The Surprising Reason Exercise is Making You Tired and How to Make it Better

Jun 12, 2024



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Are you really struggling with your weight and energy levels? If so, I wanted to talk a little bit about this phenomenon called exercise intolerance. 


Normally I encourage women to get moving and to do the needle moving exercises like strength training with a bit of HIIT (high-intensity) as well as Sprint interval training plus everyday movement. But sometimes I will talk to a client who is describing that they are exhausted they feel terrible after their workout. They can't just work through it and just get through the workout. This is something that can happen in midlife for different reasons and it's called exercise intolerance.


There can be many reasons for exercise intolerance, but don't hear me wrong, I'm not saying that you're intolerant to exercise because maybe you don't like it. That’s an excuse, but I'm talking about actual physical things that are going on in your body that are pulling down your energy levels. 


I don't know about you but my energy levels drastically changed as I hit menopause and I do feel like I got to the point where I had some exercise intolerance. The symptoms I was experiencing were things like sleeping at night, difficulty getting out of bed first thing in the morning, needing hours of rest after exercise, or just doing anything very intense, 


I will say this: as estrogen declines, our energy declines, and that's why we need to make sure we are eating carbohydrates the Goldilocks way - the right carb in the right setting at the right time. We desperately need those carbohydrates because of the glucose. They nourish our thyroid and adrenals and help keep up our energy levels. 


So, you could be experiencing adrenal insufficiency which can happen in midlife as estrogen and other hormones decline. Hormones are basically your endocrine system, and so when one area is affected, other areas are affected as well. When estrogen goes out the door, cortisol levels rise and we have chronic stress, we are just eating up our energy. Our energy stores begin to get depleted, as well as our B vitamin levels which we need for energy, cellular health, and cellular and energy production. I recommend getting your B vitamins tested because while it is more common to be deficient, I have had some clients that have high B levels, and that can also make you feel bad. 


So we're just talking about energy here so if you feel like your life is a workout, you do not need to be working out intensely. You will want to work up to an intense workout level. If you aren't listening to your body, and it is talking to you, then you're working against yourself, and you're going to deplete energy levels. Continued drawing on your energy stores is going to stress your adrenals, and all of that is stressful on the body and contributes to belly fat gain. 


To find out if you are suffering from exercise intolerance I suggest you see an Integrative Healthcare practitioner to talk through your symptoms and get to what might be your underlying problem.


My personal protocol for recovery was to make RESTORE BEFORE MORE, my mantra for several months. I stopped doing intense exercises and went into recovery mode.


Initially, I expected a 3 month recovery time period but ended up needing more time than that. I have implemented new supplements and reduced the amount and type of exercises I was doing. Pickleball playing had to take a back seat because most days I simply didn’t have the energy or I would need to recover for a full day after a short game. When you give your body exactly what it needs with rest and restoration then when you are ready, and your energy levels are restored you can ease back into your workout routine.

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