I’m going to let you in on a secret today. But it’s one of those secrets that may not be too secret after all. When I meet other healthy energetic people they seem to be doing the same things I do, so what I do to maximize my health and energy may not be too secretive at all.
We all have 24 hours in the day. However, I’m not convinced that when people want to do more each day, the issue is necessarily time management. I think they need more and better energy!
Many times at the end of the day I say to myself, “Whew, what a day,” and wonder how I accomplished so much. But I have great energy and focus.
So here are the 5 things I do DAILY to keep functioning at my best. See if you do them too.
1. Include a healthy protein source into every one of my meals (this includes snacks as well).
Healthy sources of protein and good fat slow down the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) in your blood stream. This keeps your blood sugar stable throughout the day. Many times the “crash” people feel after lunch or breakfast is their blood sugar spiking high and then “crashing” low because they ate a meal that was carbohydrate dense and not balanced with enough protein.
Adding in a healthy protein source like organic eggs, natural meats or poultry, wild fish, or raw nuts ensures your blood sugar doesn’t go on a rollercoaster ride every time you eat. As a snack, raw almonds and fruit will keep your energy levels sustained for the rest of the afternoon.
2. Stay hydrated all day.
Most people know they should be drinking water, but what they don’t know is that it directly affects their energy levels throughout the day. Consider this: your brain is approximately 80% water. Staying hydrated helps you maintain mental energy while avoiding fatigue and headaches. Water also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to flush toxins. Organs have to work harder when you don’t have enough water. This makes you tired, so drink up!
3. Be cautious with caffeine intake.
I am not suggesting you completely eliminate your morning coffee or your breakfast tea. I haven’t. But many people take their one cup and turn it into too many cups. Their cup runneth over all day long! Yes, caffeine will give you a quick boost in energy, but will almost always send you crashing just a few hours later.
Caffeinated beverages will also dehydrate your body, and dehydration will cause you to feel fatigued. Try to keep your caffeine beverages to a maximum of 1-2 per day. I would also suggest drinking those before 1pm as drinking caffeine any later can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night.
4. Beware of “white” carbs.
“White Carbs” (breads, pastas, cereals, baked goods) break down quickly causing a fast spike in blood sugar. You’ll feel a quick rush of energy, but then a big drop, causing your energy (and your mood) to drop along with it. Also, when too much sugar floods the system all at once, your body can’t use it all for energy and converts it to stored fat.
While it is true that carbs give you energy, too many carbs at once will actually lead to fatigue and lethargy. Keep the “white carbs” to a minimum and eat healthier, fibrous carbs like oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes and a variety of fruits and vegetables. And always be sure to eat those carbs alongside a healthy protein.
5. Do a quick 5-minute mini-exercise circuit at any point during the day.
Yes, even a quick 5-minute exercise routine is enough to get your blood circulating, sending more oxygen to your muscles and brain and giving you a boost in energy. Quick bursts of exercise will also increase your metabolism, not only helping you keep the excess weight off, but giving you a burst of energy as well.
If I start to feel the “afternoon energy crash”, I will get up and do some body weight squats, 1 minute of pushups, 1 minute of jumping jacks, and 2 minutes of lower and upper body stretches. It may not sound like very much, but I assure you that in less than 5 minutes, I am energized and ready to get back to work.
Give the above 5 suggestions a try and you will see firsthand that you do have more than enough hours in each day when your energy levels are at their maximum all day long.