Many times, throughout the day we can feel our energy lag. We hit the wall; yawning, nodding off, eyes getting heavy and losing concentration and focus on whatever we are working on. It can be a major distraction and impact not only productivity, but our health as well. While productivity is impacted, more importantly, it can negatively impact our eating habits, and our physical activity habits.
When we are fatigued, our nutritional choices normally go down the tube. We look for quick, readily available meal options that don’t take much effort. Most times, this is where we will “give up” on our meal plan if we do not have anything prepared. Who wants to put in the effort when we’re feeling tired? The poor nutritional choices can also spiral these fatigue issues out of control as well (more on that later) and it can lead to overeating as well. When we are tired, our body produces more of a hormone call “Ghrelin”, also known as the hunger hormone. As Ghrelin spikes, so does out appetite.
Meanwhile, while our calorie consumption is typically up, our physical activity levels drop dramatically. This is not only due to generally being tired and unmotivated, but our exercise intensity drops as well. This drop of intensity lowers your overall production effecting calories burnt, and the metabolic effect of your workout. It won’t completely negate any positive benefits, but it can certainly throw us out of our routine.
So, how do we combat this issue? What are some simple ways we can boost our energy and break through the mid-day wall?
The first answer is quite simple… Sleep more!
There is no substitute for a good night’s rest. There is nothing listed below that can negate the effects of a bad sleeping pattern, or even compete with the effects of an adequate sleep cycle. If we are seriously struggling with energy issues, lack of focus or concentration, constant hunger, and lack of overall motivation, we really need to assess our sleeping habits. There are small ways we can help boost our energy throughout the day, even if we happen to be lacking a few hours of sleep.
Water is good. Water is great. Drink your damn water.
Water is one of the most underrated and overlooked aspects of health and wellness, yet everyone knows they should be drinking more water. Staying hydrated helps us decrease fatigue as it aids in transporting nutrients to the cells, and the more hydrated we are, the easier blood flows through the body. This is important for several different reasons, but primarily it keeps the brain fed with a steady stream of nutrients to be more alert. When we are dehydrated, our blood pressure can rise, cutting off that stream to the brain, essentially creating more fatigue. Being chronically dehydrated can also affect our melatonin levels, which aid in helping us both fall asleep and stay asleep.
We should be aiming for about 2.5 to 3 liters of water per day (extra if we are active), while also making sure we are replenishing electrolytes and taking our vitamins to ensure we absorb the water, not just urinate it out of the system. We need to drink water throughout the day, and it will increase our energy levels quickly.
If we aren’t eating the right types of foods, we are setting ourselves up for failure when it comes to battling fatigue. The phrase “we are what we eat” rings true, because if we are putting low nutrient fuel into our system, we can’t expect to work as a high-powered machine.
To battle fatigue, we should be aiming for well-balanced meals throughout the day, containing a good mixture of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Many of us will try to cut down, or cut out, carbohydrates altogether but these are the simple, quick fuel our body needs to operate. Aiming to have complex carbohydrates (Fruit, Brown Rice, Oatmeal, etc.) with each meal/snack is a great way to ensure we have the right nutrients to get us through the day. We do have to look out for more simple sources of carbohydrates, such as refined sugar products, as these will absorb quickly into the blood stream but the energy they supply will not last long, and we’ll be right back to where we started.
This isn’t just the quality of food we need to look at, but the quantity as well. Avoiding bigger meals, that are very heavy will aid in the digestive efforts of the body, reducing the fatigued feeling. Ever eat too much at a meal, leaving you feeling bloated and tired? This will happen if we are trying to eat too much at one time. We should be splitting our meals up throughout the day, so our digestive system can break these foods down adequately and supply the body with energy throughout the day.
This is also something we need to think about as we are looking to lose weight as well, as it is a fine balancing act of being a caloric deficit, but not an extreme caloric deficit so you can’t produce enough energy in our body to get us through the day. If any of us have ever dieted, we have probably heard that the less calories we eat, the more fat we will lose. While this is somewhat true, it’s flawed thinking as less doesn’t mean we’ll lose more. If our body requires 1200 calories to operate at rest (your Basil Metabolic Rate or BMR), and we eat 1000 calories, we are going to be in a 200 calorie deficit, but we won’t have enough fuel to sustain our every day movement. Eating at our BMR will be efficient as it gives us the fuel to maintain our proper bodily function, while still being a caloric deficit due to our physical activity in a day.
To determine BMR utilize a body fat measuring system whether it’s a Dexa-scan, Inbody or other body fat platform.
Sitting is one of the most sure-fire ways we can reduce our energy levels. Most of us sit at a desk, or sit in a car, or sit on our coaches for way too long throughout the day, which greatly diminishes our energy levels. Inactivity will slow down the blood (an in turn nutrient) supply to the muscles of the body, and as mentioned previously, the brain. So, throughout the day we should be getting up and engaging our body in some shape or form. This can include quick walks around the office or simply getting up to stretch out the body for a bit. The increased blood flow, and in turn, the increase heart rate this small amount of activity can have will affect fatigue immensely. We’ll find ourselves more engaged, more focused and slightly more energetic as well. Whether we are “in the zone” or suffering from writer’s block, getting up and moving can stimulate more blood flow to the brain, keeping us stimulated, and overall, more productive in the long term.
Has anyone else noticed that once we get moving, we get motivated to do more? This is the exact reason why. The hardest part is to get up and moving, but once we do, we tend to keep moving and be more productive.
These are 3 (4 if you count sleep) big ways we can boost our energy levels. Try implementing one or two of these over the next few days and notice your energy levels increase day by day. They aren’t hard to do by any means. These small steps can have a huge impact on our health, and our productivity at home, at work, at school, or wherever we may need the extra boost!
CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer
RK Athletics – https://linktr.ee/RK_Athletics