“If you're faced with exhaustion (like most New Yorkers), what's more beneficial - working out or going to sleep?”— Heather L., New York, NY
This is an excellent question. The first thing we need to address is what you define as exhaustion. Are you talking about feeling a little run down and fatigued or are you talking about chronic exhaustion, the kind that celebrities use as a cover when checking into rehab?
If you are talking about the completely run down, physically incapacitated, struggle to get out of bed kind of tired, you should avoid working out. In fact, you should see a doctor. There might be something else going on; an illness, an iron deficiency, an anxiety disorder. Your health isn’t something you want to leave to chance. This severe level of exhaustion, thankfully, isn’t the type of tired that most New Yorkers face.
In the case of feeling fatigued but not completely run into the ground, it is best to hit the gym. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, you don’t have to have to train like Rocky training to fight the Russian running around like a madman in the barren wilderness of Siberia. Push yourself but be kind to yourself; if you’re not as strong as you usually are, rest assured, that not every workout is created equal. Why are you tired? Do you have a touch of insomnia? If so, one of the best ways to address insomnia is with consistent exercise.
Here are my tips to ensure you get the best possible workout when you're tired:
1) Allow yourself a nice, long warm up so you can ease into the workout.
After you’re warmed up, do something intense for a minute to ninety seconds like sprinting, kettle bell swings at a fast pace, burpees, plyometrics, etc. Shocking your metabolism and stimulating blood flow just might energize you enough to get you through the rest of the workout.
2) Caffeine in moderation if you must. Moderate of course is the key word here; a cup of coffee or green tea. Stay away from the energy drinks or thermogenic pills. Remember Red Bull doesn’t give you wings, doing pull ups does.
3) A solid playlist. This is the one, non-negotiable item on the list. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought cheap, headphones from a deli because I forgot my headphones and needed “my workout music” to get me through my workout. I don’t know what they play where you work out, but being subject to the music blaring through the speakers at my gym is a huge obstacle to overcome in terms of meeting my fitness goals. Feeling tired may hinder my workout but Ke$ha is a workout-killer.
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