What to Do When You’re Too Tired to Work Out

What to Do When You’re Too Tired to Work Out

Exercise is so important and yet, fatigue can get in the way of getting in a good workout. If you find yourself too tired to work out, try focusing on these energy-enhancing strategies.

Take Care of Sleep First

Physical activity is so critical to all aspects of health including the brain, bones, blood sugar, heart, healthy aging, immune system, mental health, and more!1 That’s why it’s so important to exercise consistently. But it can be difficult to work out when you’re feeling tired. 

If you’re too tired to work out, one of the first issues to address is sleep—more specifically, lack of sleep. For adults, getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night is crucial to creating an efficient and effective exercise routine. 2

Here are some supplements to consider taking before bed to help support sound sleep:

  • Magnesium is a mineral involved in hundreds of processes in the body and when it comes to sleep, it has a relaxing effect that may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.3 A 2012 double-blind placebo-controlled trial found that taking 500 mg of magnesium daily increased sleep time and efficiency, while also decreasing cortisol (the “stress” hormone) and increasing melatonin (the “sleep” hormone).4
  • Speaking of melatonin, when taken as a dietary supplement in the evening, it may also help support sound sleep, especially the ability to fall asleep.5
  • Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is an important neurotransmitter that helps support the body’s ability to cope with stress, which is why it’s good for sleep, especially during stressful times.6
  • Valerian, hops, passionflower, and lemon balm are all herbs that can also help support sleep because they can help soothe and calm the mind before bedtime.7

Finding the Right Fuel

Food is the fuel that energizes the body so that’s why it’s so important to eat a whole-foods, unprocessed diet. And the flipside is also true: some foods can quickly drain your energy tank so they should be avoided or reduced.

In addition to avoiding heavily processed foods such as chips, bakery products, fast foods, and sweets, reducing the number of high-caffeine drinks and sugary sodas will also help protect energy levels.8 These drinks may give you an initial boost but they create an energy crash later.

To enhance energy before and after a workout, focus on foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish. By emphasizing these energy-enhancing foods and reducing processed sugary foods, you’ll have the energy you need to make your workouts rock. 

Through a combination of dietary supplements for sleep and a healthy whole foods diet, you will be giving your body the support it needs to have an energized, consistent workout routine.

For fueling and replenish after a workout, learn more about nature’s replenishing drink and don’t forget to follow @zhou_nutrition for more fitness and wellness tips!


  1. Ruegsegger GN, Booth FW. Health Benefits of Exercise. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med . 2018;8(7):a029694. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6027933/?report=reader
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much sleep do I need? 2022;Sept 14. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
  3. Schwalfenberg GK, Genuis SJ. The Importance of Magnesium in Clinical Healthcare. Scientifica (Cairo) . 2017;2017:4179326. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637834/?report=reader
  4. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci . 2012;17(12):1161-1169. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703169/?report=reader
  5. Fatemeh G, Sajjad M, Niloufar R, et al. Effect of melatonin supplementation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Neurol . 2022;269(1):205-216. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33417003/
  6. Hepsomali P, Groeger JA, Nishihira J, Scholey A. Effects of Oral Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Administration on Stress and Sleep in Humans: A Systematic Review. Front Neurosci . 2020;14:923. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7527439/?report=reader
  7.  Guadagna S, Barattini DF, Rosu S, Ferini-Strambi L. Plant Extracts for Sleep Disturbances: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020;2020:3792390. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7191368/?report=reader
  8. Fletcher J. Can foods help fight fatigue? Medical News Today. 2020;Mar 16. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/foods-that-beat-fatigue
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.