DietRants

Why am I always tired? – 5 dietary tips to help you beat those 3 o’clock blues

By February 21, 2011 14 Comments

Those that have been reading this drivel for some time now, will know I’m little more than a devout realist. I won’t be giving you a bunch of seemingly helpful tips which are impossible to adhere to. Nor will I be entertaining the latest fads which are more often than not the result of some journalist latching onto to current affairs bullsh*t just to get published.

You know the ones I’m talking about right?

You see them posted on twitter every 5 seconds — Top 5 ways to get a six pack blah, blah, blah.

How about ‘The Top 5 ways to get the f*ck off the internet already’.

This BS does tend to grind my gears on a daily basis due to it’s commonality in the fitness world. I seem to ‘un-follow’ at least 2 or 3 supposed fitness gurus from Twitter every single day as they seem to want to update the world every time they do a protein fart. Spamming the internet may seem fun at the time, but it’s actually annoying and borderline retarded.

Stop. It.

Why always tired? - 5 dietary tips to help you beat those 3 o'clock blues

Where was I — Oh that’s right, I was going to explain why you’re always tired and give you a bunch of tips. These are my own tips mind you, not someone elses BS that I’ve copied for this blog. These are things I actually stand by.

#1 Eat high protein lunches

I ask a lot of people in the office kitchen come 3 o’clock why they are reaching for a cookie and a mug of coffee. The conversation goes something along the lines of:
Office person: God I need a little pick me up! So fricken tired.
Me: What did you have for lunch?
Office person: Two large peanut butter sandwiches
Me: <slaps own face>

This person has just ingested a days worth of carbs within four thick-cut slices of bread
No wonder they’ve crashed like Charlie Sheen behind the wheel.

Protein brother. You need to fill yourself up with something that offers a lot more satiety.

Switch the peanut butter for some turkey breast or lean beef. Better yet, ditch the bread and have a meat-laden salad.

What Clint would do: I’d go the man-salad any time of day over a sandwich. Plenty of fibrous fruits and vitamins topped with your favourite meat is a WIN in my book.

#2 Keep protein powder by your desk

Instead of reaching for a cookie and a cup of joe come 3 o’clock, mix a scoop of protein (whey, WPI, casein whatever you’ve got) in some low-fat milk. I guarantee it’ll pick you up, and you won’t crash at all – leaving you full until dinner time rolls around.

What Clint would do: If I don’t have protein ready at the office, I’ll just drink a glass of cold milk straight from the office fridge.

#3 Avoid too many morning coffees

What goes up, must come down – This is ultimately true with the ‘high’ you get from too many coffees in the AM. If you’re up to coffee number three by lunch time, there’s a high chance that you’ll be crawling on the floor searching for a peace of rock come 3 o’clock.

What Clint would do: Avoid caffeine when you can as the crash just isn’t worth the initial ‘boost’. Contrary to popular belief, decaffeinated coffee actually tastes like regular coffee (if you buy the right brands). I choose to drink green tea instead. If that isn’t around, water will suffice.

#4 Drink more water

Drinking more water will not only distract you from feeling hungry, but it’ll keep you energized. Dehydration will have you reaching for coffee, fizzy drinks, juices and all sorts of ‘instant fix’ options that will crash you later on, and add to the calorie count faster than a fat kid on a cupcake.

What Clint would do: When ever I think I’m hungry, I’ll re-fill my water bottle and have a decent swig from it. Nine times out of ten, the hunger will have subsided. (The other one time, I’ll go and buy a whole pizza and devour it. Just joking. But not really).

#5 Avoid simple sugars

Simple sugars are found in breakfast cereals, breads, fruits and of course and thing ‘candy’ related. If you skip breakfast and don’t eat until lunch time like I do, you’re tendency to go for these sugary foods will be largely negated.

What Clint would do: Give fasting a go, I reckon you’ll enjoy it. More good reports on it can be found here and here.

To wrap it up

Why you’re always feeling tired is often due to lack of sleep and missing a training session. More often than not, it’s diet related and caused by what you’re sticking in your pie hole during the hours preceding 3 o’clock.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More posts by Clint Nielsen

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • PAPA G says:

    Nice one Clint. I’ve been fasting over the 5 weekdays for about 4 weeks now, and enjoying it – but that afternoon crash keeps getting me, making me indulge in sugar and crap and undoing all the good work from the fast. Salad and shakes here I come!!

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      Gotta get that lunch (first meal after breaking fast) to be your biggest one of the day. That should have a huge bearing on your energy levels aswell.

  • And I thought this was going to be an advertisement for 5 Hour Energy Drink! Nice set of tips to keep you going all day long. I’m a big fan of fasting along with having a lunch with plenty of fruits and protein.

  • Clint,

    Eating low carb lunches makes a huge difference for me. These days I tend to stick with protein shakes or protein salads for lunch, but on the rare occasion I’ll go out and indulge with some friends, I’m about ready to fall asleep at my desk and nap until it’s time for me to go home.

    Alykhan

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      I’m in the exact same boat on that one – If i chow down on noodles, pasta or rice at lunch time, I’m ready for a power nap by 3.

  • Matt says:

    Clint, I’m gonna go off point here but…. You mentioned you are following the Leangains IF protocol. My question: what training regime are you doing? are you following the standard Leangains ‘big 4 5×5’ strength regime, Visual Impact or something else? Would love to know as am just about to begin VI with the Leangains IF protocol. Keep up the good, no BS approach. Loving it! Matt

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      No worries Matt – Currently I’m cycling Visual Impact. I am doing the second phase repeatedly (which just happens to be a 5×5 setup).
      Ill be mixing that up again closer to my USA trip in May to make sure I’m as lean as possible before I hit my body with a caloric overload. That’ll mean switching back to Phase 1 (which might be difficult to achieve whilst fasting so we’ll see).
      Lean gains wise – I’m still following this and have been since January 1st. 5 days a week however (6 if I’m extra lucky).

  • Matt says:

    Hey Clint,haha! 5 days a week, I hear you in that one, I very much doubt I will be able to keep it up on Friday and Saturday nights! So, phase 2 off VI eh? That’s cool. However, Martin B is a MASSIVE advocate of squatting. We both know that Rusty definitely is not! Ate you going to incorporate squats into phase 2 also or…..? Love getting your opinion. Have a good one. Matt

    • Clint Nielsen says:

      I’m also a big fan of squats ;)
      I tend to change Rusty’s program week to week as I bore easily. As an example, I do deadlifts on monday, then Ill do squats on the thursday instead.
      Rusty likes to remove a lot of leg work as he recommends a tonne of HIIT during the 2nd phase of VI.
      Im only doing 2 days of HIIT, so I feel like my legs need further work (hence the squats and deads).
      It’s really down to the individual — if you start looking like an inverted pyramid, it’s time to squat!

  • Clint:

    Spot on with the high-protein recommendations! There’s just no way you’re gonna be effective all day long if you’re using “rabbit food” as your fuel.

  • Clint,
    Very nice man! I couldn’t agree more – ditch the PB&J and go for a real man’s salad!

  • I’ve found that cutting back on the grains and sugar has pretty much eliminated my daytime fatigue. Those simple carbs have a way of wearing me down.

    Of course getting a good night’s sleep is crucial too, probably the most important factor in eliminating daytime fatigue.

    -Kris

  • Thanks for the great tips! Instead of dietary tips, you might want to check out other homemade cures to beat insomnia at my website above.

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