We all face obstacles at some point that weaken our motivation to get to the gym. Illness, social commitments, work stresses or any other challenge that life throws at us can easily slide your workout down the list of priorities. But fatigue can be the invisible hurdle that trips us all up and will do so over and over again unless it is addressed. If you feel as though exhaustion is standing in the way between you and your fitness goals, having a coffee (or several) just won’t cut it. Start focusing on taking sustainable proactive steps to energise yourself and the gym motivation will follow.

Eat regularly

Eating fuels your body with the energy it needs to function throughout the day. You may be feeling tired because the gaps between meals are too long or they aren’t providing you with enough goodness. Rather than having one huge main meal and skimping on food for the rest of the day, try eating smaller meals more regularly and having healthy snacks in between. Some foods you may want to incorporate more of into your diet are:

  • Nuts and seeds: consuming a variety of raw unsalted nuts and seeds is an excellent way to get healthy nutrients and energy. Plus, they’re easy to carry on you for a quick snack at any time.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables: fresh foods contain more nutrients and will, therefore, provide more energy than packaged or processed foods.
  • Bananas: rich in potassium, fibre, vitamins and carbs for a natural boost of energy.
  • Lean protein: chicken, turkey and fish are quality sources of protein with less saturated fat than red meat.

Get a good night’s sleep

This one may seem painfully obvious, but just because you’ve slept doesn’t mean your body is well rested. Good sleep hygiene is crucial to allow your body to recover and reset for the next day. Healthy sleep habits can improve productivity and overall wellbeing. Some suggestions include:

  • Establish a regular routine: try to go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday and your body clock will adapt.
  • Make sure it’s quiet: buy a set of earplugs if there are noises such as barking and traffic that you can’t control.
  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping: avoid treating your bedroom like a lounge room by watching television or doing work in that area, otherwise, your mind will associate the space with activity.

Reduce stress

Stress will consume a lot of your energy and may keep you up at night. Try to consciously set aside enough time to doing activities that you enjoy so that you can maintain a balance in your life. You can also allocate some time each night before bed doing something that relaxes you, such as taking a warm bath or reading a book. Quieting the mind will help you drift off and have a night of more quality sleep.

Stay hydrated

Water may not be the energy drink you’d typically reach for, but it is essential in order for your mind and body to perform at its best. It only takes a loss of 1-2% of body weight as water to disrupt your system and make you feel sluggish. Trade-in one of your coffees for a glass of water and see if you can feel the difference.

Get moving

Exercise is a great way to overcome fatigue as it boosts endorphins and increases oxygen levels in the blood. You don’t have to get to the gym to reap the benefits – just get your body moving and your blood circulating. This may mean taking 15 minutes of your lunch break to go for a walk, or getting up for a stroll around mid-afternoon. Breaking up the day with some gentle movement will help wake you up and may leave you feeling less fatigued at the end of the day.

Tiredness stems from more than just a lack of sleep and can, therefore, be tackled in more ways than one. It’s common for people to say that they’re always tired, but this doesn’t mean it has to be the norm. Start changing your habits today and you’ll be in a better mindset to hit up the gym as you become more energised.