Recently several clients have asked why they’re so tired before and during a workout……. why they can’t muster the energy to give it their all when they’re at the gym.  It’s a critical issue. If you don’t have the energy to work hard at the gym, you’re wasting your time.

This article will address the EIGHT (8) issues that might be preventing you from having the energy to put in a workout that will result in you getting bigger and stronger.


#1 Reason – You’re Overtraining

We’re all gung-ho when we start our new gym workouts, thus many of us go to the gym 5 or 6 times a week.  Often, we love the experience and decide to continue to go to the gym 5 or more times a week.  It may lead to overtraining, and thus a loss of energy and a reduction in your muscle gains.

Going to the gym 5 or 6 times a week can work if you only do one body part per week.  That’s certainly acceptable, as long as you don’t spend more than 45 minutes a day at the gym. I find that 40 to 60 minutes is all you should do each day.  Otherwise, you’re gradually wearing yourself out, even if you do just one body part each day. Some guys get great results by doing 30 minute workouts.


#2 Reason – You’re Eating the Wrong Food

One of the top reasons you don’t have the energy to power through your workout is your diet – the food you eat every day.  You might have guessed this one. You probably know some of the things you eat are not what you should be eating, but you’re not exactly sure what you should be consuming.

We could write a book on the right foods to eat and in fact here is an article that might help.  In this article, we’re going to concentrate on a few ways to clean up your diet so you’ll have more energy for your gym time.   Here are a few foods to avoid and some suggestions on what to replace these with.

  • Nachos, all chip dips, and all prepared salad dressings. – These all have an immense amount of calories and sugar.  Substitute these with salsa and vinaigrette dressing.
  • Fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt – You have no idea how much sugar is in those products. Stick to plain or Greek yogurt and add your own fresh fruit and nuts.
  • Cereal and Pop Tarts – almost anything packaged for breakfast is a disaster for your diet.  Most breakfast cereals are chock full of sugar and ingredients that sound like they come from another planet.  Substitute these with natural oatmeal.  It’s delicious and good for you.  You can add bananas, fruit and your choice of nuts.
  • All processed snacks like cookies, candy and chips – They’re all bad for you and you know it. When I get a craving for something sweet, I use dried fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth.  Dried mangos are my current favorite.
  • ADD more protein and fresh vegetables – these are what you should concentrate your diet on. Choose chicken, turkey breast, fresh fish, and red meat. Concentrate on eating things with one ingredient….. Broccoli. Spinach. Apples.  Only buy what you can eat a couple days at a time.


#3 ReasonYou’re Not Eating the Right Food Before and After Your Workout.

You’ve got your workout routine down so that you’re making progress.  It may be time to take a step back and look at what you’re putting into your body before and after your workouts.

Are you eating enough protein, carbs, and fat before you hit the gym?  Are you consuming the proper foods after exercising to make the most of your gym workouts?

If you don’t know what to eat before the gym, here is the lowdown.

Even though you may be tempted to skip a pre-workout meal, don’t. Not eating before a workout can result in low blood sugar, which can make you have less energy for your workout.

You don’t need to eat too much.  That can be counterproductive and can backfire and make you sluggish. So eat something as simple as a banana and some oatmeal—it’ll maximize your energy and your gains.
Other options would be fruit and yogurt or whole grain bread with peanut butter. You’ need some carbs and some protein.  I often have a cup of coffee to give me a little extra energy.
Another option is a pre-workout drink.  I have done this in the past.  It’s totally acceptable and most of them will give you some caffeine along with added vitamins and nutrients.  Often you’ll get a little buzz from them.  They can help give you some extra energy for your workout.

If you have been going to the gym continuously for more than six (6) months or a year, it might be time for a change.  Try Crossfit for six months.  Try a boot camp in the local park.  Try bodyweight workouts at home or in the park.

The additional nutrient that you may be missing is Vitamin D, a critical energy- and immune-boosting vitamin which comes from exposure to the sun when you’re outdoors.  A recent study detailed the positive effects of an outdoor activity.  It has been shown that exercising in natural environments is associated with greater feelings of revitalization, a decreases in tension, anger, and depression, and it can be demonstrated that we experience increased energy when we exercise outdoors.


#5 Reason – Drink More Water

You might have guessed this would be one of the reasons why you don’t have the energy that you need to have a great workout. You’ve heard this solution to many issues.  Being hydrated is an important part of getting and staying healthy.

You’ve got to stay hydrated to keep your energy levels high. If you’re not fully hydrated when you go to the gym, you’re not going to have the energy that you’ll need to have a great workout  Even mild dehydration can cause fatigue.

Make sure you’re drinking something all day long.  I keep a bottle of sparkling water at my desk all day.  Even liquids such as coconut water, herbal tea and flavored water will help keep you hydrated. To make sure you’re drinking enough, check the color of your urine—anything darker than pale yellow, and you’re not fully hydrated.


#6 Reason – Drink Less 

Alcohol, that is.

Drinking too much alcohol has a negative effect on your whole body and has side effects. Aside from hangovers that you have to endure after a long night out, drinking too much weakens your immune system, making you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses.

Besides, alcohol is a major depressant for sex and energy.  So if you’re planning on working out or having sex (what a choice), make sure you don’t drink. Your performance will suffer.


#7 Reason – Eat Fewer Carbs

Eat less of the food that is white  – white flour, white sugar, and all of the processed snack foods that are made with these ingredients.

These processed carbs can do nothing good for you.   They can make your waistline grow, and they won’t give you any sustained energy.

Your body absorbs the energy in simple carbohydrates very quickly. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates are like time-release energy for your body.

Make sure you get the majority of your carbohydrates in the form of vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Your body takes longer to break these down, which means you get a steady supply of energy for your workout.


#8 Reason – Get More Sleep

How many times have you heard that?

Yes, I know, it seems like it’s a solution to just about everything.  The truth is it will improve much of your life if you can get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Seven (7) hours is the goal.

Getting enough sleep is critical for health and well-being. Lack of sleep is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. YIKES.

Not to mention that sleep is the time when the hormone testosterone is made and when your body makes the muscles that you work so hard to get.

The number one symptom of low testosterone is low energy, and since testosterone is made when you sleep it’s crucial to get 7-8 hours a night.



So here are eight (8) things you can do, drink or eat that will give you the energy you need to have a great workout.

Many of these are things you’ve heard a hundred times before, and some are things you know you should do and just haven’t taken the steps necessary to implement them.

Try a few of the ones that speak to you and see if you don’t have more energy when you go to work out.

If you have comments, additions about anything in this article. please leave it below in the comment section.  We welcome feedback.

See you at the gym.


Published by "W" Tucker

I've been a fitness enthusiast for many years and want to encourage guys over 40 to get and stay in shape. It makes life better, and makes you look and feel better.

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  1. This is really cool. I just started hitting the gym consistently because I want to lose some of this weight and get some abs lol. I’m glad I came across this article because I go to the gym 5 times a week and work multiple body parts each time. Now that I know that I was setting myself up failure, I can make the change. I am definitely going to working out one body part each day a week and watch my diet. Do you have any tips on how to lose weight? Great article, going to share this on facebook.

    1. So glad you’re working out.  It’ll make you feel and look terrific.  I’ve written a lot about losing weight but the one that probably applies to you is this one : https://muscleandfitnessworkou…  I hope this helps. 

      Thanks for the comments

  2. Hi “W” Tucker
    I love everything that has to do with the movement of the human body. According to all the secrets, how to feed properly before and after workouts. Rest, not drink alcohol, sleep well. I am jogging 2 or 3 times a week in the outdoor field along with my dogs. I feel “Super”. Great post!

    1. thanks for the comments.  you sound like you’re taking care of yourself  You’re to be congratulated. 

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