Monster. Red Bull. 5 Hour Energy. Starbucks Double Shots. Everywhere you look there are new products with the promise of increased energy. Do they work? Of course they do. Anything with that much Caffiene, Amino Acids, and Vitamin B is sure to send you to the moon. But what about a couple of hours later? We all know what happens. Most of us have been there. Crash!
I’ve been reading, studying, and practicing many different healthier ways to boost energy levels without the crash. Some of these tips are good, but most of them are just plain wonderful.
Contrast Showers – This one I really like. It takes a little getting used to though. Contrast showers are alternating between really hot and really cold for a couple of cycles, usually about 30 seconds each. The contrast between hot and cold is a real shocker for your body, and you will be rewarded with a real JOLT of energy.
Vitamins and minerals – If you look at the ingredient lists of most of these highly marketed energy drinks what you will find is that they are packed full of all different kinds of vitamins and minerals. Who knew that vitamins were good for you, right? Well now there are no excuses. Get a good multivitamin and take it religiously. Sometimes it’s the difference between a good and bad morning. And BONUS: Vitamins will help build your immune system, which will prevent illness.
Healthy meals – This one will take some practice. The goal is to eat your carbs, protein and fat at the right ratio for high energy. A good ratio of calories is 40-50% carbs, 25-35% protein, 20-30% fat. Remember that this is percent of calories, not grams of each. 1 gram of carbs and protein is 4 calories. But 1 gram of fat is 9 calories. Keep this in mind when creating the ratio. Too much of any one of these will offset the balance and you’ll notice it in your energy levels and level of alertness.
Exercise – You won’t believe me till you try it for yourself, but once your body gets used to the work load of moderate exercise you will find that after your workouts (obviously not immediately) you will sense an increase in energy. It’s like a recharge on the batteries. Need motivation? Join our [intlink id="982" type="post"]Spring Fitness Challenge[/intlink].
Stretching – Sometimes you can’t make it to the gym, and that’s understandable. A good set of stretches will send blood flowing to the muscles and will really get your mind working. Try some of these.
Supercharged Nap – When I’m really low on energy and there is no chance of staying awake I break the golden rule. I use caffeine. What I do is drink a cup of tea (tea has about 1/3 the amount of caffeine as coffee) and I take a 20 minute nap. The time it takes for caffeine to start working is a pretty close match up to my nap time and when I wake I feel supercharged and ready for action.
Motivating music – Sometimes a good fast paced playlist is all you need to get your motor going again. I’m talking about the same type of music you would listen to during exercise. That fast pace will get your mind moving, your blood flowing, and your level of alertness up.
Processed foods – Processed foods are packed with calories. They are generally higher in fat, have huge amounts of sodium, and are just bad for you overall. Try to avoid eating too many processed foods in one day.
Large amounts of Caffeine – We all know of caffeine’s positive effects. Of course we all know of the rubber band effect caffeine has also. The larger the amount, the harder the crash. Do your best to avoid large amounts of caffeine, and if you must drink it, do it sparingly. The worst thing you could do here is develop a tolerance and addiction to this stuff. I’ve seen people who honestly needed 3-4 cups daily else they couldn’t function. It’s horrible.
Large amounts of sugar – Sugar is just like caffeine with its rubber band effect. A large dose of sugar will have you flying high, but 30 minutes later you’ll be free falling. Plus sugar that isn’t burned gets stored as fat. Just say no.
Energy drinks – Pound for pound energy drinks are actually pretty great. The problem is they become our one source for energy when we are low. Then they become less and less effective, requiring more and more. And let’s not forget that they aren’t cheap. Keep energy drinks as a last resort to be used only when the tips shared above cannot.
Energy stealers (people)– We all know a couple of these people. People who by just being around you steal your energy. They could be needy people, demanding people, or even just ridiculous talkers. When it’s crunch time, and energy is of the essence, avoid these people at all costs, or it will be your demise.
The best way to achieve a high energy lifestyle is to live a healthy life. As outlined above this involves monitoring diet, exercising, and avoiding the crap, and just a few special secrets (like contrast showers). But you’re a college student too. You’re experience with low energy and energy boosters equals mine. What do you do to boost energy? Leave a comment and let us know!