The Psychology Of Fitness

Mindsets, Body Types and Everything In Between
Tuesday Psych Post ~ How to get your energy levels right!

Tuesday Psych Post ~ How to get your energy levels right!

In last week’s psych post, I talked about the 11 most common ailments that cause someone to be excessively fatigued and therefore state that they have “low motivation.”

Today’s post will talk about what you can do to ensure that long-term low energy isn’t sucking up your motivation.

All of the examples can be broken down into two categories:
1 – Physical blocks that cause Psychological (low motivation, low self-discipline, etc) blocks.
2 – Psycholgical (How you think, what you believe, etc) blocks that cause Physical (low motivation, decreased energy, placebo effect, etc) problems.

With that said, almost all of the posts I’ve put up have been about the second category – Psychological blocks that cause physical problems. And although I will touch upon that with the first problem in this post, this post is really about the Physical problems that can cause psychological blocks. Let’s get started.

1 – Placebo effect ~ In last week’s post, I talked about how if you believe that exercise is going to suck, then it most likely will.  I talked quickly about the placebo effect.  Here’s a video that talks about it in a bit more detail – with some interesting factoids included:

What’s the best way to combat the placebo effect?

Take control over your beliefs.  Many of our beliefs are so implied, so implicit that we don’t even recognize that they’re there.  The first step in being able to take control over them is to make sure that you’re in control of your beliefs.  How do you do that?  Follow the seven steps in this post, along with the 5 additional steps to rid yourself of your most limiting beliefs.

Read – How to Change Your Beliefs Towards Exercise here.

2 – An intolerance to certain foods – Personally, there are a number of food panels that can help identify a number of food intolerances that you may be having.  My personal favorite is Mediated Response Testing with LEAP protocol.  Studies have recently shown that although you may not have an “allergy” to certain foods, you can be intolerant.  Those intolerances can cause a myriad of problems throughout your body from increased seasonal allergies, to IBS, to bloating, canker sores and migraine headaches.  In other words, almost any “weird,” yet small and seemingly innocuous problems you may be having can be linked back to the foods you’re eating.

For example, do you have brittle nails or bad split ends?  The causes of that can be due to a sluggish thyroid.  But did you know most thyroid symptoms are auto-immune problems?  And did you know that most auto-immune problems are caused by the foods you’re eating, acting as a stimulus for your body to attack itself?

What’s the best way to learn what you’re intolerant to?  Go on an elimination diet.

Take everything out of your diet that are the “usual suspects” of slight allergies.  This includes gluten, casein, nuts, eggs, lactose, soy, sugar and anything else you notice you get sniffles whenever you eat that food.  One of the first ways that I learned about my gluten intolerance was that my mouth would produce more saliva every time I ate bread or had a beer.  I thought it was weird, but didn’t think too much of it.  Now, 6 years later, I know almost instantaneously when I’ve had a food with gluten in it, although I was confident that it didn’t, from that extra saliva.

Back to my point on the elimination diet.  If you’re going to follow this diet, it’s not going to be easy.  But if you’ve had symptoms that you just can’t get past, I can almost guarantee that following an elimination diet will help you to either find the offending foods or have you feeling better, within 3 weeks time.  It’ll almost feel like a “miracle.”

3 – Poor gut health – Poor gut health is typically caused by offending foods.  Sometimes though, it’s not caused by an intolerance to certain foods, but instead from eating crappy foods for so many years that your HCl levels or digestive enzymes just aren’t up to par with being able to digest and absorb the food that you’re taking in.

If you truly have poor gut health, but no food intolerances, the solution is pretty simple:
1 – Take 40 – 80 grams of glutamine a day, split into 4-8 servings for 10 days. Then take 10 grams a day, split into two 5 gram doses. 
2 – Take HCl pills with heavy meals and start to take digestive enzymes 10-30 minutes before your meals.

This protocol will help with most of your issues.  You can also take high quality fish oil, which will help with chronic inflammation, which will help to heal the gut and take probiotics which helps in the final step of digestion.

If you have this problem, you should also go to your doctor and see if you have any vitamin deficiencies.  Vitamin deficiencies can be rampant when you’ve had a poor diet that’s disrupted the digestion and absorption of the foods you’ve been eating.

In the interim, take a good multi-vitamin.

4 – Dysbiosis, especially with Candida overgrowth – If you have a constant sugar craving, it could be candida.  Or it could be that you’re addicted to the dopamine rush you get from eating sugar or the serotonin “high” you get after eating it. Either way, if you have a true Candida overgrowth, you can test it.  As for combating it, there are a number of ways, but the bottom line is this:
1 – You would need to adhere to a low-carb diet.  This means you would have to eat mostly meats and vegetables.
2 – If you have a Candida overgrowth, you should also follow the protocol to heal your gut as it can be a problem.
3 – Take Pau D’Arco Tea – two times a day for 8 days, then stop.
4 – Follow this link and read their protocol for getting rid of Candida.

5 – Undiagnosed Anemia – I’m not going to lie, I don’t know much about this symptom, but both my sister and one of my good friends were diagnosed with Anemia and before they were, exercising for them was pure hell.  In other words, go to your doctor and get tested for this.  This symptom is more prevalent in women than men, but can be a problem if left undiagnosed.

6 – Neuro-Transmitter imbalance – This one is interesting.  I think most neuro-transmitter imbalances are caused from either a food intolerance, poor gut health or poor sleeping habits.  As such, I think if you can fix those issues, this issues can then be fixed with some relatively cheap supplements.

As such, fix your poor gut health as described above.  As for your sleep habits, this really should be a full post, but I will say this:

1 – Take magnesium and inositol.  Start with a low dose of inositol – 1/4 of a teaspoon and over the span of a week or two, increase to 4 grams before bed.  Taken with the magnesium and you should sleep better.

2 – Make sure that you’re room is extremely dark and you’re room is at a comfortable temperature.   Turn off your computer or TV 30 minutes before bed.

3 – You can add other sleep agents, such as Z-12 or melatonin.

With that said, you can start to fix any nuro-transmitter imbalances by reading The Ultramind Solution by Mark Hyman.

Seriously, after that, there are supplements that you can take to fix any “imbalances” but that book will serve you better than any vague advice I can give you here.

7 – Hormonal Imbalances – There are so many ways to screw up one’s hormones.  The first step in correcting any hormonal imbalances though is getting a snapshot of how your hormones and body is currently functioning.

You can go to direct labs and order their Comprehensive Wellness Profile, without a doctor’s orders.  If you live in NY or NJ though, it won’t be so easy though.  So plan on taking a trip out of state.  Connecticut if you’re from NY or PA if you’re from NJ.

8 – Blood Sugar Disregulation – There are a number of tests you can get your doctor to run to see if you need to start controlling your carb intake.  The three most important tests, and best from a price perspective are:

1 – Fasting Blood Sugar – This should be Primary test.  If you’re only going to run one test, for blood sugar, this is the one.  This test is done after 12 hours of no food.  It helps to show what your body is doing to break down glycogen over night.

Fasting Insulin – if you’re insulin resistance, do these two together and can tell a lot about the proportion of blood sugar and insulin.  There isn’t a normal number for Fasting Insulin and therefore the ratio is more indicative.  For example, you shouldn’t be making a lot of glucose at night, which means your insulin should be low.

The “norms” for Fasting Blood Sugar is 99mg/dL.  “Normal” though is too high by at least 20%.  Optimal is 70 mg/dL

If it’s too low, your brain won’t function too well.

If you have “normal” blood sugar, aka, if you’re number is 99 and is “normal” by the lab, but optimal is 70, your risk of a heart attack goes up by 30%.  The ratio of risk to increase in mg/dL is 1 to 1.  Every increase in blood sugar, your risk of a heart attack goes up 1%.

2 – Hemoglobin A1C – When have high blood sugar, the sugar attaches to hemoglobin, instead of oxygen and is called glycation.  This test gives you a 3 month average of your blood sugar (glycation occurs everywhere).  Normal for this test is 5.7 – if it’s over that, you already have signs of insulin resistance.

3 – Glucose Tolerance Test – For this test, they give you a really high glucose load and then measures what happens to your blood sugar and insulin over the next 3 hours.  You will get different results from Fasting Blood Sugar and you should do both tests.  The “normal” glucose tolerance test is 140, when it really should be 110.  Another 30 point difference and now the odds of a heart attack are 2 to 1.  That means that there’s an increased risk of a heart attack of 60% from the “normal” number and the “optimal” number.

9 – Altered Cortisol Diurnal Variation – This is just a fancy term for low energy in the morning and more at night.  I’ve had this issue for years.

For this, you can do a number of things.

1 – The first is pay attention to your sleep habits and follow the guidelines given above.

2 – Pay attention to your stressors – If you feel constantly run down, then this can be from low cortisol all the time.  If you’re tired all the time, but haven’t been overly stressed by life, definitely get a food panel done.  You should also learn to be able to handle your stress better.  For me, writing is my outle and working out obviously also helps me immensely. 

Three other ways to reduce stress that research has shown is through Meditation and Yoga, while also having meaningful conversations with loved ones.  If you can learn methods for helping you to cope with stress and you’ll be well on your way to combating this issue.

3 – As a third and last resort, take supplements that will help with your cortisol levels.  If you don’t have issues with blood pressure, take panthetine as soon as you wake up along with breakfast and lunch.   Also, take licorice supreme with breakfast, for 2 weeks straight.  If you’re following that, along with the sleep recommendations and stress reduction techniques, you should be well on your way of fixing your low morning energy.

10 – Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies – There are two ways you can handle this, via your doctor or on your own.  I would personally do both.  Go to LEF.org and you can pretty much test for any vitamin/mineral deficiency along with a number of other tests.

11 – Mitochondrial damage – This is the “powerhouse” of your cells and is also the cell structure most sensitive to free radical damage.  I have this one as last, because it’s usually a byproduct of anemia, blood sugar issues or metal toxicity –   Fluoride, Mercury,arsenic, aluminum, etc.

1 – For this one, you want to get tested – Get comprehensive blood work done to rule out blood sugar issues or anemia.  If you’re deficient in certain vitamins, the Krebs cycle (what the mitochondria uses to make energy) will not work correctly.

2 – Also, get an Organic Acid Test, which will help to assess the citric acid cycle cofactors.  Go to Metametrix.com to find more information about that test.

In the interim, you can take resveratrol from a reputable company – Biotest or Charles Poliquin and a good multi-vitamin.  In general though, I would make sure that you don’t have other issues going on.

So there you have it, the 11 most common ailments for chronic low energy and what to do about it.

Seriously though, many people don’t have a clue about any of these issues.  These are just things that people NEVER hear about. People think it’s all about self-control, self-discipline or willpower while never taking into consideration that we live in a giant science experiment. This giant science experiment is perpetuated by the growing amount of man-made chemicals that have the power to disrupt every single aspect of our health – from a slight hormonal imbalance, to effecting our genes and passing those genes down via epigenetic factors onto your children.

One of the most important steps in combating this giant science experiment is a good liver.  A good liver helps to clear your hormones at an optimal rate and helps to detox the 500+ chemicals that we ingest daily through our foods, water and air.

A good liver is best supported via proper Vitamin and Mineral ranges and proper amino acid co-factors.  There are 2 major detoxifying pathways in your liver – Phase 1 and Phase 2 detoxification. Both play roles in helping to clear out the toxins that come into our body. What both of those phases require though are adequate vitamins/minerals along with amino acids – aka, eat nutritious foods, take a good multi-vitamin and ensure your protein intake is adequate.

Beyond that, the most important structure for long-term health, energy and the ability to see results from working out come from your gut.  Your liver can detox the substances, but if those substances get stuck at “elimination” you will still be toxic.  Where those toxic substances typically go from there are your fat cells.  This is never a good thing.

This is also the reason why organic foods are better.  Forget about the studies that show conventional and organic foods have the same amount of vitamins and minerals – because for the most part, you’re not buying organic because of what’s in the food. You’re buying organic for what’s NOT included with the foods.  This means, the hormone disruptors, the organophosphates, etc that can disrupt fat loss, cause mitochondrial damage, damage your gut, etc.

This is a mammouth of a post and as such, I am going to keep this up here for a little bit (probably until Friday).  I think it’s important enough to be completely read.

Also, if you look at what I think are the most important supplements for general health and increasing energy, you’ll see an almost duplication of the recommendations I made for Fat Loss. This is not a coincidence. I believe health, energy and hence fat loss all go together.

The two most important aspects with Fat Loss are consistency with working out and the ability to stick to a diet. Why do most people stop working out? They either don’t have enough energy or they get sick. Stay healthy and have energy and you can workout on a more consistent basis. Also, what is a major physical problem with people on a diet? Their energy levels. What’s the best way to combat that? Make sure you’re eating foods that are nutritious for you. These concepts are all inter-related and all go together.

As many people don’t know about these “hidden” dangers that hold back fat loss, energy levels and health, I think it’s important to get the word out. Therefore, if you can either email people this link or post onto Facebook, it would be appreciated.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this post or about having a personal trainer in Hoboken, please email me at John@PersonalResultsTraining.com.

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