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Saturday, October 17, 2015

9 Overlooked Energy Thieves

Are you sooo tired?
“That alarm clock just didn’t go off this morning,” my client said breathlessly, running into my office 15 minutes late and spilling a gargantuan cup of Dunkin Donuts dark roast all over her new turquoise Lulu top. 

As a single mom with two kids who often worked doubles waiting tables, no jury in the land would convict my client for blowing off a workout or otherwise complaining her battery felt drained. 

Still, I had a reputation in my gym as a no-excuser, and I wasn’t offering any sympathy for her sob story. (I did feel badly about her coffee spill though!) Instead,
we sat down after that session and carefully looked at why she often lagged energy. 

Among my arsenal of tools to rebalance energy levels, we focused on and minimized these nine energy thieves.

1.      Mindlessness. What goes up must come down, and coasting on energy highs only leads to subsequent crashes. My client became more aware about these ups and downs by becoming aware of her energy levels in the moment. That way, she could pinpoint the lows, steady the highs, and create a healthy energy balance.

2.     Sleep. Trimming off an hour or two of sleep means more productivity, or so my client thought. She often got home from waiting tables late, felt wired, and then had my workout or something else scheduled the following morning. Because she felt so lethargic, those sleep-deprived morning activities suffered. We gradually increased her sleep quota until she got a steady, sustained seven hours every night. Among other benefits, that extra sleep manifested as a newfound focus and energy. Grab my top sleep strategies here.

3.     Sugar. That temporary feel-good spike as blood sugar climbs becomes one gargantuan rash that leads to more fatigue. Steady blood sugar means steady energy levels. Dump the processed junk and grab slow low carbs like apple slices with almond butter or plain yogurt with strawberries and chia seeds.     

4.     Alcohol. While a nightcap may make you feel drowsy, studies show alcohol often hijacks sleep, contributes to daytime fatigue. If you drink, stick with one or two glasses of red wine or tequila, preferably at least three hours before bed. That does not mean staying up later, nor does it become a free pass to drink every single day. (Although you're human, so if you "accidentally" over-indulge, here are nine strategies to beat that dreaded hangover.)

5.     Caffeine. A venti dark roast feels like perfection when you’re dragging, but over-caffeinating can disrupt sleep and just leave you feeling worse. Know your caffeine tolerance, and become aware many caffeinated beverages also contain sugar that deliver a long-term double whammy to your energy levels.

6.     Exercise. While regular consistent workouts increase energy and improve sleep, studies show overtraining – chronic strenuous exercise without enough recovery –can have the opposite effect. When your stress-to-recovery ratio tips in the wrong direction, adrenal fatigue zaps your energy levels. Recovery and rebalance become crucial after a kickass workout. Allow your body to recover by alternating harder workouts with yoga, brisk walking, or even a little burst training.

7.     Toxicity. Your body can detoxify amazingly, yet studies show when toxin exposure outweighs the body’s ability to dump these toxins, fatigue, weakness, and mental fog often result. Minimize toxic exposure and work with an integrative practitioner to develop a customized detoxification program.

8.     Hydration. You’re probably not drinking enough water, and studies find even mild dehydration can leave you dragging. Purchase a reusable bottle, keep it on your throughout the day, and stop whining about why you don’t like water. If you just really hate it, spark water up with a few slices of lemon, lime or cucumber.

9.     Stress. Short-term stress gives you the ability to run from danger or spring into action in an emergency. But stress should do its job and chill out. Chronic stress leads to chronically elevated adrenal hormones, disrupting sleep patterns and leaving you feeling fatigued. Stress management becomes a top priority to balance energy levels.

I’ve seen numerous clients maintain steady, sustained energy when they implement these nine strategies. What would you add to bust out of an energy rut? Share yours below or on my Facebook page.

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Fitness expert and strength coach Jini Cicero, CSCS, teaches intermediate exercisers how to blast through plateaus to create incredible transformations. Are you ready to take your fitness to a whole new level?  Find out now!
© 2015 Jinifit, Inc.

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