If you ask any personal trainer, one of the top 3 reasons that clients complain about is not having enough energy to get through their workday or to workout. It’s very common for people to complain about their energy levels. After all, we all live busy lives taking care of our families, work multiple jobs, commute long distances, and the last thing someone wants to do at the end of the day is hurry to the gym to get in a workout before collapsing into bed to get up and do it all over again.
Some of you might not like what I’m going to say but in order to get more energy, one of the things you must start doing is exercising. The beginning is always tough. People mean well and want to put their health first but the motivation to continue exercising after a few days or weeks starts to dissipate. The intention is there, they are mentally focused and they know it’s good for them, but they start to go back to their old ways of thinking.
Mindset is the key to succeeding at getting fit and healthy. Think of it this way. You get up out of bed every morning, get dressed, shower, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and you don’t even give it a second thought. Why? It’s routine. You’ve made it a habit to do this every morning. Exercising is no different. You just need to find a way to make it a priority. Easier said that done, right?
I put this quote on my facebook page this morning and someone commented to me that once you say it out loud, it really does sound different. The next time you say you don’t you have time to workout or eat clean, say this out loud and see if it changes your mind.
We use the words ‘I have not time’ as an excuse. I’ve used it many, many times myself. The bottom line is if you want to change the way you feel, you have to give up something. Only you can decide what that something is. This blog post is your reality check.
Eating whole and plant-based foods can be time consuming. However, it is a priority of mine. In order to gain more time to cook, I simply had to give up some of my cardio workout time. Let’s face it, I was doing too much of it anyways. During my off-season, when I’m not training, I focus on building muscle mass and do less cardio. It’s my priority. When I’m training for trail races, doing weight training becomes less of a priority and I focus more on my high intensity training and long runs. This is how I fit in my time to prepare whole food meals. I had to give up some of my training time to gain more time for what I felt was important. However, I’m getting more in return from my whole foods eating approach and getting better returns on my time.
With all this being said, eating healthy isn’t the only factor of gaining more energy. These are the top four steps that are important to gaining more energy to not just exercise but to get the most out of life.
Getting Enough Sleep
There is no substitute for sleep. You can drink as many cups of coffee you want but after a while your body is going to break down and feel the consequences. If you are struggling to fall or stay asleep, regular exercise will help you fall asleep faster as well as deepen your sleep. The two go hand in hand. Want more energy, exercise, which will help you sleep.
Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day which can lead to low energy. How much is enough? Well, the standard ‘8 glasses a day’ is just a recommendation and some people may need more while others require less. There is no rule. If you are exercising, ensure that you are properly hydrated before, during, and after your workout.
Whole & Plant-Based Foods
Yes, I sound like a broken record talking about whole foods all the time in my blog posts but the reality is, if you’re putting crap into your body, your going to feel like crap. You will be tired, restless, and fighting to get through your work day all because of the food you put into your mouth. Animal products, processed food, and refined sugar really don’t provide a lot of nutrients. The more a food is cooked, refined, and filled with additives and preservatives, the less it becomes a whole food. We live in an instant gratification society where we are obsessed with energy supplements and drinks promising to bring us sustained energy throughout the day. In fact, it’s these supplements and drinks that cause our bodies to break down and crash, doing exactly the opposite of what they are suppose to do.
It sounds so funny that in order for people to get more energy, they need to find energy to workout. As you continue to exercise on a regular basis whether it be 3, 4, 5+ times a week, your aerobic capacity will increase, your neuromuscular systems work better, your hormones can be more easily controlled naturally and your muscular endurance will skyrocket. Your will lose body fat, maintain lean body mass, and most importantly, your body doesn’t have to work as hard doing normal activity. What was once difficult to do on a daily basis like walk up a flight of stairs, becomes easy. Your feeling of fatigue decreases.
Exercising doesn’t make you tired. In fact, it actually increases energy in your body. I do caution people when first starting an exercise program to workout at lower-moderate intensities. By doing so, it will help prevent you from depleting your body and avoid feeling fatigued.
So how do you find out what your intensity is? Hire a professional trainer, coach, or exercise physiologist who can help you determine how well your body is conditioned and where your starting point should be. Seeking out professional help will help decrease your chances of crossing the threshold into tiredness.
Eat Clean & Live Green!
Your Compassionate Coach,
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