How to Fight Fatique

Question: Lately, I have been feeling sluggish. Can you provide nutrition tips that could improve my energy level? 


Answer: There could be many reasons why you feel tired. Here are a few reasons and ways on how you can fight fatigue:

  • Make sure you are drinking enough water. It is estimated that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Being dehydrated can make simple tasks seem more difficult and can also make you feel groggy in the mornings when you wake up and in the afternoons. Because thirst may not be a good indicator of hydration status in some people, drink according to a schedule. The most hydrating beverages include water and skim milk.


  • Are you getting regular exercise? While exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you’re tired, lack of exercise can actually cause feelings of fatigue. To help you get started, find a health buddy to exercise with you or make an appointment with a personal trainer to customize your workout plan. A quality exercise plan includes aerobic, strength training, and flexibility exercises, but the best plan is the one you are willing to do! Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, especially if you have any medical conditions that may limit your activities.


  • Eat less refined carbohydrates and sugary foods. Refined carbohydrates are foods made mostly from white flour. These foods are digested very quickly and can cause fluctuations in blood sugar that may cause you to feel tired. Replace them with whole grain foods and you’ll get more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals plus fewer fluctuations in blood sugar levels- all of which may help you feel better overall. To determine if a food is a whole grain, check the ingredient list for the word “whole” towards the beginning. Limit sugar consumption by cutting back on sugary drinks, like regular soda, lemonade, fruit drinks, and limiting sweets. 


  • Include a good source of protein at each meal. Healthy sources of protein include lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, soy protein, nuts, and nut butters, and legumes and peas. Including a good source of protein will help keep you feeling satisfied between meals.


  • Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement. Your current diet may not be providing all the essential vitamins and minerals and you may have a deficiency. For example, iron deficiency anemia can cause feelings of fatigue. 


  • Are you getting enough sleep? Many times, people feel tired because they don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night or because their sleep is frequently interrupted.


  • Other reasons could include not getting enough calories, carbohydrates, or skipping meals.

For more personalized instruction, consider having your current eating plan evaluated by an American Family Fitness Registered Dietitian.  For pricing or to schedule an appointment, please email

Pam Speich is the Director of Nutrition Services at American Family Fitness and the Registered Dietitian at the Short Pump American Family Fitness location. She graduated from Carson Newman College with a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors in Foods and Nutrition with an Emphasis in Dietetics. She completed her Dietetic Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and earned the credentials Registered Dietitian in 2000. In March 2018, Pam became a certified personal trainer.  

Pam’s experience includes nutrition counseling, wellness program development, public speaking, wellness research and writing, sales and marketing, and food labeling. Her areas of nutrition specialty include weight loss, heart healthy diets, diabetes, celiac disease, food allergies and intolerances, and low thyroid conditions.  What Pam loves most about being a dietitian is the opportunity to witness lives changed for the better through the power of food.

When Pam is not at the club, you are likely to find her at a sporting event with one or more of her three boys, traveling with her husband, or working on a home improvement project.

Nutrition appointments with Pam are available at Short Pump on Tuesday mornings, Wednesday mornings, Thursday evenings and Friday mornings. Appointments at VCC are available on Saturday afternoons. To schedule, contact:

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