Why Am I So Tired?
Periodic fatigue is normal. It’s natural, and dare say it, it’s common.
Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, is much more insidious, invading our everyday life and causing other problems like brain fog, malaise, and lack of motivation. The general lack of energy that comes from fatigue might be physical, mental, emotional, or a mix of all three.
Fatigue is one of the top reasons why pole dancers get injured or take breaks from pole.
There are, unfortunately, a very wide range of possibilities that may be contributing to feeling fatigued, such as overtraining, pregnancy, inadequate sleep, stress, anxiety, depression, diabetes, anemia…
The list can go on for a mile.
For pole dancers, however, the impact is most often felt the most during training sessions, especially if you’re running out of stamina in the middle of routines, or feeling a lack of motivation to get on the pole in the first place.
Pole is our source of joy, it’s love, and the highlight of the day for many of us.
It’s not a helpless cause – just because you’re feeling fatigued doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line.
In this article, we cover some of the more common ways you can deal with (and reverse) fatigue, regain your energy levels, and start feeling that spark of joy again.
Eat More Often (and Healthier)
Eating fuels your body.
There’s no secret there.
A lack of suitable food can greatly impact your energy levels throughout the day, especially if you don’t eat often enough.
Eating more often can help you sustain energy levels (1) because you’re not allowing your blood sugar to fluctuate harshly up and down, and no crash means no loss in energy.
When you start giving your body what needs, cutting out junk, and paying attention to what goes in your body, you’ll be astonished by how junk food starts to lose its appeal in lieu of healthier foods.
Start portioning your meals.
You might find the idea silly – portioning meals, really? Right after you just said to eat more often? – but it’s not a suggestion to cut down on what you eat, just how much you eat at one time. By tracking what you eat throughout the day, you’ll be able to better asses where your macros (carbs, fat, and protein) are currently and where they need to be according to your lean mass and weight.
Always eat before pole class.
Skipping a meal before class will lead to a definite lack of energy throughout the rest of the day that can be hard to shake.
You never want to pole dance hungry because all it accomplishes is putting your body into a sort of “starvation mode” where it will store fat, cause fatigue, and increase your risk for injuries as your body looks for shortcuts in the movement to save energy.
Maintain a healthy relationship with food
Always remember to maintain a healthy relationship with your food, no matter what you’re eating. Food is fuel for your body and it’s critical to keep it healthy for your emotional and mental state as well.
Eating something that isn’t considered “healthy” is no reason to feel guilty. Put cheat days in place so you guarantee you stuff your face with as much junk as possible on one day a week, if you have to.
Don’t deny yourself that piece of chocolate if you’re on your monthly. Don’t berate yourself for wanting dessert after your dinner out with family.
You don’t have to eat “rabbit food” even if you decide to go (or are) vegan. There’s more to life than plain lettuce and dry nuts as a meal.
Want to make a salad? Go for a mix of mustard greens, spinach and kale with cranberries, walnuts, cheese (or faux-cheese) crumbles, diced boiled eggs, carrot slices, beets, and a nice balsamic vinaigrette.
That’s a salad.
Trying to eat healthy means you just get a different variety of delicious, hearty meals.
It’s not a diet – don’t think of it like that.
Nor is it a weight-loss regimen.
It’s your body. Your health.
Get Better Sleep for Better Pole Dance Progress
As humans, we have a circadian rhythm that helps our bodies produce melatonin when it gets dark so we can naturally fall asleep with the sun and get up with the sun.
This is a bit harder to do in today’s modern era where we use electric lights to extend our days and wake up mid-morning to look at the notifications on our phone.
While we are sleeping, however, each sleep cycle is typically in 90-minute intervals. Each of these cycles contain five different stages of sleep. Having a consistent bedtime and wake up time that coincides with those 90-minute interval cycles will leave you feeling more energized throughout the day.
Pay Attention to Your Individual Circadian Rhythm
Would you believe that each you have an individual circadian rhythm? (2)
It makes sense, when you consider that some of us are night owls and others are morning larks.
When do you have the most energy during the day? When you have a good night’s sleep, what time of day do you shine the brightest?
If you’re able to sync your sleep schedule with your own individual circadian rhythm, you’ll be surprised at how incredible you feel during the day in comparison to forcing yourself awake at a “normal” time.
Reduce Stress to Increase Your Gains
Emotional exhaustion is a very real problem, especially if you tend to overwork yourself at the job, or if you’re going through a particularly tough time in your life.
These feelings can come all at once or build up over a period of time. If you don’t have an outlet for this stress, you’ll overload your body.
Fatigue is a symptom of consistently high stress.
You can reduce stress by practicing self-care. Take some leisure time and read a book, take yourself out on a date, whatever makes you happy:
Soak in a bath and pamper yourself in ways you might not normally, like taking extra time to add bubbles to the bath, giving yourself a thorough shave, or mindfully lotioning your skin – with glycerine-based lotion, of course! Learn more about how lotion affects your skin in pole dancing here.
Cut the Caffeine and Alcohol
There’s plenty of evidence that suggests that caffeine (3) and alcohol can greatly affect your levels of fatigue, effectively “borrowing energy” from your body later to give it to you now. This is part of why you tend to crave caffeine or alcohol a little after ingesting some; the body is looking for that spike of energy again, but simply continues to borrow more and more from your body later.
“Caffeine actually aggravates adrenal exhaustion and low blood sugars, amplifying the anxiety and stress symptoms [of] fatigue.”
Alcohol might make you feel drowsy, and it most certainly is a sedative, but among many other symptoms post-hangover, it also disrupts the chemicals involved in a good night’s rest, meaning that you might get plenty of time to sleep, but your body hasn’t properly recovered during the night, so you’ll just feel more worn down the following few days, even if you just had one drink.
Drink More Water
Water fuels the body, greases the grooves, and allows your body to function better overall.
Maybe it’s not terribly surprising, but dehydration can cause or exacerbate fatigue.
What many people don’t know is that you might not even feel dehydrated if you don’t have enough water in your body. If your body isn’t absorbing the water, then your body isn’t receiving the benefits.
Make sure you’re getting enough water for your weight and activity level. Many people drink as little as one glass of water per day, whereas the average adult male needs about 3.7 litres of water, and 2.7 litres for women.
This, of course, doesn’t take into account any sort of intense or rigorous physical activity, like if you were training for a pole dancing competition or going to multiple pole classes each week.
A good rule of thumb is to half your body weight and drink one ounce of water per pound.
For example, if you weigh 120 pounds (54.4 kg), then you would half your body weight to get 60 lbs (27.2 kg.)
That would mean that someone who weighs 120 pounds should drink about 60 ounces, or 1,774 ml of water each day.
Get Plenty of Vitamins
Fatigue can easily be caused by a lack of proper nutrition, and while taking vitamins is never fun, it will make you feel much better during the day.
Consider taking a complete multivitamin for your gender and age range.
If you’re training for a pole competition or looking to put on some muscle, you might want to consider adding extra supplements like creatine, which is a natural substance found in your muscles that helps improve exercise performance by providing your muscles with more energy. (4)
Get Your Cardio On
If your pole sessions are a simple warm up followed by tricks or transitions, then a cool down, then it’s not enough for a balanced, health exercise regimen.
Your body might strong as all get out on the outside, but the heart itself is still a muscle and tends to be forgotten in favor of strengthening the rest of the body.
If you find yourself without the stamina to complete your routines or running out of breath during a mild exercise in pole class, then chances are, you need a little more cardio in your life.
A high resting heart rate is also a likely indicator of needing more cardio and can cause your body to sweat more – which means you’re more likely to slip off the pole.
Consider adding a sprint around your neighborhood block to your daily routine, or try cycling – or get in on some pole cardio routines!
1, SHN Staff, Sugar crash effects and how to fix them, retrieved from https://news.sanfordhealth.org/healthy-living/sugar-crash-effects/
2, Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Individual Variation and the Genetics of Sleep, retrieved from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/science/variations/individual-variation-genetics
3, Everyday Health, Can Caffeine Relieve Your Chronic Fatigue?, retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/relief-with-caffeine.aspx
4, Healthline, Creatine 101 – What Is It and What Does It Do?, retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine#what-it-is