3 Tips for More Energy
By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Last summer I trained a Hollywood starlet who was in Toronto to film a movie. She was a model Turbulence Training client, doing everything I asked in each session including her first-ever chin-up, except for the sugar-free Red Bull she insisted on having before each workout. She said she needed the energy.
Everywhere you go people are looking for 'energy.' Have you been seduced by the ads promising such and such beverage will "give you wings," or by stores offering sky-high cups of coffee. Where do you go for your fix? And is it really a fix at all? Or just a patch that leads to an inevitable crash and burn?
In reality, the "energy" we're chasing is simply mental alertness. And it's no secret that coffee and cigarettes contain drugs that stimulate your brain, giving you the mental alertness we mistakenly call 'energy'.
If you are searching for a better way of living, a life that doesn't depend on chemicals - literally, drugs! - to keep you awake and motivated, if you are tired of being tired, then being wired, and then being tired again... then set the coffee cup down, step away from the supersized Diet Cokes, and turn to holistic living.
There are better, healthier ways to achieve higher levels of physical and mental energy. Here are 3 ways to get more energy, naturally...
- Exercise. It doesn't matter what time you exercise, just be consistent. Fit it in based on your schedule and personality. If you have to do it first thing when you wake up, just do it. Don't even let yourself think about it. Just get started.
A lot of people think too much about their plan. That's why Turbulence Training works for so many people... they don't have to think, they just follow the workouts and get done fast. Focus on intense strength training for 20 minutes followed by a brief interval training session to boost your metabolism all day long.
Exercise is a drug. Like caffeine and nicotine, exercise causes the release of many chemicals into your blood, resulting in mental stimulation and an improved sense of overall well-being. Exercise just makes you feel good.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Skip the cycle of starving and feasting characterized by no breakfast, a high-carbohydrate lunch, and a huge dinner. Instead, eat breakfast and then continue to eat every 3 hours for the rest of the day. Research shows that a high-fiber breakfast helps control appetite and increases mental alertness all morning, and improves your ability to process information.
Do not skip breakfast and rely on a coffee to get you through the day. Got no time? C'mon! You're an adult, you can get up 10 minutes earlier to have a protein shake, some almonds, and an apple. You're not in high school anymore. No excuses!
- Eat only whole, natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables, organic proteins, raw nuts (not roasted in oil), Green Tea, water. Trying to run on processed foods is a recipe for an energetic disaster. Stick to whole, natural foods during the day, snacking rather than binging on big meals, and you'll never feel like dozing off. If a food is from a bag or a box, it doesn't deserve a place in your nutrition plan. Avoid all added sugars. Surely, you're already sweet enough!
Take mini-breaks during the day to work on your mobility. Work environments zap our 'energy.' From poor posture, to eye-strain from computer screens, your office, cubicle, and car seat will suck the life out of you.
According to Men's Health magazine... "British researchers recently found that when people exercised during their workday — regardless of the duration or intensity of the movement — they were less likely to feel fatigued, and that translated into a 15 percent improvement in job performance."
Daily exercise breaks are essential to not only boost energy, but mobility. Each day, as your computer sucks you into its visual vortex, your upper body becomes rounded forward and tense. You need to reverse that movement. Here's how...
Stand with your back to the wall and feet about 4 inches from the wall. Place the back of your arms against the wall with upper arms parallel to floor and forearms at 90 degrees. Stick up your arms over head while keeping your arm against the wall at all times. Slowly return to below the starting position tucking your elbows into your sides and bringing shoulder blades together. Repeat for 12 reps. Do this every 60-90 minutes.
In addition, get outside into natural light whenever possible.