All day energy, especially during cold wintry months!
Winter is upon us here at the gym in Portland, Oregon... and S.A.D. - faced folks are appearing in the gym.
The lack of heat and light is apparently sapping the will to live directly out of our population... and it is high time we take our vitality back.
Before you reach for the vitamin D, make sure that you go through this self-care checklist.
Food is the absolute biggest deal when it comes to energy levels. It is how we create the energy to do the work of being awesome! In order of importance, here’s a 50,000-foot level view of food and the other factors that play into our energy.
1. Food Quality
Eat whole foods (not necessarily from Whole Foods, unless you have a two-income family or large credit limit on your MasterCard). Whole foods mean it is one step from the earth. It is a plant or animal that has not been preserved or packaged. Organic, local is best. Fewer additives don’t strain your liver and endocrine system, leaving you more energy to do great things.
2. Food Ratios
Eating the proper amount of fats, carbohydrates, and protein (proper = defined by your metabolic type). You take an inventory that will let you know how you lean in the ratio, and then simply experiment from there. I am a protein type and I LOVE fats, so I like to carry around some avocados and nitrate-free salami with me. By eating and food journaling, you can track what you eat and how it makes you feel, thus dialing in the proper food ratios over time.
3. Meal Timing
You should be able to make it between 3 and 4 hours without getting too hungry or sleepy. If you are not lasting long, look at your food ratios. More fat and protein will allow you to last longer before getting hungry and more carbohydrates will give you more pep but burn out faster. If you are working especially hard physically or mentally, then you will need to increase your caloric intake, period. Test out your meals and see how they hold up to your workload!
You should be hydrated and mineralized. If you over-consume water or diuretics, you will urinate out much of the minerals in your bloodstream. Add a pinch of Celtic sea salt to a 20 oz water bottle and you will give a little more body to the water you drink. It will be more satisfying and will stay with you longer. Don’t worry about drinking half your body weight in ounces. Just make sure your urine is clear and that you don’t feel thirsty throughout the day.
5. After food comes sleep!
The sleep that we get each night is divided into physical and mental recovery periods, based on the hormones you secrete from 10PM to 2AM, and from 2AM to 6AM. These periods are set both genetically and environmentally and have some play. The timezone you were born in has a large input, as well as your day/night and work/rest cycles. Bottom line, sleep as much as you can between 10AM and 6AM, because your body will get the most rest from these periods. There is a small amount of flexibility earlier or later, depending on the person, but this is a good rule of thumb.
Eustress from exertion, endorphins from working out and increased plasticity for your beautiful brain. How could you not exercise?! Make a habit of it, train with a friend, or a personal trainer, throw your hat over the fence or whatever you must do to get out there and hit it!
If you are eating, sleeping and moving and you are still having issues with energy, see a trusted health practitioner that can take you through a comprehensive battery of test.
80% of us have lifestyle issues that sap our vitality. The other 20% is worth investigating once you have your diet, sleep and exercise sorted out. I have a process for that, but then again so does every wellness expert!
The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll have more energy to pour into the things you love and love doing!
Coach Josh here from Training for Warriors Portland, helping YOU bring out the warrior within!