Many would claim that we’re living in a health crisis. In actuality, we’re in an energy crisis.
I know, obesity, diabetes, and chronic illnesses, in general, are on the rise. But all of those issues ultimately come down to an energy problem.
Energy is our most valuable currency. It must be managed and prioritized above all else. When it comes to energy and optimal health, there are 7 pillars that require prioritization: mission, mindset, physiology, performance, presentation, relationships, and environment.
When you’re operating with low energy, it’s hard to stay positive, be fully present in your relationships, and make sound decisions (i.e. stop binging on the sweets). People inherently understand the importance of fatigue management. But truly optimizing your energy and health is much deeper than “clean eating” and exercising.
Often times during my initial consults with clients, one of the first questions asked is “Why do I still feel tired all the time” despite “clean eating” and exercising.
There’s a much bigger picture as to why you feel tired all the time that isn't being told.
In fact, here are 11 of the most common reasons why you feel tired all the time despite your “clean eating” and weekly exercise regimen.
1. You lack a convincing mission
The word purpose is overused, thanks to Instagram and countless memes. However, having a purpose is of critical importance. One of the key pillars in the Blue Zones is being connected with your purpose.
With that said, your mission (i.e. purpose) is the first pillar of energy I address with new clients in week one. At a basic level, your mission is essentially answering the question “why do you get up in the morning and do what you do throughout the day?”
It’s imperative to develop a mission because this serves as internal gasoline that propels you through the day when the motivational fairy isn't anywhere to be found.
Here’s how people who don’t have a mission operate:
- Struggles to wake up and chronically hits the snooze button
- Days feel pointless and mundane
- “What’s all of this for?” is a constant ruminating thought
- Inertia dominates their life
- Life seems to just happen to them
- Always reacting to themselves
- Attached and clinging to who they are so they can never find who they can be
- Argumentative about nothing
- Ultimately don’t trust themselves which leads to them relying on society for approval
- Envy, jealous, and bitter
- Consumes heavily, but is light on the production end
Here’s how people who have a mission operate:
- Wakes up with intention and doen'’t hit the snooze button
- Looks forward to the day (no “Monday blues”)
- Self-discipline feels natural
- Willing to lose themselves (their titles, stories, & etc) in order to truly find themselves
- Delaying gratification is taken with pride
- Life feels abundant and limitless
- Produces much more, consumes much less
- Welcomes change
- Relishes the present moment even when things aren’t the way they want it
- Welcomes the future with open arms
- Takes ownership for everything (no dishing out excuses)
- Extremely confident—not fake confidence that is driven by ego
The first step to course correcting and using your mission as an energy booster is to develop a personal philosophy to navigate life with.
- How do you want to feel and look?
- What’s your body fat?
- What are you capable of doing?
- What do you see in the mirror?
- Why are your health and energy important?
- What gets you up in the morning?
- Why are you working so hard with your job?
- What’s your endgame?
Most people (who are most likely average and will tread mediocrity for the rest of their life) will skip this stuff and jump into doing random activities and then wonder why they are tired, lethargic, “stuck in life”, and not happy with their body months later.
Don’t be average. You must be willing to do things differently.
2. You’re dehydrated more than you realize
Water is something that we take for granted and tend to overlook when it comes to our health. However, being dehydrated by even 1 percent can lead to decreases in mood and cognitive abilities. With that said, water possesses a host of responsibilities including:
- Building your blood ( it’s the chief system used to transfer oxygen and nutrients throughout your body)
- Maintenance of your DNA
- Facilitating the process of your mitochondria (source of energy)
- Helping regulate your body temperature
- Assisting your lymphatic system
- Maintaining proper levels of synovial fluid in your joints and discs
- Helping your body transmit neurotransmitters throughout your body
A simple morning habit is to properly rehydrate is to drink 20 to 32 ounces of room-temperature water (throw a lemon or lime in there for extra detoxification).
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking 500 ML of water (around 17 ounces) increases your metabolic rate by 30 percent. This begins to take effect in as little as 10 minutes with a maximum reached after 30-40 minutes.
Besides this morning water habit, a general baseline is to aim for a daily intake of at least half your body weight in ounces. If you’re highly active or sweat profusely, increase that amount.
3. You’re getting low-quality sleep
How is it that people can sleep for eight hours and still wake up the next morning feeling sluggish and lethargic?
A big reason is due to their sleep cycles not being properly optimized.
A typical person’s sleep cycle falls between 75-90 minutes with each one cycling through REM and non-REM sleep plus the other stages in between. Each of these stages serves a critical role in helping your body regenerate and detoxify.
With that said, a couple areas to look into is timing your sleep and wake up times to coincide with your sleep cycles. For example, instead of looking at the times you sleep, think of your sleep in terms of cycles of 90 minutes. This means your new model is 1.5 hours, 3 hours, 4.5 hours, 6 hours, 7.5 hours, and 9 hours.
I function best by getting 7.5 hours of nightly sleep and when my training is ramped up, I sleep for 9 hours. Give yourself a buffer of 20-30 minutes to fall asleep. If 6 am is the goal wake up time, you should be in bed by 10 pm and hopefully asleep by 10:30.
4. You don’t have a consistent sleep and wake up time
Fitbit started tracking users' (no names attached) sleep stages in March of 2017 for the biggest set of sleep data ever assembled and accumulated 6 billion nights of sleep. After assembling all of the data, the biggest takeaway from that study in regards to improving sleep was to consistently go to sleep around the same time.
Why is that?
Social jet lag.
Social jet lag isn’t travel related. Instead, it’s self-induced due to erratic behaviors with our sleeping patterns.
An example could be someone who goes to sleep at 11 p.m. on weeknights and wakes up at 7 a.m. But on the weekends, they stay out and don't fall asleep until 2:30 a.m. and wake up around 10 a.m.
This affects not only your body and energy levels, but also your performance at work because you're getting less sleep due to your normal rhythm and routine times for falling asleep being off.
The alarm clock is going to ring early morning regardless. One to two hours daily of lost sleep quietly leads to massive effects on your quality of life.
5. Your circadian rhythms are off
Your circadian rhythm is one of two big drivers that govern your sleep. This natural biological process typically operates over a 24-hour cycle which is control by the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN). You can find the SCN in the middle of your brain located in the hypothalamus (for a more in-depth explanation of how sleep works—check out my sleep 101 article).
Moving on, the chief commander that controls our sleep-wake cycle is light. Light exposure plays a role in dictating the behaviors of cortisol and melatonin.
Light exposure suppresses melatonin while pressing the “on” button for cortisol. Before the technological age, when the sun went down, it was time to sleep and melatonin naturally rose while cortisol plummets. This is how our body was designed.
Now, we can artificially create a 24-hour day cycle if we want using our screens and various lighting sources. This keeps melatonin further suppressed and leads to poor sleep quality while experiencing groggy mornings.
To avoid this misalignment, keep your body on its normal biological rhythm by being mindful of your light exposure at night. It’s important to have these key hormones peaking at their designated times.
An easy way to align your circadian rhythms is to get early morning exposure to light. If at all possible, exposure to sunlight is the best option.
With sunlight, you're getting a natural full spectrum of light, help with managing your waistline, and serotonin production (which is a precursor to melatonin needed later in the day). Lastly, you’re getting the best source of Vitamin D, which benefits your mood, rate of aging, sleep, immune system, and brain, among many other important body functions.
Maintaining an optimal circadian rhythm is a huge pillar to operating with everlasting energy (free training on that here).
6. You’re more sedentary than you think
Life has never been more comfortable for 99 percent of us. We no longer have to hunt for dinner and jobs are becoming less arduous in this technological age.
Working out for 45-60 minutes three days a week and then sitting around the rest of the time isn’t doing much in the big picture. You’re barely more active than the rest of the sedentary population.
Excessive sitting leads to soreness, stiffness in your joints, back pain, and chronic headaches. All of which combine to decrease your quality of life (and a big reason why you're tired all the time).
And energy comes from moving our bodies due to piezoelectricity which is where you’re creating electrical pressure within your body. Aim for a benchmark of 10,000 daily steps. By simply walking, you’ll create more energy which will lead to cognitive boosts and regulating hormonal patterns (also helping your sleep).
Set an alarm every hour to get at least 10 minutes of activity in and schedule a daily walk for morning or evening (doing this with your partner is a perfect way to connect).
7. Your nutrition plan is deficient in crucial nutrients
It’s a no-brainer that highly processed foods along with pretending health foods will drain your energy. However, what isn’t as common is a priority on micronutrients.
In my wellness practice, I have a lot of clients who are eating relatively healthy on paper, but when we further dive into their nutrient profile, key nutrients are missing.
Being low in nutrients doesn’t just affect your energy outright, it affects things such as sleep which leads to your never-ending feedback loop of less-than-ideal decisions.
A couple of energy-rich items to add to your staple are cacao, maca, Golgi berries, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and spirulina. Other than that, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds deserve a seat at the table.
8. You’re being a pushover
Let's face it, no one likes to be called selfish. It doesn't feel like a compliment nor an endearing trait. But, becoming selfish is great for your health, career, and personal development into a better human being.
Not being selfish and addressing your own personal wellbeing will slowly lead to a physically, mentally, emotionally, and a spiritually depleted individual who isn’t able to operate at their peak levels.
Without any boundaries created, there are plenty of holes that leechers and energy vampires can attach to and zap your energy away.
9. You’re being a perpetual victim
Playing a victim and even being allowed to participate in the role of a perpetual victim by your environment drains your energy. Also, it discreetly jettisons you on a path to mediocrity.
A perpetual victim loses their natural energy because they tell themselves that they don’t have a choice nor an option to do something differently.
Whether it's with your exercising habits, nutrition, pursuing a new business, or a multitude of other activities, there is always a choice. Often times, “I don't have a choice” is usually code for procrastination on making a tough decision that you don't want to make or go through with.
Even if you feel the situation is out of your control, there is something that will always be one-hundred percent under your control and that is the way that you must respond to the situation.
The key isn’t avoiding obstacles. The key is how you respond to those obstacles.
10. Your levels of stress are out of control
Stress is said to be the underlying root cause of 90 percent of all diseases in the world.
A big reason for these high levels of stress is due to not settling the various conflicts of our lives which is stress that's left unaddressed. And since it’s unaddressed, it will only compound while simultaneously draining your energy.
With all of this said, seven out of 10 adults in the U.S. experience stress or anxiety daily. Unfortunately, more than half of those same adults experience stress-induced sleep problems several times a week. According to the American Psychological Association, we're more stressed than ever before, which is affecting our physical, emotional, environmental, spiritual, financial, relational, and professional world.
There is a multitude of ways to handle stress. But, here are two simplistic methods:
1. Yoga — Not only is yoga great from a flexibility and posture standpoint, but it's also beneficial from a cognitive standpoint that translates to a higher likelihood of obtaining high-quality sleep.
In fact, a national survey discovered that over 55 percent of people who practiced yoga found that it led to obtaining higher quality sleep, while 85 percent said it reduced stress.
2. Practice relaxation breathing — The specific type of breathing used here is the 4-7-8 method. There have been claims of people falling asleep within 60 seconds of using this type of breathing—though I've never personally experienced that type of effect nor met someone who has achieved that.
This type of breathing provides a benefit when it comes to relaxing from a busy and demanding day. To get started:
- Exhale completely through your mouth while sitting in a comfortable position.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight (you'll make a whoosh sound).
- That's one complete breath. Repeat this cycle for a total of four.
11. You’re unorganized
When you aren’t organized or don’t have something planned, you have to use more brainpower which lowers your daily mental energy reserver. Research any successful person and you'll discover the importance they place on having a schedule. An organized schedule keeps you in the driver's seat when it comes to managing your life and energy.
In practical terms, you're being proactive with your life instead of reactive where you find yourself putting out random fires but never getting any meaningful work accomplished.
When it comes to managing your energy and preventing overwhelm, create a standard of performance for all areas of your life.
Due to instilling a standard of performance, Bill Walsh led the San Francisco 49ers to multiple Super Bowls during his tenure. Walsh, in his book, ‘The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership', describes a standard of performance as “A way of doing things, a leadership philosophy, that has as much to do with core values, principles and ideals as with blocking, tackling and passing; more to do with the mental than with the physical.”
For example, adopting a standard with your eating habits eliminates the guesswork while creating systems, strategies, and structure. One key area to focus on is the delivery of your food throughout the workweek.
You’re most likely busy which means you have less time to cook meals or sit in traffic and food lines to get food.
A powerful strategy is to outsource your nutrition just as a business outsources tasks so they can better allocate their mental bandwidth to other tasks. Using a meal delivery service is a powerful tool because you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. More importantly, you’re saving time which can then be allocated toward growth revenue strategies and key relationships in your life.
If you don’t want to do this, then create a standardized meal planning system. I know exactly what I’m eating each day because I have my morning energy shake planned along with my eating templates for lunch and dinner.
When it comes to creating everlasting energy, success lies in the attention to details.
If you would like help on creating a predictable system for everlasting energy and optimal health, then apply for a high-performance health strategy session where you'll talk with me for 60 minutes. You’ll leave with more clarity and know the exact steps you need to make this a reality. Apply here.