Give your energy levels a boost
Energy: the measurement of ability of a body or system to do work or produce a change, expressed usually in joules or kilowatt hours (kWh).
I promise not to bore you with the science of energy, how you cannot create nor destroy it and that it can only be transformed from one form to another.
Let’s think fitness. Energy is simply the strength and vitality required for you to sustain physical or mental activity. I mentioned mental purposely, as you know, fitness is just as much mental as it is physical.
Along your fitness journey you will experience fatigue, lack of energy and even mental fatigue, convincing you to either give up, slow down, lift lighter or even completely rest.
While rest days are important it’s also important to differentiate between needing a rest day and not taking care of your mind and body.
Many of us are too scared to consume carbohydrates, only get five to six hours of sleep a night, count calories and limit overall food consumption; we drink “energy” drinks and stress too much (whether about weight loss, missed session or even PRs).
All of that whilst attempting two sessions of cardio or weights a day? That is a sure way to self-destruct, mentally drain yourself, fail to lose healthy weight and simply … lack energy!
What can you do differently?
First of all, get at least eight hours of sleep at night.
You’re already “beasting” in the gym, reward yourself. Allow your body to rest, recover and replenish itself.
After all, it is whilst at rest that our body seeks to repair and rebuild muscle tissue. You produce most of your growth hormone during sleep. This in turn helps with fat loss, decreases fat storage, boosts your immune system and, most importantly, keeps your internal organs running smoothly.
Now imagine not getting enough rest. Imagine by not getting enough rest you are limiting all of the aforementioned from occurring. Your body will go into overdrive, putting energy into balance and less into extras ie your workout.
Secondly, eat the carbs!
Why are you afraid of eating carbs? Too many calories? Afraid you’ll gain weight? Do not be fooled. In order to continuously give 100 per cent in your workouts and also be able to function daily you need carbs in your life.
Carbohydrates are essentials (macronutrients) that give you energy. Remember that word? Scroll up and refresh your memory.
With the essential amount of carbohydrates you will have the mental and physical sustainability to complete a workout. It all comes down to eating the most energy-efficient carbs like sweet potato, brown rice or bananas. A dietitian, certified nutritionist or personal trainer can help you with the amount of carbs you actually need, but trust and believe you need them!
The third and rather important thing to do is to drink water. No, not Gatorade, MiO energy or any other energy boosters. Simple, plain water. Sure you can sub in for taste at times but ideally, make sure you drink just water.
Do I really need to remind you why you should drink water? We lose water every day. We lose water by breathing alone, never mind during exercise. Need I remind you? Dehydration? Blood flow? This is one paragraph that I’ll cut short. Just drink the water! Replenish your system. Hydrate. You’ll be running to the bathroom more often, but you’ll be better off for it.
So you’re getting sufficient rest, eating enough energy enriched foods and drinking plenty of water. These three simple changes in your lifestyle will ensure that you have enough energy to get, maintain and improve your fitness.
• Dre is a retired track and field athlete who is now a personal trainer, aerobic and yoga instructor and fitness “addict” with more than five years’ experience. She specialises in nutrition, weight and sprint training, operating primarily out of National Stadium. Contact her on: email@example.com or 599-0412. Find her on both Facebook and Instagram under @Absbydre