Need More Energy? Try these Tips or 5 tips to boost your energy levels

Do you need more energy?

Do you find yourself relying too much on energy drinks and coffee to stay awake throughout the day?

A few days ago, each of my nutrition clients complained of low energy levels. We all have those days, but when they become the norm, our work and lifestyle may suffer. Here are a few tips from Personal Trainer West London they shared with us & ones I will be using.

1. Hit that 2 pm drag?

Take a few minute break to go for a walk, do jumping jacks…. Get your heart rate up. This will help you focus more, be more productive, and vanquish your droopy lids.

2. Eat from multiple food groups at meals & snack times.

Carbs will help you get quick energy. While protein, fat, & fiber will provide more energy to last you until your next meal. I typically recommend 2 food groups for snacks & 3 for meals.

3. Eat smaller more frequent meals.

Food = energy (calories). If you eat a huge meal, you may not feel so great afterward and may need a nap, but if you eat smaller meals and eat them throughout the day, you can feel more energized & less stuffed.

4. Eat breakfast.

Remember that food give you energy, you need energy to think well & move. Get it? Breakfast may not be imperative to promote weight loss, but I really believe it’s important to give you brain power & fuel you throughout the day. (check out our previous article on the battle of breakfast)

5. Get your 7-9 hours.

6. Go To Bed

why we need to go to bed. Because, really, how many times did you skip exercise or grab a double cheeseburger because you were just too tired to think about it. Outside of not planning, and not knowing how, aren’t energy levels a major barrier to making healthful choices? Last week, I talked about some tips to boost your energy in the moment, but unfortunately those tips won’t help you if you chronically get 4-5 hours of sleep per night.

Why do we need sleep?

Kids & teenagers need it to grow and develop
It allows our brain to prep for the following day, making pathways to help you learn & remember information. It helps you learn better.
It promotes brain activity to help you make decisions, solve problems, control emotions and behavior, and cope with change. (hello, those late night cookie binges are coming from poor decision making and impulse control!)
It gives your body time to heal and repair itself, particularly your heart and blood vessels, also your immune response.
Sleep deficiency affects your risk of obesity and your hormone balance (particularly your blood sugar regulation, and your hunger/satiety cues)
You can be more productive in your job/school
To prevent drowsy related accidents
What can affect our sleep quality:

Caffeine, alcohol
Electronics (particularly the bright light)
Inconsistent sleep schedule
Lack of relaxing bedtime rituals
Temperature and environment of your bedroom
Uncomfortable mattress/pillow

What can yo do to improve sleep quality:

Unplug from technology at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Participate in consistent exercise. (you saw that coming right?!) Some people aren’t even affected by exercising at night. (here and here are additional benefits of exercise)
Manage your stress as your anxiety can keep you awake at night.
Reduce caffeine intake in the afternoon/evening (even starting at 2pm)
Create a nighttime ritual and consistent bed/wake times
If you wake up in the middle of the night, try a relaxation technique instead of grabbing your smartphone.
Go To Bed: the importance of sleep
Personally, I have to be up and at work or class way earlier than I ever did before, but I feel more energized and less tired than I did while in my undergrad. I would attribute that to reduced stress levels (by learning how to better manage those), and a more consistent sleep schedule. I’m nowhere near perfect at keeping to the good sleep guidelines (especially when it comes to nighttime rituals & electronics) but I’m way better than I used to be.

Although sleep may seem like an easy first thing to go, it really should be made a priority. I mean who isn’t nicer, healthier, and able to make better decisions after a good night’s sleep.

8 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Workout Efforts

Today I wanted to talk about things that we can do to sabotage our hard workout efforts. I sometimes hear people complaining that they aren’t seeing results or improvements after spending time in the gym. This might be because they are doing small things that are prohibiting them from receiving the full benefit of their workout.

**Please remember that while I did receive my Bachelor’s degree in Health and Sport Studies, with a focus in Exercise Science, I am not a certified fitness professional. These statements are my opinion and are based on my experience and discussions with other fitness professionals.

8 Ways You May be Sabotaging Your Workout Efforts

1. Holding on to the hand rails on cardio machines that don’t require arm movement. This is a big no-no because it decreases the amount of effort you have to use, thus making the workout easier. Also, when holding onto the rails you are not allowing your core to fully engage and your posture is often much worse.

Try it with no hands!

2. Using too much momentum and not enough muscle force to lift weights. If you use all momentum to propel the movement of a weight, you aren’t stressing the muscle the way it should be stressed. And, you could actually cause some forces that will lead to injury.

3. Working out as hard as you can, every single time you exercise. Just as much as your body needs a rest day, it also needs to be worked at varying intensities. You don’t want to overwork your body and cause burnout.

4. Completing all of your cardio workouts at one intensity. While you don’t want to go as hard as you possibly can every single time, you also don’t want to lolly gag your way through a workout. Your cardio routines need variety so your body doesn’t get used to them, and even though you don’t need to go all out, you should still challenge yourself.

5. Doing the same strength training routine or using the same exercises over and over again. Our bodies are smart things. If we keep doing the same exercises all the time, our bodies will adapt and get used to them. Then we will be able to perform the exercises more efficiently and we won’t need as much energy to do them. Thus, less calories will be burned and your muscles will not be challenged as much!

6. Spot reduction. Spot reduction doesn’t work. Fat loss can’t occur from just one area (unless you want to get a medical procedure). It’s important to incorporate cardio, especially interval training, in order to help with fat loss for the whole body. Then, the muscles you’ve been strengthening can show through!

7. Not taking a rest day. Our bodies need time to recover and rejuvenate. The repair and strengthening of our muscles actually occurs when we rest. Also, rest days help with feelings of burnout!

8. Not consuming enough calories for your activity level. I wrote a post on this a while back. It is essential that our bodies get the amount of calories it needs to sustain its functioning. This way our bodies are at a level that enables us to thrive and feel good!

Why Is Drinking Diet Soft Drinks Bad For You?

We all know that the one of the worst things about drinking regular soft drinks such as Coke is the high sugar content, so surely sugar-free diet soft drinks seems like a logical alternative right?
Maybe not. Over the past few years there have been quite a few studies that imply that diet soft drinks are actually bad for us over the long run, despite not containing the very high levels of sugar.

There have been a variety of claims over the years as to why diet soft drinks are so bad for us, but let’s take a look at a few so that you can decide for yourself whether or not you want to pick up that can of Diet Coke – or find something else to drink!

Increased Weight Gain

No, that’s not a typo! Diet soft drinks can actually make you gain weight if you drink them for a long period of time. According to a study performed by the University of Texas Health Science Center, drinking diet soft drinks more frequently has been correlated to a larger waist line. That study also determined that the sweetener aspartame, increased blood sugar (glucose) levels in mice, implying that the same could be possible in humans.

There has been some opposition to these findings, citing the small sample sizes used and the fact that parts of the test were done with mice and not humans – but there have been similar studies done in the past that show similar results – so at the very least it’s worth taking into consideration if you’re dieting. You should certainly consider the fact that even diet soft drinks might be bad for you if you are on a diet or trying to lose weight, as there is evidence to suggest that this might well be the case.

Increased Risk of Heart Attack
According to an American Stroke Association study of people who drank diet soft drinks at least once a day – they had an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other “vascular diseases”. The study followed around 2,500 New Yorkers for close to a decade, and found that over 60% of them had a higher risk of vascular events.
Increased Risk of PreTerm Birth

There was also a study of Danish doctors published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that saw an increase in preterm birth rates for those women who drank diet soft drinks, but there was no increase in those that drank regular, sugared soft drinks. Despite the study, Dr. Thorhallur I. Halldorsson, who led the study said that “one observational study is not enough to justify strong statements” and there is a need for additional studies in this area. But again, this is certainly worth considering if you tend to drink a lot of diet soft drinks presuming they are somewhat safe and good for you – according to research it is possible that this may not be the case!

Aspartame Side Effects
One of the most controversial ingredients in diet soft drinks is the sweetener aspartame, which was originally approved by the FDA in 1974. There have been literally hundreds of suspected side effects from aspartame since then, ranging anywhere from migraine headaches to brain cancer!

Despite the large number of claims about aspartame, the majority of claims have been disallowed by the FDA due to flaws in the testing of the sweetener. Despite the FDA rulings however, many countries throughout the world have now proposed bills to eliminate the use of aspartame, and some stores in the UK have stopped using it all together. Many soft drinks manufacturers have now also switched to alternative sweeteners like Splenda, which have a less controversial track record

So Is Diet Soda Bad For You?
The conclusion here is that although to date there is no real concrete evidence that conclusively proves that diet soft drinks are actually bad for you, there is certainly a lot of controversy about it and lots of research that suggests that at least for most people, we might be better off avoiding them and stick to drinking alternatives instead. The advice would be to avoid them if you can, as in our opinion it is simply not worth the risk when compared to simply sticking to drinking other alternatives such as water, natural fruit juice etc.

How Toxic is Sugar?

In a recent interview that aired on CBS, Dr. Sanjay Gupta sparked a national discussion when he discussed the recent research results surrounding sugar consumption and the effects it can have on the human body.

This discussion has sparked a debate that we thought it would be useful to examine further in this blog post – namely just how dangerous is sugar consumption and what will consuming too much sugar do to you and your body over the longer term?

Most experts agree that excessive sugar consumption is either directly or indirectly to blame for many of the current diseases and adverse health conditions that are found throughout the world.

Such conditions include diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer and heart disease.

It is also a fact that around 16% of the total calories that many people consume come from added sugar that is contained in foods and drinks such as energy drinks, soda, desserts, fruit drinks, ice cream and chocolate.

The issue with this is that far too many people throughout the world are consuming too many calories in total, but with significantly too few nutrients in their diets as they are not consuming the required whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

The truth is that many of us don’t realize just how much sugar we are consuming. This includes via regular table sugar, as well as honey, syrup, and virtually all processed foods.

In addition, sugar is often consumed unnoticed via foods such as yoghurt, sauces, bread and peanut butter.

Another problem is that sugar is addictive, and ingrained in our biology – as there is no food stuff on the planet that has fructose in it that is poisonous to you – so put simply, when you taste something that’s sweet, it’s an evolutionary signal that this is a safe food for you to eat. This explains our fascination with sugar and why we are so keen to constantly consume so much of it.

Humans naturally used to get fructose mainly by eating fruit, which is also typically high in fiber, which helps to slow consumption and the body’s absorption of the food. But today’s processed foods, which contain refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, are much easier to overeat, which has been one of the main causes of our current problem with sugar in our diet.

However, it’s important to note that not all nutrition experts are convinced that sugar is highly toxic. Although most agree that, when consumed in excess, sugar can be detrimental to your health, it is also widely accepted that when consumed in moderation, sugar is absolutely fine.

To give you some idea of how much sugar you should be consuming, and whether you are indeed taking in too much – The American Heart Association recommends that women consume around 100 calories – or 25 grams – of added sugar each day, while men limit consumption to around 150 calories – or 38 grams, per day.

To limit your sugar consumption, try and avoid drinking too many sugary drinks such as soda, and opt instead for unsweetened ice tea, water or 100 percent fruit juice.

Also, pay attention to labels and recognize that, in addition to high fructose corn syrup and sugar, items like corn syrup, corn syrup solids, malt syrup, liquid fructose, molasses, anhydrous dextrose and crystal dextrose all signal added sugars in a processed food item.