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Exercise for Energy

I have been sleeping terribly this week. I haven’t been making it to bed until almost midnight and I’ve been waking up really early (like 4 a.m. early) wide awake and not able to fall back asleep. I know this sounds a little crazy but I can usually put myself back to sleep by trying to make up a yoga sequence in my head to teach a class later that day (seriously, works like a charm) but that’s not even working this week.Β I think my early wake ups are a combination of having a lot on my mind along with hormones/body calendar.

Anyway…so I was feeling ultra lethargic and sleepy Tuesday evening when my 5:30 p.m. client cancelled. Instead of sitting in my office and being a zombie I decided to take my friend Lauren’s spin class instead.


After just five minutes on the bike moving my body and getting my heart rate up, I felt a million times better. I swear, exercise is a remedy for many things. However, what there is not a remedy for is my bruised butt! I even used a gel seat. The spin bike gets me every time.

The University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!) actually did a study several years ago that showed the effect of exercise on energy levels. A summary of the research findings on The American Council on Exercise’s website states, “Sedentary, otherwise healthy adults who engaged in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported feeling less fatigued and more energized.”

(Let me state for the record that I do not think exercise is an appropriate substitute for sleep.)

I taught yoga at Metro after spin and it was a perfect way to unwind and destress. I swear, teaching provides me many of the same benefits that practicing does. Especially when classes have good energy and my students brought me lots of good energy last night! πŸ™‚


I came home and got to work on dinner. Garlic and herb pork tenderloin with roasted brussels sprouts and mushrooms and mashed sweet potatoes. I tried a new method for making mashed sweet potatoes and steamed them instead of baking or microwaving and then mashing. It was much easier to mash them steamed and I could do it all with a fork. I added a little coconut milk, cinnamon, butter and maple syrup to the potatoes. I lost track of time and cooked the pork a tiny bit longer than I wanted to…I usually like my pork a little pink in the center but it was still good.


I had another early wake up call this morning to teach the 6:30 a.m. hot vinyasa at the yoga studio. I love the early morning crowd because they are all business. They’re like, “we got out of bed for this and need to get it in before work…let’s get this done!” So awesome to see them start their days with yoga.

I needed a breather this morning so I came home after class instead of rushing off to the gym to make a homemade breakfast and enjoy coffee sitting at my kitchen table. Since I didn’t have the foresight to make this the night before, I soaked oats and chia seeds in coconut milk while I showered.


And then stirred in banana, dried cranberries, cinnamon and some plain Greek yogurt. I topped it all off with a swirl of Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter and sunflower seed butter.


These two items go together like peanut butter and jelly! πŸ˜‰

Paleo Sweets & Treats Cookbook Giveaway Winner:Β 

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Congrats Lindsey! Everyone else, don’t forget you can buy a copy of Heather’s awesome cookbook onlineΒ for just $15.

Busy day ahead. Time to get to it!

Do you have any tips or tricks to get yourself to fall asleep? Does exercise help to energize you when you’re sleepy?Β 

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Parita @ myinnershakti October 23, 2013, 10:03 am

    As cliche as it sounds, I’ve never regreted a workout. And not because of the caloric burn or whatever but because of how it made me feel. I find that on days where I skip out on any form of exercise (not including rest days), I just feel more lethargic. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get moving!

    • 2
      Jen October 23, 2013, 3:55 pm

      couldn’t agree more!

  • 3
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles October 23, 2013, 10:19 am

    I totally believe that exercise gives an energy boost- especially when you feel a bit tired. And I also agree that exercise is no sub for sleep, but overall, people tend to walk around more lethargic when they haven’t exercised versus when they do…I am not a great sleeper these days, I wake up a ton and when that happens, it sets a pattern for me to keep waking at the same times every night. So frustrating!

    • 4
      Jen October 23, 2013, 3:56 pm

      i hear you on the patterns…i think we get so mental about it that it becomes a thing for a while until we can break out of it!

  • 5
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun October 23, 2013, 10:27 am

    I have been having a hard time sleeping too, but more because I am trying to get over this stupid cold and I can’t breathe!

    Hope it turns around for you! It is true though exercise can usually help just about EVERYTHING! I can’t run or really bike right now, but I am going to be in the pool later and I am hoping that will get my mood up!

    • 6
      Jen October 23, 2013, 3:56 pm

      boo! trying to sleep when you’re congested or coughing is the WORST!

      hope your pool workout is just what you need today!

  • 7
    Tara | treble in the kitchen October 23, 2013, 12:23 pm

    When I can’t fall asleep I will go through routines in my head too! When I was younger it was show choir and lines for the school play, now it’s bodypump and workout routines πŸ™‚ that pumpkin butter looks so good too! Haven’t tried it but I have a feeling I should

    • 8
      Jen October 23, 2013, 3:57 pm

      haha, glad i’m not alone!!!!

      you must try the pumpkin butter. you will love!

  • 9
    Elise @ 9toFit.com October 23, 2013, 1:35 pm

    I get up and workout everyday before work, except for Thursdays. On Thursdays I sleep in and don’t workout, and every Thursday I feel so tired and out of it. Working out definitly energizes me!

    • 10
      Jen October 23, 2013, 3:58 pm

      i hope you enjoy your sleep in day though even if you’re not quite as chipper. it always feels like such a treat to me to have that one morning of the week you can sleep in.

  • 11
    Aurora@Fitness is Sweet October 23, 2013, 4:03 pm

    I definitely feel lethargic when I don’t get a morning workout in. It’s worth it to me to get up a little earlier to get my blood flowing!

  • 12
    Amy Hammond October 23, 2013, 6:25 pm

    I make up yoga sequences in my head too!!!!!!!! And I am not even a yoga teacher ha

  • 13
    Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run October 23, 2013, 7:13 pm

    those Brussels & sweet taters sound crazy good.

  • 14
    She Rocks Fitness October 23, 2013, 8:57 pm

    Ugh that has totally happened to me before and I think it has to do with the full moon or when the earth is in retrograde or it’s just our female hormones. Either way, to me it is usually a phase that hopefully passes fast. Try disconnecting earlier and reading in bed…

  • 15
    Chelsea Bishop October 23, 2013, 9:58 pm

    I definitely needed to read this today! I was feeling really meh and didn’t want to workout because I had an exam at 8:30pm and I wanted to have energy. Going to Crossfit actually gave me more energy and I think I did well on my exam! Thanks for the motivation:)

  • 16
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt October 24, 2013, 7:21 am

    I wake up crazy early for my job and must workout when I get off work to have enough energy to get through the afternoon…. otherwise I want to sleep… This is SO true!

  • 17
    Lauren K October 24, 2013, 8:08 am

    Glad you came to class and that it helped! Bummer about the bruised butt! As for sleeping, I use a sound machine…otherwise I just lay there. I can’t disconnect in total silence!

  • 18
    Clara October 24, 2013, 9:04 am

    I am so thankful for this post! I’ve been sleeping horribly! Same issue. I’m exhausted and pass out easily but then wake up waaayyy before my alarm and can’t get back to sleep. I know it’s a combo of stress and having a little lag on my birth control (ie my hormones are out of wack), but just knowing someone else is experiencing the same thing makes me feel so much better. I hope we can both rest soon! xx

  • 19
    olivetorun October 24, 2013, 9:28 am

    Pumpkin Butter and Sunflower Butter= two of my favorite things! πŸ™‚

  • 20
    C. October 24, 2013, 9:39 am

    Your breakfast looks delicious – I need to try the TJ’s pumpkin butter ASAP.

  • 21
    Megan (The Lyons' Share) October 26, 2013, 6:38 am

    Just catching up, but wanted to say that I 100% agree with this post! Working out ALWAYS makes me feel more energized! Sorry you’ve been having trouble sleeping :(. Love the TJ’s pumpkin butter!!!

  • 22
    Holly October 26, 2013, 10:48 am

    I went to Trader Joe’s last night to buy sunflower seed butter and pumpkin butter. For some reason, that picture you posted of your breakfast looked so good! I had to let you know that I was not disappointed….it was so yummy! πŸ™‚ You are correct, goes together like peanut butter and jelly. Thanks for the quick and easy breakfast idea! πŸ™‚

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