The two do overlap at times but they can also be two different things. If you lack energy you will no doubt lack focus, but you can very easily lack focus while having adequate energy. Here's an example. Morning workouts can be hard for some people, and I used to struggle at times with them (my mind wasn’t keen on an early morning workout). I started using caffeine in my pre-workout shake and straight away I noticed the difference. Since using caffeine, I can honestly feel the difference in my focus levels – I feel more awake, more alert, and mentally ready for a tough workout. I never used to lack energy (didn’t feel tired as such) but just didn’t feel alert. I've had gym sessions where I've had so much on my mind that I couldn't focus properly, and that leads to a feeling of being tired more than anything else. However, the caffeine turbocharges my mind and my focus is back.
If your nutrition is solid, then you’ll have enough energy for your workouts, so that’s why most of the time it’s down to a lack of focus. When your mind isn't focused, you're not fully concentrating on your exercises, reps, sets, contractions, so you feel a bit lethargic - hence the feeling of a lack of energy. But your body isn't struggling for energy, your mind is simply struggling to focus. If you have ever seen a bodybuilder workout, you'll notice they’re 100% focused on lifting the weights every single rep. Then you see those who simply ‘turn up’ to the gym. They tend to just go through the motions, not really looking like they want to be there and not doing too much. That’s not because they don’t have the energy to workout effectively, it’s simply because their mind isn’t focused on the task at hand.
Lacking sufficient focus could be down to several factors – work stress, personal life and relationships, to name a few. Trying to workout and push yourself in the gym while being mentally distracted is tough. Unless your diet has suffered, it won’t be due to a lack of energy, but you need a ‘pick me up’ to get your head back in the game. Pre-workouts can be great for increasing your focus, whether it’s early morning workouts or to overcome a mental hurdle. Selecting the right music is also a fantastic way to kick-start your mind. You need to find what works best for you in order to get your mind ready for the gym.
So, when you next feel as though you’re tired and can’t manage a workout, try to focus your mind instead. Put together a workout music playlist, try a pre-workout with caffeine in it, or simply have a cup of coffee.