STEALING YOUR STEAM
Ask for a hormone test
Thyroid disease is up to eight times as common in women as in men, and the main symptom of hypothyroidism is fatigue, says New York City physician and nutritionist Jana Klauer, M.D., author of How the Rich Get Thin. Your thyroid is a small gland in the middle of your neck that’s responsible for regulating metabolism. If it doesn’t product enough hormones, your metabolism slows down and you feel draggy. Ask your doctor for a hormone test if you also experience symptoms such as weight gain, forgetfulness, a hoarse voice, dry skin, and hair or an intolerance to cold. The condition is typically treated with prescription medication.
IF YOU…HIT A MID-AFTERNOON SLUMP
Sugar gets a bad rap when it comes to messing up enegery levels, and for good reason: It produces an immediate (but temporary) “sugar high” that results in an energy crash once the sugar rapidly exists your blood stream, says Dr. Klauer. But you don’t have to shut out sweets altogether. A 2006 study by Dr. Teitelbaum found that a form of sugar called ribose caused a 45-percent energy boost, without the resulting crash. He suggests replacing your normal added sugar with ribose (available at health-food stores) when you need a sweet fix.
Switch up your Starbucks order
It’s natural to reach for another cup of coffee to stave off fatigue, but you’re actually creating a vicious cycle, says Dr. Klauer. Turns out too much caffeine can end up making you feel more tired down the road. “Caffeine has a half-life of nine hours, which means that nine hours after you’ve had a cup of coffee, half of it is still in your system, and 18 hours later one-fourth of it is still in your system,” she says. This affects your sleep, which in turn makes you need that cup of joe even more the next day. Instead, try switching to green tea, which contains about half the caffeine of coffee, and also boasts ingredients like L-theanine, which has a calming effect, says Dr. Teitelbaum. If you just can’t live without your coffee fix, try a half caf, half-decaf combo.
IF YOU…STRUGGLE THROUGH YOUR WORKOUT
One of the biggest reasons for muscle fatigue during exercise is dehydration. A lack of water can reduce blood flow in your body, which makes you feel sluggish, says Dr. Klauer. The reason is simple: since your blood is made up of 83 percent water, insufficient H20 means lowered blood volume. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should drink two 8-oz glasses about two hours before exercising, and sip another every 20 minutes during your workout. For long workouts, try a sports drink instead to replenish lost sodium.