Fitness for the Exhausted: Part 1


mrsparrot_avatarYou might be one of those people who see the fitness commercials – or even torture yourself watching the full infomercial – and think to yourself…I know I should work out but I could never do that!  I’m way too exhausted!!  In fact, maybe you are so tired that the mere thought of working out fills you with dread.  Or maybe you persistently work out, only to find that you are unusually exhausted after each work out and don’t recover like you should.

Well, there is help and hope for the exhausted.  This article is for all of those who said you could never do it.  You know you are a bit lumpy and a bit saggy and frankly – you barely have the energy for anything but guilt, let alone starting an exercise program.

And wait!  Don’t quit reading this because you think I’m going to tell you how to get into a workout program and lose 30 lbs by Christmas.  I’m not.  I know you don’t have the energy.  No guilt here.  Just a few ideas that might help.  No miracles – just feeling better about yourself. And maybe if you follow some of the ideas, you might just find yourself with enough energy to go through the workout reviews on this site and find a program that works for you.

For years, mornings around the Parrot household would start like this:  Mr. Parrot would be up early and in his workout room, making a schedule, setting out his workout equipment and choosing his daily plan.  I would drag myself down the stairs around an hour later, just as he was tormenting himself through Shaun T’s Asylum, and flop onto the couch with a baby attached to me somewhere.


I would rasp out a “hi hon” before I would let my eyes fall shut again.  “The baby was up nursing every hour and I’m so tired I don’t even remember my name,” I would whine.  And Mr. Parrot would give me a hug and playfully scold the baby who grinned and kicked with complete lack of repentance.  Then he’d return to some inhuman feat of doing repeated pushups with a clap in between.  I would sigh.  I’d done a pushup once. I got all the way down.  There.  That was it.  Seeing as I was down there already, it was the perfect time for a nap.

I’d say it hadn’t always been that way and I’d be only partially right.  I’d have to confess that I was never was very good at pushups.  But Mr. Parrot and I, in our pre-children days, had been very active together – rollerblading and hiking and working out together.  But add in four children in eight years – all being long term breast feeders – stir in some minor but aggravating health issues – and you have a whole new level of tired.

So let’s take a look at some of the reasons for your exhaustion and what you can do about some of them.  This is not an extensive list, of course.  A medical site would provide you with that.  This is a list of the common reasons and often overlooked reasons.

You might be a mom (or a dad).


As I am writing this, a little person sits by me with his story Bible – choosing stories and pushing it at me while simultaneously saying mommy mommy mommy and grabbing my arm.  I stop every two minutes and read him another one.  I just finished Adam and Eve – two people deeply involved in the blame game.  And Moms, don’t worry.  Not exercising because you have kids isn’t blaming them.  IF you are a mom – and even a mom of older kids – and you are tired, go easy on yourself.  Okay?  Promise me.  No guilt here.  Say, “I am a Mommy and I am able to do 12 things at once and that is why I am tired. And that is okay.”  Tired is normal when you are shaping the lives and character of small humans.

And a note here….if you are breastfeeding, it is normal to have less energy.  You won’t hear that too often.  But it is true.  Your body is making superfood for a growing changing baby.  Congratulate it and then take it easy.

You might have IBS.


Yup. Been there, done that.  Not a conversation piece for social gatherings but that doesn’t make it less real or less debilitating. Don’t wait for your doctor to get interested enough to help you.  Go to a great naturopath or consult “Dr. Google” until you find something that works for you.  There are drastic treatments and less drastic ones.  But in short, if your nutrients are not being absorbed, you are going to feel the effects in your energy.

You might have food allergies.


Oh, you might say you have been tested.  I’m here to tell you that the tests are helpful, but they might not pinpoint the food that is causing your problem.  My naturopath doctor says that there are a host of different reactions and IgE and IgG tests are only two of them.  I had both tests – none revealed the problem foods.  He put me on an elimination diet and then we found four big deal foods that were the problem. Simple and cheap.  But it is going to make a BIG deal in your energy and health.

You might have low adrenals.


Wow, this is a huge subject and there are far more qualified writers than I on this topic.  I can only tell you what I’ve experienced.  There are many tests for low adrenal function, the saliva test being the most accurate.

If you live in the U.S you have access to those tests at a moderate price.  They are worth getting done. If you live in Canada, you may need to take out a small mortgage to finance one ( kidding!  sort of. ).

But even in Canada, where the Parrot family lives, my medical doctor was willing to run a morning cortisol blood test.  And the cost to me was nothing.  It showed low – not rock bottom – but low.  So I had a starting point to begin rebuilding my adrenals.  More about one of the reasons your adrenals go out in the thyroid section.

You might have low thyroid or be on Synthroid or its imitators.


Wait!  Stop!!  You are about to skip over this section because your doctor says that your thyroid is fine.  Humor me and read this – because if you are exhausted – it probably isn’t.  The TSH test is garbage.  JUNK.  In many cases (like mine) a TSH in range still meant I was horridly tired and sick.  Get your TSH number and then go to  This site, combined with a great Naturopathic doctor and a great quality Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication helped get my energy back.  Read every word of this site – it will be worth your time.

I was blessed – I had a Naturopathic doctor who believed me and trialed me on the NDT.  After one day I knew I was on the great, but long and bumpy, road to better health.

Oh…I mentioned before that I’d talk more about adrenals.  The bad news…when your thyroid goes low, your helpful adrenals try to kick in some extra help….until they wear themselves out.  So, as you fix one, you have to fix the other.  It adds complexity – and as it turns out – the thyroid is the easier of the two to fix.  Bummer, huh!!

You might be eating wrong.


Hold on!  I know why you’re eating wrong. It is because you are too tired to spend hours in the kitchen so you can eat right.  No guilt.  Reading this is a good first step.  I like to tease Mr. Parrot that his health comes from my kitchen, but I truly believe that.  I’m going to get into some ways to make good eating simple and tasty.  And you don’t even have to buy a juicer (unless you want to!)

You might be under a crazy amount of stress.


That is going sap your energy.  And depending on that stress, there may or may not be anything you can do.  I’m not going to suggest solutions because I don’t know what your stress is.  But you do.  And you need to try to minimize – or at least practice some self care – if you can truly do nothing about the level of stress.

You might have been told you suffer from anxiety or depression.


Either chemically caused or situational, this is going to drain you.  If you need to find a great pastor to help you get your life back on track spiritually, or a lay counselor or a life coach, then do so. Today.  No sense letting one day more pass if you’ve got a major mess in your life.  If you’ve been told it is chemical, then consider this…after the first dose of Natural Desiccated Thyroid, my foggy mind cleared, and two days later my anxiety was cut down by about 85%.  It might be worth a try.  Everyone has their own opinions on anti-depressants.  I think they are garbage and only mask a bigger problem.  But that is just my opinion.

So, there you have it.  Some, but not all the reasons you may only have the energy to read about exercising.  If some of these reasons are true for you, stick with us for Part 2 Fitness for the Exhausted – Food

© 2014 – 2016, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

About Author

Mrs. Parrot is a gorgeous mother of four children and wishes her husband had more useful skills like carpentry so he could build a nice table or something. That having been said, she understands he's a good provider and if you ask me, an even better lover.

  • SEM

    Good article. I posted the webpage to a forum board that I am part of….hopefully more ppl will read this.

  • JLG

    Wonderful article! I can relate to the exhaustion from being up every hour with a nursing baby! I remember asking God to give me the strength just to make it through each tired hour! Thankfully my little one is a year and half now, but she still is often up at least once to nurse. It can be difficult to stay motivated to work out. I appreciate the information on low thyroid. I have hashimoto’s disease and have wanted to try natural treatment options. You’ve inspired me to look into a naturopathic doctor. Have you read The Daniel Plan? It’s great! P.S. I LOVE your husband’s fitness DVD reviews. My husband and I have enjoyed reading them. We’ve completed P90x , P90x 3, and Insanity together.

  • Constanza Álvarez Espinoza

    I love Mrs. Parrot’s “bio”. I wonder if she really had a hand on it.