Do you feel too tired, too often?

Do you feel too tired, too often?

Do you feel too tired, too often?

If you feel too tired, too often, you might want to learn from this case study. Tom, a 45-year-old hard-core gym-rat met with me because he wanted to have more energy, eat better, and ideally lose a few pounds of excess body fat. Here is his spreadsheet for a typical day of food and exercise:

Time Food-Exercise Calories
5:00 am Mug of black coffee 0
5:30-6:30 Exercise x 1 hour (- 600)
7:30 Protein bar + banana 400
8:30 More coffee 0
9:30 Small packet almonds 100
Noon Salad/chicken/dressing 500
2:00 Piece of fruit 100
3:00 Iced coffee with milk 100
3:00-5:00 Tired, unable to focus
5:30 pm Gets home “starving”
Calories eaten during active part of his day Only


Ideal pre-dinner intake

for less fatigue

All day Total calories needed 3,000


No wonder, when Tom got home from work, he felt starved. He had consumed less than half the calories he deserved to have eaten for the entire day. He was running on fumes.

Three ways to fight fatigue

Here are three suggestions I gave Tom to fight fatigue:

#1. Eat a substantial breakfast and lunch—plus a second lunch. A second lunch at 3:00 or 4:00 boosts afternoon energy. It does not add extra calories; it’s just trading evening snacks for a healthy afternoon meal. You are better off eating those calories at the proper time of day, when you need the energy, and not before bed. Your goal should be to have eaten at least two thirds to three-quarters of your calories before dinner time.

#2. Limit caffeinated beverages. Little is wrong with enjoying a morning cup of coffee, but a lot is wrong with abusing coffee to keep you alert in the afternoon. Eat food for true energy, not caffeine, for a stimulant. A second lunch will easily reduce your afternoon caffeine intake (and that will enhance your ability to fall asleep more easily at night.

#3. Make sleep a priority. You might not be able to go to bed earlier every night, but maybe every other night you can manage to catch a few extra zzzz’s?

With best wishes for high energy,


For more information on how to fight fatigue:

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Written by Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD

Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD is an internationally respected sports nutritionist, weight coach, nutrition author, and workshop leader. She is a registered dietitian (RD) who is a board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD). She is also a certified WellCoach. Nancy specializes in nutrition for performance, life-long health, and the nutritional management of eating disorders. She counsels both casual exercisers and competitive athletes in her private practice in the Boston area (Newton, MA). Some of her clients consider her to be their food coach, others their food therapist. Regardless, she enjoys the challenge of helping sports-active people transform their suboptimal eating habits into effective fueling plans. Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, a best-selling resource, has sold over 550,000 copies and is now in it's new fifth edition.

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