In line with our focus on Stress Awareness Month, Powerhouse Fitness Ambassador Fabio Bonanno shares with you the best way to cope with your energy levels, how to manage your stresses and what bad habits you should change for better ones!
DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH ENERGY LEVELS?
A big issue with achieving anything is having the energy to do it. Whether you’re trying to be productive in work, at home or in the gym, we all need to have energy!
So what reduces energy levels?
Well, if we look at what causes reductions in energy levels, we can start for figure out how to boost them. The big issues when it comes to energy are:
- Chronic stress levels
- Long work day
- Bad quality nutrition / diet
- Smoking & drinking alcohol
Now we know the biggest issues, let’s take a look at action steps to start to increase your energy levels.
DO I NEED TO TAKE SUPPLEMENTS?
The short answer is no.
The long answer, well that’s a little more complicated.
Supplements are important but they are the last thing to focus on.
Ginseng, guarana, chromium picolinate and green powders, now they might sound like a chemistry lesson but they are the last part of any successful energy plan. They can help but they only give you a tiny percentage increase. There’s bigger things to work on that will make a bigger difference.
The stress of focusing on taking 1 supplement will out-do any benefit it may or may not give you.
DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME & MONEY
Your efforts should be focused on the most simple things that make the biggest difference. You can easily spend hundreds of pounds on supplements per month, or more.
They might only help you feel 5% better at most but the things that work are generally free and anyone can do them. If you focus on the following things, you’ll even save money depending on your starting point.
THE ACTION PLAN
Let’s take each point I mentioned earlier and work together to figure out your plan.
Stress can be a killer, in small, even high amounts, it can be good but if we are too stressed for too long, it is bad, and can become really bad.
Stress raises your blood pressure, negative hormones like cortisol in your body can cause you to burn through energy without even realising it.
When you are stressed, you will feel tired all the time because your body is constantly running in the red zone.
Work on being aware first of all, check in with yourself. Ask yourself, is my day busier than it needs to be? Can I delegate tasks or stop them completely?
Try and plan in 5 minute breaks to just sit and take in deep breaths, there is usually always room to lower your stress levels.
I find, picking some form of mindfulness practice helps to start managing this. Once you can lower your stress levels, the strain on your body reduces and you end up having more energy as a result, because you are asking less of your body.
LONG WORK DAYS
This could be the cause of your stress and can cause you to have lower energy as a result.
We don’t really have the capacity to be highly productive for more than a few hours of intense focus per day, demands in some jobs for example can exceed 12 hour days, if not more.
You aren’t going to feel like you have energy if you are constantly asking your body to be a peak output all day, so it’s worth trying to figure out ways to be more productive in less time.
Try delegating some of the workload to your colleagues, shut off distractions such as your phone notifications and emails during key productivity times.
Everyone has to work, but you don’t want to or have to work yourself to an ealy grave.
Try and manage your state when you are working, be present when you’re there and take time out as often as you need to eat in silence for example, with no distractions.
Make sure you fuel yourself properly to help your performance, this is key, which brings me nicely onto our next point.
BAD QUALITY NUTRITION
This is simple yet complicated at the same time.
‘Highly Calorific’ foods are easily accessible. Calories mean energy though right?
In the short term, yes, yes they do. However, in the long term they will hinder your progress and energy.
Your body need calories AND nutrients.
This means getting some colours in from various vegetables, such as salads etc. Protein will keep you fuller for longer which will sop you reaching for bad quality snacks. You might feel good for an hour but when your blood sugar drops, you’ll be looking for more food or a coffee cup.
Good food isn’t always accessible, it takes time to learn what works for you and where and how you can get it.
Either plan ahead and order good food in, make it at home and take it to work or figure out good cafes or restaurants around you that serve healthy food.
The less time you need to think about eating, well the better.
SMOKING & DRINKING
Two vices that are seen as toxins to your body! If your body takes in toxins, you won’t feel good.
Yes they wull give you a quick feel good hit but long term, you will keep needing that hit, this means you will always be putting toxins into your body.
Detoxes work because they allow your body to focus on doing the good things it should instead of fighting the bad things you shouldn’t be eating.
Ideally cutting it out altogether is the answer, but that can be an unrealistic target for some.
Read articles, websites or books on how to give up smoking, try to swap cigarettes for nicotine patches, gum or another substitute to make the transition easier.
If you do want to drink, moderation is key, try sticking to a good quality red wine of small amounts of pure spirits.
Remember, take your time with it. One glass can be nursed, you can get a good relaxing effect without having to finish the bottle!
The easiest and most simple way to increase your energy.
It amazes me how little water some people drink.
If you find yourself going to the toilet and your urine is yellow during the day, you’re not drinking enough water. you should find yourself having somewhat frequent trips to the toilet!
High-quality plain minera water is key to your energy. If you are just 2% dehydrated, it can decrease performance by up to 5-10% which is huge!
Aim to drink about 1 litre per 50lbs of bodyweight.
For someone of say 80kg, that’s about 3.5 litres of water a day! A number that very few people are drinking.
You drink that amount, you will probably eat less, burn more fat and your energy will increase massively!
THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Cut out the bad stuff and add in some of the good stuff!
Having energy is simple.
We can survive putting our body through so much so we think the basics don’t matter for us.
The reality is with the above points set in strong foundations, you will have more energy than you ever had!
For more information on how to reduce your alcohol intake, stress awareness month as a whole, yoga and relaxation techniques to help you de-stress or find our more about the effects stress can have, we have dedicated articles and advice on our blog and social media throughout the month of April.