just getting myself TO the gym. But these are good tips if I ever find myself flagging AT the gym. - 5/15/2013 6:25:59 AM
  • I agree with everything apart from the bit about needing to eat carbs. I have been on many, MANY 6 mile runs and I eat low carb. I've never felt more energetic and full of life. You don't need to eat carbs before a workout to feel energised. But thanks for the article anyway, very informative. - 5/15/2013 4:28:19 AM
  • I sometimes feel that and I just say push through it or get my mind off it. - 10/5/2012 1:08:42 PM
  • ROSEJ1912
    I agree with most of this article, but I could not agree less with Coach Nicole, and Sparkpeople in general, about carbs. Nicole is correct that your body burns carbs for energy and that carbs are the body's preferred source of energy. However, if you eat carbs before your workout, you will ONLY be burning off the carbs, not body fat. Not great if you're trying to lose weight. If you want to lose weight, drop the carbs and your body will use excess body fat for energy. - 9/20/2012 3:20:30 PM
  • Very helpful. - 9/2/2012 1:10:01 PM
  • Great advice. My husband and I have different needs when it comes to pre-exercise, so it is important that my husband eats before we hit our exercise routine. - 5/28/2012 8:04:54 AM
    I find I'm losing energy quickly through improper breathing technique. Especially when sparring, I tend to hold my breath. Yoga is helping me to be more aware of my breathing. - 1/27/2011 8:51:46 PM
  • i exercise after work and it really takes my mind off the office crud. i liked the suggestion to vary your routine to avoid boredom -- i've found that to be really helpful too! nice article nicole - it's good to be reminded what to stay focused on to get a better workout! - 8/10/2010 10:39:36 PM
  • I completely disagree that it's silly to think that stress doesn't interfere with exercising - I think this article is spot on. On days that I'm very stressed out, thinking that I want to exercise just seems like one more task on the neverending list of things I want and need to do. I think she makes a great point.

    - 6/10/2010 8:20:02 PM
  • Someof this info is in total opposition to newest info that we lose more weight and gain more muscle if we exrecise on an empty stomach. I agree that rest is essential. But, since we exercise to reduce stress, what's this nonsense about reducing stress so we can exercise better is plain silly - 6/10/2010 10:34:27 AM
  • The section dealing with the effects of stress could have been written particularly for me cos life at my place is chaotic at the moment with renovations, repairs, breakdowns, you name it and its gone wrong.
    This past few weeks (co-incidentally since all this started to happen round me) I've been battling with an acute lack of motivation to exercise. All that beating myself up mentally about it and now I find out it wasn't just because I was lazy!
    Thank you for promoting this article, I feel so much better already. - 6/10/2010 4:51:09 AM
  • I'm so easily get bored, I tend to changed my cardio program once a week. With no access to gym, I have to use limited sources but it's fun to make up a program. Must be my personality of like to change things too often, haha - 6/10/2010 1:28:24 AM
  • what a nice peice of article.In fact i have been experiencing similar fatigue and crisis, i realised where i was going wrong thanks to this article.. - 6/10/2010 12:31:34 AM

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