03 Apr How To Maximize Energy
How to Maximize Your Energy
In today’s busy world crammed with work, doctor’s appointments, soccer practices, play dates, social events, and the list of household chores you just can’t ever seem to “get to”, it’s no wonder we are all walking around exhausted all the time!
One of the biggest complaints I get from friends and clients is that they can’t seem to find the energy to workout or commit to a diet plan. While I can definitely sympathize with these claims, I don’t see this as a dead end when it comes to working towards one’s goals.
What is “energy” by the way? The dictionary defines it as, “the strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.” So essentially, it is the ability to do “work”. When we are running around like chickens without heads, are we not using energy? We could probably argue, yes, we are – both mentally and physically. So when we say that we “don’t have the energy” to workout or commit to diet plan, we could probably assume it’s because we are using so much energy in our daily activities that there is none left for hitting the gym, right?
Hold that thought.
We know that in order to lose weight, we need to successfully maintain a caloric deficit through diet and exercise. In other words, we need to create a negative energy balance. We need to take in less than we put out. This is what will generate weight loss.
So go back to my original question. If you have used up all your energy, are you losing weight? If the answer is no, then the hard truth is that you’re not. The simple fact that you’re not maintaining a caloric deficit is evidenced in that absence of any physical progression. You haven’t created a negative energy balance, and thus you are not losing weight or fat.
So why then do you feel so tired and void of energy? There could be a multitude of reasons for this, and some may require doctor recommendations, but I encourage you to first visit the list below and see if you can’t make some changes in your daily routine to maximize your energy and progress towards your goals while balancing a full plate.
- Look at “exercising” as a mental break:
So many people fail to stick with an exercise program because they look at it as “punishment”. It’s not “fun”, they say. Well unfortunately, in today’s 21st century world, anything that requires physical labor, could be described as “not fun”. It’s sad, but true.
So how do we counter these negative connotations? Well, start looking as exercise as way to work through frustrations. Look at as a way to work through negativity and stress, and leave it all on the gym floor. Stress is the number one energy zapper, so utilize exercise as a stress reliever. Crank loud music, get angry, and work up a sweat. Literally let it all out! This is YOU time. Nothing else matter when you’re working out. Put the phone on airplane mode and focus on you.
- Focus on the mind to muscle
You have probably heard my boast about setting mini, weekly goals for yourself. This is because so many people get discouraged when they don’t see themselves progressing towards long term goals in the short term. Wanting to lose 50 pounds and expecting it in 7 days only warrants discouragement and the inevitable giving up on your goals.
Instead of focusing on the “bigger picture” of wanting to “get ripped” or “look good naked”, narrow your scope and hone in on your muscles. Focus on the contractions and feeling the muscle. By doing this, you release endorphins, which aid in your positive mode and boost energy.
- Workout in the morning
Sometimes putting off a workout until after the work day makes it all to easy to skip it altogether. It’s inevitable that the day will NOT go as planned and something will ALWAYS come up that could prioritize above a good sweat sesh. So why not start your day with a workout? Work up to this by setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier tomorrow. Get up and take yourself through some stretches. Then, next week, set your alarm 30-40 minutes earlier and try running through an at home circuit before work. Eventually you will be able to get up and head to the gym before work. Like everything else, creating new habits takes time and consistency. So start tomorrow and work on these new habits daily.
For example, HIIT in the morning causes your body to release stores of energy from fast-twitch muscle fibers to explode through the intervals. This release results in adrenaline rush and energy boost that starts your day off to a high energy start.
- Pump up your warm up
Just walking on a treadmill sounds monotonous and horrible. It doesn’t really get you amped up and ready for a kick ass workout. The warm up, should get you jazzed up mentally and physically. Switch out your warm up for some jumping jacks, squat jumps, butt kicks, etc. Just be sure to get some good stretching in prior so that you don’t pull anything!
- Do more than just go to the gym
So many of us lead sedentary lives. We drive to work, sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day, and get back in the car and drive home where we sit down to eat, sit down to watch TV and then go to bed. Even for those of us who to make it routine to get in a gym workout, this typically only accounts for 1 hour of the day! So make it a point to get up and get moving. Ride a bike or walk to work if you can. Take breaks during work to hike the staircase or leave a pair of tennis shoes under your desk to lace up during your lunch break. Maybe you live near a high school – try running some bleachers before heading home for dinner. Human were not created to be sedentary, so focus on more physical activity and feel your energy maximize. Even taking small 10 minute breaks every 2 hours to get up and move, will leave you more energized upon returning to your desk!
- Eat often and stick to 90/10 whole foods
Diet is HUGE when is comes to maximizing your energy! As we mentioned above, you need to be at a caloric deficit to lose weight. But eating too little can be just as problematic as eating too much. Be sure to eat often and stick to whole foods. While it is possible to “fit” junk food into your diet and still maintain a caloric deficit, sugar spikes insulin levels and often leaves you feeling lower than before your sought the sugary snack When we ingest sugar, it turns to glucose in our bloodstream and our blood sugar levels increase. In response, our pancreas secretes insulin to help move the sugar into our cells, resulting in a corresponding blood sugar drop. This leaves us shaky, fatigued and cranky and looking for our next “fix”. Eat a healthy balance of whole foods with complex carbs, ample protein and healthy fats to keep you satiated, full and energized.
Cleaning up your diet, getting proper hydration, daily exercise, and keeping stress levels low are all ways to maximize your energy. All of these solutions are completely in your control. Yes, they require a little bit of change in your routine, and we know that making these changes can be difficult. Nevertheless, with time and consistency, I guarantee you will be able to create and sustain these healthy habits for life.