Isn't it annoying when people don't understand that you can't simply "sleep off" your fatigue?
You're probably tired (excuse the pun) of people saying things like "maybe you need to do a bit more exercise" or "maybe you need to lose a bit of weight" or even the classic "maybe you need more sleep".
I mean...it's not fair to wish your fatigue upon other people but sometimes I bet you're thinking "you should try having this fatigue, mate. Then we'll see how much you achieve."
I don't pretend to know what it's like as I haven't experienced it but I've worked with enough people who have, to know that it's a serious issue and something where you can't simply "pull yourself together and get over it".
What I do know is that there's no easy explanation for it in terms of what's going on in your body, and consequently there's no easy fix. And you can't eat your way out of fatigue. Although the simple logic of "if I eat more food I'll have more energy" seems like a good idea to many, there's obviously a bit more going on in your body than a lack of calories, and in most cases, high energy foods will actually make you feel more lethargic.
I'd love to have a solution, and if I did I'd probably be a very rich man, but alas, I'm still living in a 2 bedroom ex-local authority flat in Streatham (Mitcham really, but we say Streatham because it's sounds marginally better).
What I can tell you though is that I've found a few things which should help. Not cure, but certainly help. Are you ready?
- Eat foods which are lower in carbohydrates. Sugary or high starch foods feel good at the time but tend to send people in to a slump 30 minutes to an hour after they're ingested. Not a cure, but the people I work with tend to find "more energy" as a result of a diet which focuses on protein, colourful veg and fruit.
- Focus on weight training rather than cardio for fitness. Although the simple logic of "cardio makes us fitter so we should feel like we have more energy if we do it" kinda makes sense, in reality it can leave you floored for the next 48 hours if you do anything intense like that. Yes, cardio is important, but I recommend that if you're a fatigue sufferer, one session per week is probably enough, but be prepared for a day of rest afterwards. However weight training at moderate intensity and volume will help maintain strength and muscle tone, without sending you back to bed.
- Don't be a superhero. Bear with me for a second while I compare your fatigue to my flu symptom based fatigue. Not sure if it feels the same, but not being able to get out of bed due to influenza is probably the closest thing I've experienced to what you go through. I remember when I was a young teen and had spent the day in bed with flu, feeling weak and shaky. I decided "f**k this. I'll show this illness who's boss" so I dragged myself out of bed and did a small "heavy legged" run in circles outside the front of my house. Boy did I regret it. Had to go back to bed for another couple of days. Lesson learnt.
- Plan a little better. If you are going to do anything which might tire you out, try and schedule it in your diary on a day when you have little or nothing to do the next day. Workouts tend to be good before bed when you can eat a recovery meal and go straight to sleep afterwards. The body likes sleep and food for muscular recovery so pre-bedtime workouts are a good idea.
Well folks, there you have it. A couple of tips which won't cure, but might help your fatigue. If you have any questions on similar subjects, I'm all ears (quite big, sticky-out ones, in fact). Just book a call.