Is a lack of energy keeping you from maximizing your workout? You are certainly not alone. Eva Cwynar, MD, an endocrinologist and author, states that fatigue is a common complaint for those looking to improve their health through exercise. Experiencing fatigue can make it hard to concentrate, leading to procrastination and keeping you from sticking to a fitness routine.
What’s causing your energy levels to dip, and what can you do about it? Here are 7 ways to up your energy and endurance levels so you can get the most out of every workout.
1. Increase the Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral used in over 300 biochemical reactions. Increasing its levels is especially important for women, according to New York University nutritionist Samantha Heller, RS, RD. Women need as much as 300 milligrams and men up to 350 to maintain their energy.
Adding the right foods to your diet will increase your magnesium intake and naturally boost your energy levels. Heller recommends you add more:
- Almonds, hazelnuts or cashews
- Bran cereal
- Fish entrees, preferably halibut
2. Power Down Each Night
Sleep gives your body a chance to re-energize. If you don’t get enough of it, you are working out on a partial charge. Not everyone needs eight hours of sleep each night, but that should be the target. If you find you can’t sleep that long, plan for seven hours instead and see if that helps boost your energy.
Improving your sleep has a circular effect, too. The more you sleep, the more energy you have for exercise. The more you exercise, the better you sleep.
Many people make the mistake of waiting until they are thirsty to get a drink. Thirst is a warning sign that your body is dehydrated – by the time you feel that burn in your throat and the cotton mouth, you are already behind on your water intake. Even mild dehydration will cause you to feel lethargic.
Make sure that you drink all day long. Water is the best option, but even herbal tea or a flavored seltzer will help keep you hydrated.
4. Take Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids are dietary supplements that provide essential nutrients. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts use them to reduce fatigue and improve workouts. The additional essential nutrients help stimulate protein production for muscle building. These supplements may also improve mental acuity and muscle control.
If you are taking any prescription medication or have a chronic illness, talk to your doctor before taking dietary supplements like branched-chain amino acids.
5. Rev It Up in the Morning
If your engine seems to drag in the mornings, take a few minutes to get an energy boost. Run in place, do some plank exercises or get in 10 minutes of yoga. Working the core muscles gets the blood pumping and gives you an energy boost that can help get you through the day.
6. Focus on Interval Training
Don’t confuse energy levels with endurance. If fatigue sets in halfway through your workout, the problem may be sustainability.
Interval training is a combination of slow, medium and fast movements. If you are a runner, for example, you would alternate between a walk, jog and sprint. Over time, increase the intervals so that you are moving faster for longer periods.
7. Double Up Your Workouts
Try working out twice a day, several days a week. This helps to build stamina. Start by splitting your workout time in two – for example, if you exercise for an hour each day, do two 30 minute sessions instead. As your endurance builds, increase the time of each session slowly until you have two full workouts. Just make sure you’re not overtraining, as that can lead to more fatigue down the line.
Don’t let fatigue slow you down. Changing aspects of your lifestyle is how you fight back to get the most from your workouts.
What are some of your favorite ways to get more energy and endurance for workouts?
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Elvert Barnes.