I think one of the most used excuses for not working out is tiredness - and yes sometimes it is a very valid reason, but most of the time it is a lack of motivation that is causing us to use tiredness as an excuse. So if this is what is holding you back from achieving your fitness goals, then I thought I'd share with you my 5 quick fix tips of how I get energised & motivated for the gym, even after a long day!
1. Hydrate | Water is so important, by sipping it throughout the day it keeps your body hydrated. One of the main side effects of dehydration is that it impairs your physical performance & mental focus, thus zapping your energy by mid afternoon. I like to add lemon to mine as it has heaps of benefits, or I drink it in the form of green tea, which is great for energy too. Caffeine is another drink that's great for energy, I like to have a black coffee 30 minutes before I work out, as it's a fast acting, effective substance that increases your mental alertness. However this is only a quick fix, so nutrition is also essential...
2. Food is Fuel | A balanced diet is key to preventing fatigue. I prefer to eat 3 smaller meals & 4 snacks a day - this creates a more even calorie intake throughout the day, keeping blood sugar & insulin levels more constant & preventing dips in energy levels. This will also help that mid afternoon slump - as a large lunch can be heavy to digest & can drain energy, especially if its particularly high in carbs. However carbs are a very important source of energy, so don't go low carb either! The glucose within them is an essential source of energy, especially for workouts. My main meal will always consist of some slow release carbs, to keep energy levels steady, something like brown rice, wholegrain bread or sweet potato. Bananas & peanut butter are then my go to pre workout snack - they're rich in carbs, vitamins, sugars & fibre & not too heavy just before a workout.
3. Vitamins | A deficiency in vitamins or macro nutrients can easily cause fatigue. A well balanced diet will usually be enough, but I like to add vitamin B supplements to it - especially vitamin B12 - as it helps support thyroid function & healthy blood cells, which are essential in transferring energy from food to your body.
4. Preparation | A well known quote sums this one up - failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Did you know you're more likely to work out if you've already planned the workout & have your gym clothes ready. I would suggest planning when exactly you're going to workout, get your gym kit ready & prepare what you are going to do in your workout - then you can get straight down to business. You then need to find your motivation, which can be a powerful source of energy itself. I like to watch Youtube videos of people that inspire me to workout before I hit the gym, then I will pop on my workout playlist & walk to the gym if I can, to get some fresh air & wake myself up. By the time I'm there, I can't wait to get started. Stretching & warming up your body can also help wake you up & get your blood flowing just before a workout.
5. Define Your Goals | Having realistic goals will keep you motivated & motivation is key to driving your consistency. I set myself both long term & short term goals. My long term goals are to drop body fat by eating cleaner, with around a 200-400 calorie deficit & then once that is achieved, to build lean muscle through a lean bulk. I then have short term goals, as they're slightly easier to reach & keeps me motivated by creating new challenges. For example I want to become more flexible through doing yoga post workout, I want to build enough upper body strength to do pull ups & I want to drink at least 2 Litres of water per day & reach my daily protein goals. I will also continue to challenge my strength within weight training. By having goals, there is always something new & exciting I'm working towards - I don't set myself time limits, as sometimes that can lead to disappointments, as long as I know I'm giving it 100%, I am pleased with my progress. And so should you be.
Remember 30 minutes workout is only 2% of your day! Do that 5 times a week & that will make a big difference to your health & happiness. And now you know how to find the motivation & energy after a long day, there's no excuse. Plan, motivate & smash your goals - you'll never regret doing it, but you will regret not. Thank you to Superdrug for inspiring this blog post with their new Women's Health vitamin range - my particular favourite being B12.