An Uncommon, Yet Proven Method To Attack The Root Cause Of Exhaustion
“So often we hear that people who have weight to lose are just lazy and need to get moving. From my perspective these are people who have kids, have a spouse, have a job, serve their community. These people are not lazy! They just don’t have the energy!!”
-Jackie Wicks, PEERtrainer Co-Founder
One of the most common things people tell us is that they are tired and looking for more energy. Conventional wisdom holds that in order to stop feeling tired, one should get more sleep. One also hears that in order to stop feeling tired you should exercise moderately many times per week.
While it obviously makes sense to get more sleep and exercise, this advice is incomplete. We want people in the PEERtrainer Community (and elsewhere!) to know there is a specific, yet uncommon, method that is likely to help you stop being tired. Some of you have likely stumbled upon this over the years, but we thought it made sense to create an article to ensure that everyone knew this was an option available to them.
What is interesting about this method is that it was developed by someone who has coached some of the world’s top endurance athletes. We say this in order to make sure you take this suggestion seriously.
Our simple observation is that if this can help an endurance athlete become a world champion, it can absolutely help the “average” person gain more energy to live their lives in a happier more enjoyable way. If we can teach people some of the basic steps, they too can enjoy the benefits. And over the years, we have tested this exact idea within the PEERtrainer community. We have seen people incorporate these ideas, who then start to have more energy, enjoy movement more and even have the energy to start running races.
The coach we are referencing is Dr. Phil Maffetone, who is one of PEERtrainer’s Masterminds. He has coached ultramarathoner Stu Mittleman, Ironman Champion Mark Allen and even singers like James Taylor and Neil Diamond. He has also coached plenty of people simply looking to feel better. The key point here is that this methodology works for everyone.
What we are going to do here is first present Dr. Maffetone’s basic philosophy from his new book in bulleted format to make it as easy to understand as possible. We will then outline some of the simple steps that you can do yourself. Please note that this is an introduction and simplification of his method. But this basic outline is highly actionable.
Up to 90 percent of your energy at any given time can come from fat
The more energy you derive from fat, the better your fitness, health and human performance.
By improving your fat burning system, you will improve metabolic efficiency and have more physical and mental energy.
When you don’t produce the required amount of energy from fat, your body instead relies too heavily on sugar, usually producing fatigue.
This common symptom, fatigue, is one of the most common complaints heard by doctors.
To avoid fatigue and instead access unlimited energy from your fat burning system, two things must occur. First, you need to develop and utilize the body’s aerobic system. Second, you need to provide that system with the proper fuel in the form of food.
You also need to burn sugar, and fat and sugar are always burned at the same time. The question is how much of each to use. If you are tired it is likely you are getting much more energy from sugar.
From a weight loss perspective, when fat is not used for energy, it is stored in the body. In order to use more fat for energy, you must make some simple changes to your diet which are outlined below. In addition, you must start to exercise in a much slower manner than you are used to. In very simple terms this means less cardio and more walking or gentle exercise. It also means more exercise that you enjoy, that is not a chore.
Most People Will Resist This Specific Suggestion!
Over time you will start to build your aerobic base, and this will allow you to do more strenuous exercise in a way that will not make you feel so tired. But if you are like most people, this suggestion goes against everything you have been led to believe. To this, we simply say give it a shot and see how you feel.
We would also add that Dr. Maffetone has tested this idea on thousands of patients. His core observation, and life’s work, is that when people make the shift to burning more fat for energy, their entire health improves.
If you want to stop feeling so tired, know that when you do feel more rested, your entire life will improve.
Another reason this is such hard advice for people to really take action on is that most people think being tired is totally normal. It is funny, if you are overweight, you think to some degree that this is something out of the ordinary. But when you are tired, somehow this is normal. Even a badge of honor in some cases- if you are tired it must mean you are working hard at whatever you are doing!
What Foods Should I Avoid To Feel Less Tired?
We find that people are more willing to make some of the diet changes needed to make them less tired. The key is to find a diet plan that you are actually going to do. Before we start to talk about what to do to feel less tired, let’s talk about what not to do.
Unsurprisingly, the #1 step to take is to reduce high glycemic carbs. Things like bread, bagels, cereals, muffins, potatoes and sugar containing drinks.
These are nutrient poor foods, and if you have been part of PEERtrainer you know that switching away from these and toward a nutrient dense diet is one of the keys to losing weight. You have also seen that the solutions to many health problems have the same roots.
Simply reducing these fast or bad carbs can help adjust your sugar to fat burning ratio, and make you feel less tired. Breakfast is usually a prime risk zone for consumption of these bad carbs.
What is interesting is that this shift might sound totally rational, yet completely goes against the grain (pun intended) of what people normally do. Not eating processed carbs and sugars for breakfast might sound simple, but so few of us actually do this.
And oh, by the way, research has shown that when you make this shift in your diet you lower your risk for chronic disease!
What Do I Eat More Of To Help Me Feel Less Tired?
Again, this is nothing you haven’t heard before. You need to eat as much real food as possible. Anything in a package or that is processed is going to make you feel tired. Even “healthy” processed foods are not great for you.
Any fresh fruit or vegetable is going to make you feel less tired. This can be a great motivator because we all know that vegetables are good for us. But having the thought in your head that veggies can make you feel less tired can really help you get the motivation to make better choices during the day. If you have a good reason to do something, you will do it.
Another key feature of eating to feel less tired is to eat more good fats and fewer bad fats. The science behind this can be a little complicated, but the basic idea is to have balanced amounts of fat in your diet. To simplify this, most people don’t eat enough good fats.
The idea that certain fats are actually good for you is just starting to become common knowledge. Fats in general were demonized because of some faulty research several decades ago. We are just starting to recover from this.
Additionally, many vegetarian and vegan diets currently advocate extremely low levels of fat consumption. One reason that Dr. Joel Fuhrman has gained such traction is that he advocates high vegetables, but also advocates the consumption of nuts and seeds, which are rich in fat. (Not only does he advocate the eating of nuts and seeds but he actually does this. He is close to sixty and has an amazing amount of energy and physical strength.)
Dr. Maffetone says that final part of the diet to stop being tired is to eat “moderate amounts of high quality protein.” When you eat nuts you get both good fat and high quality protein.
For example a common trail mix containing cashews, almonds and pistachios has 13 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein per 1 oz serving. In addition, Dr. Maffetone, and other health experts, advise eating grass fed meat, and not eat meat that is fed grain and corn. The reason is that grass fed meat contains more healthy fats, while grain fed meat contains fewer of these healthy fats.
Conclusion And Summary
It is funny because when we are tired or fatigued we think we need to just get more sleep. But as you can see, some simple shifts in your diet and exercise can really make a difference. Reduce the carbs, increase the veggies, switch to grass fed meat when possible, go easy on the cardio (slow down and build your base!) and drink plenty of water. Of course there is a lot more to this.
But when you connect your diet to energy, and not just to getting more sleep, this will help you make better decisions. This is the first in a several part series on the work of Dr. Maffetone. If you have any doubt about the basic message presented in this argument, we want you to read this blog post from a PEERtrainer member who came to the site in 2009. She had a chronic condition, and eliminated the symptoms using the method described above. It works!
Advanced Topic: The Elimination Diet
For most people, a simple reduction in sugar combined with the basic diet adjustments detailed above will result in one feeling a lot less tired. However, for some people these shifts are not enough. We see people making “better decisions” but who still lack the energy they want, find it hard to lose weight “no matter what they do.”
A big percentage of these people benefit from taking an additional step of testing the removal of certain foods from their diet, for a short period of time. Gluten is a classic example of a food that is commonly removed. There are others as well. PEERtrainer has created a short webinar that teaches you exactly how to do this. Enter your email in the window below, and we will send it right to you.
You’ll have the option of watching the video or reading the transcript of the video. We have also created a series of additional articles that explain the science of the “elimination diet” and exactly how you go about testing this on yourself. Many people have seen a tremendous increase in their energy levels, often combined with a reduction in physical pain.
The reason for this, is that if you need to remove certain foods from your diet, it is because you react to them in some way. Often, this reaction causes inflammation. This inflammation can cause joint pain and other forms of physical pain. PEERtrainer has also created an easy to follow system that gently guides you away from many of these reactive foods. We call this the “PEERtrainer Cheat System.”
The PEERtrainer Cheat System is a simple to follow system for eating. The objective is to help guide you towards a way of eating that will make it easier to lose weight, give you more energy and help you feel better. The PEERtrainer Cheat System is a 26 page PDF that consists of two lists of foods, a description of the system, and a very simple incentive system.
Most importantly, The PEERtrainer Cheat System is something you cannot fail at. You can do as much or as little as you like. So, enter your email below and watch the video that we send you. Then quickly read the Cheat System. If you are one of those people who feels tired all the time, you may find that these two tools help you a great deal.