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I've been noticing recently that I've had problems with my energy level. Eventhough I'll have a proper 8 hour sleep, I'll still be extremely tired during the day and would need a nap to get through the day. I was wondering if there are ways other than exercise to increase my energy levels.

Some background:

I haven't seriously exercised for the last 3 years until a few days ago. I'd normally play tennis once or twice a week in the Spring/Summer months for an hour at a time, then nothing for Fall/Winter. Over the past week, I decided that I should start regularly running again, so I've been running about 20-30 minutes a day to start (the first day was rough) and that seems to have been working pretty well. I'm not nearly as tired as I used to be and it's only been 4 days into my new running regimen.

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These have often been helpful to me in this area:

  1. Exercise
  2. Proper vitamins such as B and Magnesium
  3. Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake as this can act as an inhibitor
  4. Proper eating (smaller meals more frequently)
  5. Include short bursts of intense activity with lower intensity activity in your workouts several times a week
  6. Ensure you are not depriving your body of proper calories and a balanced diet

I found this interesting article relating to the affects of alcohol and metabolism.

"Drinking alcohol will give a negative effect on the metabolism of the body particularly to the aspect of fats metabolism.

The amount of energy that fats can give to your body through the process of metabolism is limited by the effects of alcohol that you take in your body.

The ability of your body to bring on lipid oxidation or the burning of fats will be greatly hindered by even just a small amount of alcohol. This was the findings of researchers and as published in the American Journal of Clinical Research.

Further research on this matter revealed that when alcohol passes through the liver, acetate is formed. And the body, instead of burning fats for energy will burn the acetate instead of fats.

The other bad effect of alcohol in the body is that it prevents the proper processing of vitamins and minerals which are needed in the natural function of metabolism.

This is because of the process by which the liver converts alcohol to acetate. During this stage, minerals and vitamins that are supposed to be processed by the liver will be over shadowed by the system of detoxification and would be wasted through this process."

Reference

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    Interesting, I knew alcohol isn't that great for you, so I've cut that out as well. – peter Jun 11 '11 at 16:05
  • @Curtis-good answer, just wondering if you would know how if you need more calories to support training and increase energy? I'm gaind muscle mass so obviously I'm eating more calories than I need, but still my training is't improving and I'm lacking energy. Increase my calories more? Thanks! – Bee Jul 9 '12 at 11:34
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We would need much more information, such as: age, height, weight, body fat%, medical issues and diet to truly evaluate your energy loss issue. On a prior question you asked about diet, so I can assume you're overweight to some degree. One potential issue - and this is taking a real guess - is perhaps your testosterone levels are/have decreased and your recent exercise increase has had a side effect of increasing your T levels, providing you with more energy. Take a look at these articles and please provide some of the information mentioned (age, etc.) so we can help:

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Exercising is definitely helpful to increasing your energy level, but if you exercise hard every day that can also wear you out. It's better to exercise 4-5 times per week and cross train rather than run every day. I agree that it's very important to eat well. Some examples of good carbs are whole wheat or multigrain bread and brown rice. You'll want to try to eat breakfast in order to kick start your metabolism throughout the day. Eggs are a great source of protein and they keep you full for a long time.

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There are a bunch of factors. Most of the ones I know are already well covered. I need to add that what is right for someone else may not be right for you. For instance, I find I am sluggish if I sleep more than 7 hours a night. I have found that the older I get, the more important it becomes to stay with a schedule. I have been a lifetime believer in supplements and exercise and I have found that my needs change over time and that it is highly cyclical.
When I was in college, I ran into an idea that I have used ever since. "Your body will tell you what it needs." There is more than 40 years of listening to my body behind that and what I get from it changes all the time. There is also a bunch of learning and studying behind it. For instance, my mother spent a lifetime with very soft nails which I inherited. By taking vitamin D3 at the appropriate dosage level, for me that is 6000 units on top of the standard daily vitamins, I no longer have such soft nails.
What this is all saying is, stay with your current regimen and you will see benefits in the future. You're going to have ups and downs and over time you will get more ups than downs.

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Just as an addition to all the other answers I would also suggest:

  1. Fix your gut microbiome and insulin resistance. Avoid sugar and starches, take prebiotics and probiotics regularly. I strongly recommend reading the "The Microbiome Diet" book by Dr. Raphael Kellman if you are interested in this subject, this is one of the best, most pleasant and most important books I've ever read.

  2. Consider taking an iodine supplement or adding iodine-reach foods (like seaweeds) to your regular diet if you don't have contraindications (WARNING: this can be dangerous in some conditions, you should better discuss this with a doctor!)

  3. Make sure you get enough sleep in a regular pattern and rest regularly (AFAIK you shouldn't be exercising on every single day, the same applies to dieting but this is a more complex subject in this context).

  4. Obviously: make sure to eat enough proteins and exercise regularly. AFAIK both muscle mass and running as well as eating proteins increase metabolism and overall energy.

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