For the busy folks who are nodding off at the desk, there's hope for you yet!
With so much work to do, social/family obligations and trying to maintain some sort of sanity, you need a good jolt of energy to get through the day. But you don't want that jolt to come from caffeine and/or sugar. You'll get a temporary lift but unfortunately the crash is even worse.
What's a busy professional to do? Don't worry, the solution is not complicated and doesn't involve a juice cleanse. You just need to make some minor adjustments to your routine.
1 - Shorten your workouts
If you're hitting the gym hard (good on you) maybe you need to pull back just a little bit. Limit your workouts to 45 minutes or less. You can even do 20 minute workouts and get a ton of benefits (if you do it right).
Work hard but also work smart. Focus your workouts on the exercises that give you the most benefit (compound movements like squats, pushups, pullups, rows).
Add in some quick intervals a few times a week and you have a great fitness plan. It doesn't take hours in the gym to get the body you want. Get in, work hard, get sweaty and get out.
Workouts should leave you invigorated not feeling like you've been hit by a truck.
2- Take a Walk
A quick walk will do wonders for your energy levels. Back when I was working an office job I would get sleepy around noon. I started a new lunch break routine: walk for half/eat for half. This small change made my afternoons much more productive. Bonus tip - eat first, then go for the walk especially if you have a lunch rich in carbohydrates.
3- Drink Only Water
As I stated earlier, you don't want to rely on caffeine/sugary drinks for energy. Stick to water for the majority of the day. Being dehydrated leads to fatigue. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. So don't let it get to that point. You can also add lemon, cucumber to water to give it a different flavor.
4- Eat more fruits and veggies
Keeping with the theme of lemons and cucumbers, eat more fruits and veggies. You know this already. But here's a way to actually do it. Pick a day of the week and cut up a bunch of veggies; Bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, carrots.
Fruit is easy, just toss some berries in a bag or container and you've got a nutrient-dense snack. Berries are my go-to for energy during the day but you can go with apples, pears, kiwi. Pick one you enjoy and will actually eat.
5- Sleep Tips
Of course we can't talk about increasing your energy levels without mentioning sleep. But rather than go over all the usual sleep recommendations, I will just leave you with one tip: stop drinking liquids a few hours before sleep.
Make your sleep a priority. Treat it seriously, not as an afterthought.
6- Breakfast of Champions
Stay away from the cereal aisle! Most of the cereals are not going to give you sustainable energy. They are processed and full of sugar.
One breakfast idea that I got from coach Charles Poliquin is the eggs and nuts breakfast. This is a great way to start the day. Get some raw cashews or almonds, macadamias and have some eggs as well. You get essential amino acids, healthy fats and energy to last for hours. Mix in some veggies with the eggs and you have a powerhouse meal to start the day.
Some say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I say “it depends”. If you do it right, you should have plenty of energy to last much longer than cereal, toast and orange juice.
You may also be interested in our post on Blood Sugar 101: How to Maintain Your Blood Sugar.