How’s your energy? Challenging workouts require a large supply of it.
One of the most common issues I hear is that energy is in short supply, especially later in the afternoon. Instead of reaching for an energy drink, I wanted to provide you with a healthier approach.
By the way, I’m not a big fan of energy drinks or relying on caffeine for energy. Your body tends to become acclimated to it and it takes more and more to get a similar response. I like to have one cup (a big one!) of coffee before I train, but I don’t have caffeine at any other time.
Here’s a few things to think about:
#1 Start the day off right – Eat
You’ll actually raise your metabolism by eating. Your body will be more likely to give up those energy stores (junk in your trunk!) when it knows food isn’t in short supply. You need to ‘break the fast’ of your night with a breakfast that includes protein and complex carbs. The protein helps stabilize blood sugar, as does the complex carbs. You won’t feel that crash at mid-morning and want to reach for coffee or sugary snacks if you fuel up on the right foods.
A few favourite breakfasts of mine include:
-steel cut oatmeal with walnuts, berries and a scoop of protein powder
-squirrelly bread toast with all natural peanut butter and blueberries and 8 oz of milk
-greek yogurt with walnuts and berries
-scrambled egg whites and salsa
#2 Eat More Often
Are you reading this correctly? Yes, eat again. You should aim to eat every 2-3 hours so that you never get to that ‘I’ll eat road-kill’ feeling. Plan your meals and carry snacks. Who knows when you’re going to be stuck in traffic or running late and need something to eat? If you have a few snacks with you, you won’t be tempted to stop and fill up on junk.
Some of my favourite snacks include:
-handful of almonds
-an apple and walnuts
-hard boiled egg
-1% cottage cheese
-veggie sticks and hummus
-protein shake (I use these sparingly)
-low carb, low fat protein bar like Cliff Builder’s (I use even more sparingly)
#3 Eat (Protein)
Yes, you read correctly. The third energy booster I have for you is to also to eat, but, I want to emphasize the need to eat protein with every meal and snack and you need to know why. Protein helps to stabilize your blood sugar so that you don’t get the munchies an hour later. I don’t mean that you have to sit down to a steak every time you open your mouth, there are plenty of ways to increase protein intake. You can take a look at some of my favourite choices below:
-Greek yogurt (this is creamy, low fat, low carb goodness!)
-fish, fish, fish (okay, so as many of you know, I’m incorporating more fish into my diet)
-egg whites, hard boiled eggs
-beans and legumes
-low fat or no fat dairy, like skim milk
-skim or low fat cheese and an apple
-high quality, low carb protein powder (I use this sparingly)
Did you notice that all energy boosters involve food? That’s right. You need to fuel your body with the RIGHT kinds of food at the RIGHT time. Your body will come to expect food and be more willing to give up energy stores (fat) when it knows that food is plentiful. Your body is an amazing machine. Provide it with the correct fuel and it will work for you with amazing efficiency. Would you put regular gasoline in a high performance vehicle? Treat your body like a Maserati and it will be more likely to perform like one.
Keeping energy up for your workouts should be a priority. In the process, if you eat high quality foods, you’re likely to drop unwanted flub that’s holding you back from getting that extra rep on the pull up bar.