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Do You Want to Take Your Workout to the Next Level? These Tips May Help!

By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - September 17, 2019


Are you thinking about upgrading your workout program or starting a new one? A successful fitness regimen requires thoughtful pre-workout planning so you can get the most out of your workouts and ultimately reach your goals. 

Here are some tips from a functional medicine perspective on how to achieve those goals and insight on other health factors that may hinder your progress.

Energy and motivation are fundamental to achieving exercise goals and maintaining endurance.

If fatigue and a lack of motivation is preventing you from starting a new fitness program or increasing the goals of your present one, that may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, nutritional deficiency or other health issue brimming beneath the surface.

Thyroid balance, respiratory health, heart health, adrenal balance, hormone balance, and being free of allergies and inflammation affect your motivation and energy levels. If there is an imbalance of any of these, exercising can be very challenging or leave you feeling even more depleted so perhaps you don't want to work out again.

For example:
  • Low testosterone for both men and women may lead to low motivation, poor focus, lack of endurance, and poor workout recovery. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that affects mental clarity, drive, and tissue regeneration/growth.
  • Adrenal Dysfunction/Imbalance leads to unbalanced stress hormones (like cortisol) that may make you feel too tired to work out and leave you exhausted afterward.
  • Heart health is vital to exercising safely and having enough blood flow to vital organs and muscles during it. Your heart is essentially the motor that pushes blood around your body (carrying nutrients and oxygen). If your heart is not healthy, symptoms could be exacerbated with a new work out if not diagnosed and dealt with by your physician.
  • Optimal Respiratory health is necessary for being able to get oxygen into your body during exercise. When you exercise, the body demands more oxygen and more efficient exchanging of oxygen in the lungs. If you happen to have an underlying lung disease, this may make your workouts difficult to get through. This can be affected by inflammation in the body (often in the gut).
  • Abnormal thyroid function may make you feel too fatigued to get to the gym.

What is Functional Medicine anyway?

Functional medicine involves evaluating the core systems in the body, then applying targeted interventions to correct and optimize areas that are indicating a dysfunction. Once those areas are addressed, your body will have restored function with the energy and drive needed to achieve your fitness goals.

Are you too inflamed to work out?

There are some people that have inflammation in the joints, ligaments, sinuses, and other areas of the body. They may feel physically incapable of working out. These types of inflammation can be diagnosed and then decreased or eliminated to better support a healthy exercise regimen. 

There are many different approaches to decreasing inflammation in the body depending on the source or cause of it, like dietary modification (removing foods that create inflammation in the gut), acupuncture, decreasing stress with meditation, IV therapy, low dose immunotherapy, removing other toxic environmental triggers, and/or other nutritional supplementation.

Is your diet energizing and supporting you or depleting and inflaming you?

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates

Food should nourish and energize you. With the pre-packaged food, mass production of food, and over farmed lands, so much of the "food" that is available to us may be inflaming us rather than supporting our bodies. Most people are unaware that this is even happening. If the food we eat is inflaming our bodies, this leaves us feeling potentially bloated, more fatigued and often less motivated to work out.

Food sensitivities or allergies can create more inflammation than providing nourishment. For example, if you're eating chicken every day, but your immune system is constantly reacting to the chicken, your body may not be able to break this down properly (due to inflammation), absorb the nutrients from this as well as from other foods. Sometimes even the "healthy foods" people are eating are inflaming their bodies causing joint pain, digestive tract inflammation, sinus inflammation and more.

Determining if you have any nutrient deficiencies can be very helpful to achieve optimal wellness, vitality, energy, and support your exercise efforts.

Leveraging the benefits of exercise: Knowing which type of exercises best suit your body, goals, and individual healthy.

There are many different types of workouts and exercises. Picking the right one or combination of exercise types for your unique health, body and goals is critical to keep your brain motivated and see the results you desire.

For example, if you have adrenal fatigue, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) will likely leave you feeling worse after than did before. If you run long distances often, this may not help you lean-out based on your particular wellness picture. A functional medicine evaluation will shed some light on these issues, so a personalized exercise plan can be created for you.

Make sure your workout routine is actually helping energize and motivate you and not leaving you feeling depleted. 

If you are ready to challenge your present exercise program or start a new exercise regimen, a comprehensive Functional Medicine evaluation is a great place to start. During the evaluation, areas that can be optimized to best support your workout efforts will be assessed to determine the type activity that may be most supportive of you and your goals, and an individualized treatment plan will help you optimize your overall health and wellness.

FORM Medical can help you with your Functional Medicine evaluation. If you'd like to learn more, check out or call 720-370-9559.