The Impact Of Gut Health On Energy Levels And Fitness Motivation

by | Jun 4, 2023 | Life

Your gut health and the community of microorganisms residing in your gut are altogether responsible for your overall health and well-being. The trillion of these beneficial microbes are collectively termed gut microbiomes. Not following a healthy diet pattern or appropriate lifestyle can cause disruption in the gut microbiome resulting in poor health issues. Feeling worn out, weary and frequently getting ready for a nap are also symptoms of compromised gut health.

Is It True That Your Gut Is Making You Tired?

There are measurable differences in the microbial composition of energetic folks and their always exhausted counterparts. For instance, Serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the gut is associated with mood and sleep. Thus, decreased gut microbiome diversity will disturb your peaceful sleep, making you feel exhausted and lethargic the next day. 

Impaired intestinal function and a higher number of destructive bacteria also escalate inflammation, which will cut down on your energy levels. Bloating, stomach pain, and acid reflux are the sure-shot signs of an imbalanced gut. These symptoms indicate poor digestion and improper absorption of food leading to a lack of energy production.  

In recent years, a large role of the gut microbiome is found to impact a chronic disease, Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). The mainstay of this disease is intense fatigue which worsens with both mental and physical activity. The disease has been linked to a lack of butyrate in the body which is produced by specific species of gut bacteria, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii.  Therefore, disruption of gut diversity will hamper the levels of the specific bacteria and result in ME/CFS. 

Gut Influencing Fitness Motivation

Lower energy levels undeniably mean less fitness motivation and a lack of desire to do any sort of physical activity, all of which are dependent on the state of the gut microbiome.

There is a phrase, “no gut no glory”. This simply means that a healthy and diversified gut helps you stay fitter, faster, and stronger. As per our above discussion, healthy guts are the reason to promote energy levels which is a crucial component for exercising. This explains why so many Americans (about 50%) fail to get the recommended amount of physical activity but may be blaming a lack of time, energy, or interest. If you become more sensitive towards your gut, there are mechanisms through which your gut microbiome will support your fitness motivation.

  1. Nutrient absorption

The supplements you buy and consume to enhance your fitness power will flush down the toilet if your microbiome is out of whack. Specific species of bacteria are required for the absorption of different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. So, not enough diversity of microbes will prompt those nutrients straight down to the colon. However, your body needs to use these nutrients and supplements for energy production to be able to follow your exercise regime. 

  1. Keep you hydrated

When it comes to fitness, drinking water is critical to help your performance. However, the water and electrolytes we consume also demand a healthy gut microbiome for their absorption. The proximal small intestine is the part where water is absorbed by the creation of osmotic gradients that promotes the uptake of water from the intestinal lumen. This increases the permeability of the mucosa which further aids absorption. Thus, you will avoid problems like dehydration, cramps, or dizziness while exercising with a healthy gut.  

  1. Dopamine production

 A class of compounds produced by healthy gut microbes, fatty acid amides(FAAs) has been found to stimulate sensory neurons leading to increased dopamine levels. Dopamine in turn enhances the fitness motivation or desire to exercise. This ensures that a link has been established between our gut and brain which drives the emotive feeling of pleasure associated with accomplishing something. This connection is termed the gut-brain axis.

  1. Improves sleep

Research shows an uninterrupted and better quality of sleep is associated with healthier microbiomes. The two main chemical messengers, serotonin and dopamine produced mostly in the gut itself, are responsible for maintaining this sleep-wake cycle. Therefore, a well-balanced gut will make you feel energetic and enthusiastic to fulfill your fitness goals the other day. On the contrary, insufficient sleep will be linked with increased appetite, weight gain, and poor fitness motivation.

How To Improve Your Gut Health To Stay Motivated

Staying fit and energetic demands the proliferation of good gut microbes. This will be achieved by consuming different kinds of foods, specifically plant fiber, and keeping your stress levels at bay.

  • Try to include around 30 plant foods in a week. It may seem a lot but, don’t worry making a meal plan for all seven days will make it practicable with ease. 
  • Probiotics which are live bacteria must be taken daily. It will repopulate gut good bacteria if taken in conjunction with the prebiotic fibers. Probiotic sources are yogurt, tofu, miso, kimchi, and fermented beverages like kombucha.
  • Include a special type of fiber i.e. prebiotics in your diet which feeds the probiotics. The prebiotics includes fructans and galactic-oligosaccharides that stimulate the growth of good bacteria. Sources of prebiotics are vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots, beetroot, artichokes, and fennel), legumes (lentils, beans), whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruit.
  • Limit sugary beverages

As you all know, sugar is a high-calorie food that gives you instant energy. So, some may misinterpret sugary foods to be good for boosting your energy in no time. If you take in more sugar, it will hamper your gut health more than it benefits you. Craving for these foods or beverages is an indicator of the abundance of harmful or pathogenic bacteria in your gut. Consuming more sweetened foods will thereby lead to unnecessary weight gain, sugar spikes in blood, and triggering of insulin production further causing inflammation which will suppress your fitness motivation.

  • Limit alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is a cause of intestinal inflammation which is related to an unhealthy gut. As per research, this type of inflammation does not let your gut function properly and throws it out of balance. This is the reason why you experience symptoms such as gastritis, heartburn, ulcers, and bacterial infections after drinking excessively or in moderation but on a regular basis.

  • Control your stress

The gut-brain axis explains why your mental health or stress levels result in uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms. So, you need to find ways to manage your stress in order to stay healthy and motivated enough for regular physical activity. Morning yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and brisk walking are some techniques to shed away your stress levels.


Engagement in both competitive and recreational exercise is possible due to motivation derived from the gut. A healthy gut will trigger neurochemical changes in the brain through dopamine and serotonin. So, to keep this cycle working properly, a healthy gut has to be maintained.

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Dr. Bob Singhal

Professor Bhupendra 'Bob' Singhal, has taught creativity by joy and right-brain thinking, is a renowned international architect, won major design competitions, has over 70 awards, publications, and media mentions, and served as President of the American Institute of Architects South Bay. In 2011, in his book Joy in Health and Happiness: Your Optimal Path to Success, Professor Singhal wrote about the transformative power of joy and helped readers learn to enhance their daily experience of it.


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