Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You Wanted to Know....

Energy Charged Advice

One of the most common complaints I hear about and question I am asked is about energy, or more appropriately lack of energy.

"What do I do to get more energy?"

"You always seem to have so much energy - what do you do?"

"I want to exercise, but I never have any energy. I am always tired and dragging through my day."

Top 7 Tips to Increased Energy:

1) Clean up your Eating: Experts agree that 80% of your body's energy goes to digestion. By eating clean, nutrient-dense, properly combined meals and snacks, your energy levels will increase dramatically.

2) Drink less coffee and more green tea: Starting your day with a coffee in order to wake up is a bad habit. It starts you on the high / low energy roller coaster ride and promotes an addiction to caffeine. Yes coffee is high in antioxidants but so are rich, colourful fruits and veggies, organic dark chocolate and teas. Green tea is a much better option as it contains about 1/5 of the caffeine of coffee and has other energy boosting benefits. For example, green tea is high in a compound called theanine which increases your alpha brain wave activity or "feel good" brain waves. The caffeine is low-dose so your energy levels are mildly elevated throughout the day rather than a dramatic boost from coffee which will be followed by a low.

3) Take a CORE PACK of supplements: a "core pack" is a foundation of nutritional supplements aimed at correcting deficiencies and ensuring you are nutritionally supported. Some vitamins and minerals are essential to absorption and metabolism of all other nutrients - thus they are key to ENERGY. Nutrients work in synergy with each other so when one is deficient, others may not be able to do their job properly in the body.

The CORE PACK I recommend for 90% of my clients consists of four supplements that you can find in almost any health food store.

First on the list is a broad-based quality multivitamin from natural sources (not synthetic) such as Progressive brand. A multivitamin protects against nutritional deficiencies and also helps detoxify the body.

Next on the list is omega 3 from Fish Oils. Supplementing with fish oil liquid or capsules from small fish such as herring, mackerel, sardine or anchovy improve your body's metabolism and overall health and performance in almost every way at the cellular level. I recommend quality fish oils from brands such as Nordic Naturals, NutraSea, Genestra, Poliquin or Carlson's. I recommend at least 6 grams per day in divided doses such as 2 capsules per main meal or 1/2 a tps twice a day. If you are overweight, do not tolerate carbohydrates, have struggled with your weight much of your life or suffer from many health ailments, then you should take even more - up to 30 grams per day in divided doses.

In addition to a multi and fish oils, take a green food supplement. Very few people eat as many servings of vegetables as they should and the quality of our produce and soil has diminished to such an extent, we still greatly benefit from adding supplemental greens to our diet. I personally like and use Progressive brand (Blueberry Medley), Greens + (extra energy and detox are my favorites) and Nano Greens (which is all organic). I recommend starting with 1/2 a scoop daily at breakfast and increasing to a full scoop twice daily.

Lastly on the CORE PACK list is ZMA (zinc, magnesium and B6) which is a synergistic mineral supplement which will correct the 2 most common mineral deficiencies that 80% of the population suffers from and 90% of athletes. Magnesium in particular is an important key to proper absorption and metabolism of all micro and macro nutrients. Trust me - add these to your supplement strategy and you will feel and see the difference.

4) Exercise Regularly: Even if you do not have the energy, you will be more energized after your workout. I promise! Exercise increases neurotransmitter levels, balances hormones and increases your metabolism to give you an energy boost for hours after doing your 20 to 60 minute session. Start with 20 minutes 3 times a week and over time increase to 40 to 60 minutes 4 to 5 times a week. Ideally, you want to strength training for 20 to 40 minutes then conduct 10 to 20 minutes of steady state or interval "cardio" afterwards. Keep the movements simple but continually challenge yourself by lifting heavier weights, completing more repetitions or sets, or reducing your rest time between sets.

5) Don't Forget Energy Rebalancing: Give back to your body by doing yoga, medication, deep breathing, massages, spending quality time with friends and family and simply finding joy in your life. We often think of the things we should do that take energy away from us (working out) but sometimes forget to give back to our bodies (working within).

6) Live the Life of your Dreams: Sometimes we lack energy because we fill our day with things to simply pass the time. We are constantly scheduled and booked and are just going through the motions. We let life pass us by without really living it. Take that course you have always wanted to, reconnect with old friend, mend a fractured relationship, take risks, try new things, face your fears, change jobs... "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined" (Thoreau).

7) Drink More Water: Back to our first tip, the vast majority of your energy each day goes to digestion, so by drinking more water, digestion is improved. Hydration levels are also indirectly related to weight and fat loss. When we are closer to our ideal weight and optimal body fat levels, we are more energized - we feel better about how we look and we literally have more bounce to our step. Our bodies are made of about 65% water -your body does not work, at all, without water. You can live days, weeks, sometimes even months without food, but you can't live even a few days without water. So there is not further discussion required. I recommend a minimum of 3 Litres daily for my clients and some, at some times, up to 8 Litres daily. If you add lemon, lime, chlorophyll, green tea powders, fibre supplement, greens supplements, BCAA's and protein powder it is enjoyable and easy to get my minimum recommendations.

Implement just one or two of these energy boosting tips. In no time, YOU will be the energy expert.

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