T Nation

Energy Levels...Exhaustion


Hey all

im a 22 yr old college student who also works full time as a waiter. im up from 7 am weekdays till at the least midnight, many nights later.Weekends i can sleep till around 10...bed round the same time. Im taking a full class load on top of work so the late night study sessions are non negotiable.In the beginning my workout routine fit very comfortably in my day. but now this lifestyle is starting to take its toll.

i am currently constantly exhausted even when i get more sleep than usual. I have no energy to lift whatsoever. its a battle to sit down and just do my homework after work. all the while my mind and body are screaming to go to bed. I still have the desire to lift and get bigger but im just so run down. I took a week off from lifting to try and recharge my battery's but i feel just as worn out as ever.

anyone have an insight



You will have to cut down your training whether you like it or not. If you are doing full body three times a week twice a week might be necessary. If it's a five way type split then maybe look into an upper lower. Keep volume low and probably don't go to failure.


Good advice Scott.

Also, make absolutely, positively sure that you are eating enough food. If you're putting that much demand on your body day in and day out (both physical stress from training and the huge amount of mental stress that working full time and being a full time student brings) then it is imperative that you're giving your body enough fuel to run on.

You're already depriving your body of the rest that it needs (and doing so on a chronic scale) in order to properly recover. So food (fuel) is NOT optional.


you think theres any possibility of adrenal fatigue?


I'm thinking that's not it


Me either.

You've pretty much already spelled out the cause of your exhaustion.

1) Lack of sleep

2) Chronically high stress (especially mental, but also physical)

and I added another possible cause

3) Diet.

Fix those and you should have no problem building muscle. I would also agree with Scott that decreasing the frequency and intensity of your training sessions will probably allow your body to adapt better. This will also provide your body with more days while in a caloric surplus to allow for growth.


Sorry bro you're in a really tough spot. You're nearly always going to be in a suboptimal state for training, body composition, and overall health. Such is the problem with college! I know all about it, I'm taking a semester off from University right now after a long break in Ireland for the summer and I feel so much better physically and mentally. There's no way to avoid it though, it's life.

I reccomend taking lifting less seriously for the duration of your studies, it's very easy for your heart rate, horomone levels, and everything to get out of whack with the added heavy stress. I reccomend you do very little heavy drinking as hangovers are going to augment an all around poor state physically and mentally.

You should consider buying a White Noise Machine to promote a restful sleep. They're like 40 bucks on amazon.com, and you can probably find even better deals! Chances are that you have a lot of electronics going in your room - shut down all the power at the powerstrip going to your computer + peripherals every night, a while before going to bed. These measures will do a lot to promote restful sleep and make you feel better. Maybe you'll feel like getting in an extra session of lifting here and there - but try not to prioritize the lifting too highly with all you have on your plate.

Also, the nutritive quality of your cafe food, and generally everything located on campus, is going to be abysmal. Don't bulk up on that shit!!


Without the proper amount of rest you are never going to fix this problem, but that is not something you can change right now.

I find that the amount of energy I have during the day has a lot to do with what i do during the day. If I sit around and watch tv on a regular basis then I'm tired a lot. If I play soccer every day then I have a lot more energy.

I would suggest that you train 3-4 times per week for 30 mins at a time or as your schedule allows, preferably at the same time each day such as the morning. Make your workouts as high intensity as possible, such as escalating density training. It'll be very tough at first but eventually your body will adapt and be used to the extra energy expenditure.


thanks for the help guys


ID18 - I know you received some good feedback to your post, however I would really like to emphasize that you are heading for trouble if you continue to stretch yourself so thin.

There is no "sucking up" exhaustion, or "get tough, dude". Ignore anyone who says that because they have no idea what they are saying. Do some research on the net and you will see how sleep deprivation leads to all sorts of health issues. You can't "make up" on missed hours of sleep! It takes something like 8 hours to make up for 1/2 hour of missed sleep - do the research.

Why not decide that you will do a minimal program to keep yourself fit while you are getting your degree (an infinitely much more important thing by the way than building a few pounds of muscle). There will be plenty of time to lift weights in your future. A very good workout can be completed in 20 minutes or less - maybe something like:

Monday - Squats
Wednesday - Bench or Press
Friday - Deadlift

You could do EDT drills of 20 minutes each - I guarantee this will at the very least maintain what you have if not build you up also.

You are young and feel invincible but I urge you to heed the cues your body is giving you - you can't do it all Superman! :wink: