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Why am I always tired?

Q: Why am I always tired? I sleep a lot and only train three times a week for about an hour, so I don’t think I’m overtraining. Plus, energy drinks don’t help the cause.

www.ironmanmagazine.comA: First, taking stimulant drinks is not the answer—especially the types sold at most gas stations and mini-marts that contain high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS is a manufactured sweetener with no nutritional value that can upset your blood sugar and cause chronic fatigue.

The three most common causes of fatigue I find among trainees are food intolerance, nutritional deficiencies and impaired neurotransmitter function.

Food intolerance. You may be eating a very clean diet but unknowingly have an intolerance to otherwise healthful foods. Eggs are a great source of protein, but if you have an inflammatory reaction to them, eating eggs is bad for you, and the stress they put on your immune system can be a source of fatigue.

Nutritional deficiencies. These often come from improper food choices. For example, many people abstain from eating fats without realizing that we need fats to help us absorb minerals. Minerals are key energy factors. Some people who lack energy think they can resolve the problem by eating more carbohydrates, but choosing the wrong carbohydrates can deplete B-vitamins, which are essential for energy production.

Impaired neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that tell your brain what you are supposed to feel. So if you need more drive, you’ll need more dopamine. The best thing you can do to restore neurotransmitter function is take inositol. Also, a deficiency in D3 or magnesium can cause fatigue.

If you have a problem with low energy, one of those three factors may be the cause. Once you identify the cause, you’ll know what to do to get your energy back.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad on the opposite page.   IM

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