This is a great article from James Fitzgerald of OPEX

 

Recently I have had a lot of consults in which clients report “afternoon fatigue.” Sound Familiar?

I’d be willing to bet at some point (if not now), you have experienced this too.

Sadly, “afternoon fatigue” is the root of a lot of evil things:

  • crappy workouts
  • over-consumption of stimulants
  • decreased productivity at work
  • decrease in sexual activity (Ok, I only hear that occasionally in consults, but I have heard it)

The reality is that this is not a new phenomenon, but it is often accepted as “normal.”

Let’s be clear – it is not meant to be normal, and it can be controlled.

You see, the “afternoon” is a period of time for most where the body is going through a period of transformation at each cell from growth and building to recuperation and recovery.

It happens just past where the sun is at its highest point in the sky relative to where you are.

For “most,” we all operate on the rhythm of the sun and moon.  A few things that can negatively affect this energy pattern are sleep disturbances, food sensitivities and “stress” (which comes in many forms).

Based on the consults I have been having, I have identified three key problematic areas, and how to fix them.

Try them – and I would love to hear your feedback about you how are feeling much more energized 🙂

1 – Lacking AM Protein.

Sounds simple, and really it is.  The easiest approach is a pure meat and nuts breakfast with low carb veggies added.  We can go a step further, and in some cases remove all starch/sugars in the morning period.

2 – A Hard lunch time training session without a proper cool down

It seems in vogue to talk about proper warm up protocols (foam rolling, banded distraction, dynamic, etc..) but rarely do I hear discussion around cooling down.  You see, after a workout the body is high on adrenaline and a fast drop causes disturbances in blood sugar as well as energy levels (mostly coming from cortisol hormone.)  This, combined with #3 (below) is a quick recipe for an afternoon nap at your desk.

A quick fix is to cool down slowly and allow your heart rate and temperature to come down naturally.

3 – Eating A “Quick Lunch.”

A meal, in large bolus form, goes through the system too fast.  The body simply cannot break it all down fast enough.  At this point, the gut is overworked and begins pulling energy from the natural rhythm (see #1) to digest.

The quick fix here is to sit down, and set aside a proper amount of time to eat.  Chew your food, stop rushing.  Any time saved by a “quick lunch” will only be wasted later by napping, or by performing poor quality work.  (oh yeah, and less sex?)

4 – High Sugar Based Meal at Lunchtime

If you have visited us here in Scottsdale, you know that Coffee flows freely in the mornings.  However, if you paid attention, you will also note that rarely see us heading out for that “afternoon pick me up” that so many seem to need.

I have seen that the majority of people that consume a high sugar lunch, immediately head out the door to follow this meal with a caffeinated beverage like coffee or soda.  If this is you – drop the carbs at lunch, and eat a protein and fat based lunch….in some cases, protein only (OMG yes I just said that – try it, and thank me later.)

Listen, we all experience days where we are more fatigued than others.  But to accept this afternoon fatigue as a “daily norm” is BS at best.

Implement these strategies and watch energy and productivity go through the roof.

Steven Kemp

About Steven Kemp

Co-owner of CrossFit North Devon, CrossFit Strength & Conditioning Coach & occasional Masters Competitor