Suffering from no energy? Feel tapped out? Exhausted? Sluggish? At the end of the day do you want to just sack out on the couch.
You may be super inspired to get more done, move your life forward and start a business, write a book, renovate your home or volunteer your time. Most people have at least one key project that they want to get done, but there is a often one thing in the way to getting it done.
Think of one major accomplishment you’d like to achieve in the near future? Got it?
What do you think is in the way? What’s the number one reason you have for why you don’t have what you want? Is it… Time? Money? Willpower? There is one sneaky culprit that most people never consider. And this one affects all the other variables. The most common big, bad, dream-killing culprit is: No energy.
At the end of the day, you probably don’t have any reserves to take that next step, get in action and get your pet project started.
Low energy, or no energy is the culprit
Most people are just tapped out. They don’t have the energy to start one more task, even if they are inspired to get it done. Low energy, or no energy is the culprit.
Energy is your baseline. It’s a critical force, such that if lost all your energy, you’d have nothing. You’ll understand this if you’ve ever been acutely or chronically sick…or cared for someone in that condition.
When you operate your life on no energy, your ability to get things done is seriously hampered. You don’t want to work. Your thinking becomes foggy. It’s hard to focus. You may even want to avoid other people when you’re energetically tapped out. That’s energy loss at its worst.
However, most people take their energy stores for granted. They don’t realize they are operating with very low energy. In fact, most people use energy boosting substances to try to charge themselves up to generate more energy. Things like: Caffeine, sugar, or in some cases pharmaceuticals or narcotics.
It’s not your fault if you fall into that camp. Most of us use artificial stimulants like caffeine or sugar. We don’t have the facts straight on the best ways to amp up our energy stores. Here’s why: Few people are properly educated on how to feel more energized.
How to get your energy back
Read on and you’ll learn some very simple ways to up amp up your energy levels. You’ll see how you can get more done, and feel one thousand times better in body, mind and spirit.
What does that means for your life? Perhaps, an extra couple hours at the end of your work day to jump into that project you’ve been thinking about, but you’ve been too tired to put into action. Or more energy might simply heighten your level of thinking and focus so you can perform better in all areas of your life. When you feel energetically awesome, you really become unstoppable.
No energy? 6 Surprisingly simple ways to amp it up
Energy Booster 1: Drink more water
Your body is made up of 75% water. You have 75% water in your muscles. Your bones are 25% water. Water is a life sustaining solvent. It regulates the functions of all your systems.
If you feel like you have no energy one of the simplest energy boosters is to drink more water. You’ve likely been told that before. Are you doing it? If not, what’s in the way for you? If you hate the taste, inject your water with fruit or citrus. Make it interesting. As a general rule you should be drinking 4 pints, or about 2 litres, of water per day. If you drink a lot of juice, coffee or soda you’ll need to drink even more. Sugary drinks or caffeinated beverages are energy suckers. You’ll also want to cut back on caffeine, sugar and alcohol. These can be hard to do, but it’s rewarding if you can make small to moderate changes.
Here’s what happens when you consume sugar, caffeine or alcohol: You’ll get a surge in energy from your glucose levels spiking and dopamine (a happy brain chemical) flooding your brain. The surge will bring you high and then drop you really low. Your body will react by feeling even less energized and craving more sugar, caffeine or alcohol.
When it comes to drinking more water it’s about balance and conditioning. If you’re not an avid water drinker and the mere idea is a turn off then start to replace one drink per day with a glass of water. Continue to up your water consumption and minimize your sugar, caffeine, alcohol consumption each week. It’s about incremental progress. This is also because your brain and body have gotten used to your routine. So don’t freak your body out because you’re cravings will get worse. Just slowly replace and balance. Pretty quickly you’ll find it makes a mega difference. You may even find you become a water-aholic. (It happened to me. I was a former “I hate water, it’s boring” kinda person. Now I always have a glass nearby and I love how I feel).
Energy Booster 2: Move your body gently
While I was writing this article I started to feel a bit lethargic. I felt like I had no energy. I was having trouble focusing, keeping my eyes opened and felt like I needed a boost. So what did I do? Instead of reaching for a coffee or a candy bar, I stood up and put on some music (“The Club Can’t Handle Me Right Now” by Flo Rida, to be exact) and I shook my booty. I danced around my home office to get my heart rate up and put myself in a good mood. It took me probably less time than it would have taken if I went downstairs to grab a sugary snack or drink and I immediately felt energized. I jumped back into my writing and made quick progress.
If you work in an office where everyone is watching you, a bit of boogie at your desk may not be possible. You might have to leave the area and go for a short brisk walk for a 5-minutes instead. Getting your heart rate up makes an immediate difference. You don’t have to do much. Simply raising your arms up and thrusting them back down toward your shoulders while you breathe in and out will do the trick. Do 30 reps and you’ll feel an immediate difference. Try and take in as much and expel as much air as possible. Do it now even and you’ll feel a difference.
The important thing to remember is when it comes to energy: You get back what you generate.
If you want to increase your energy levels do more aerobic activity. Running (and not too hard, intensely enough that you could carry on a conversation), biking, swimming, yoga, these are all great activities that will amp up your energy levels versus suck them dry. This is because when you engage in aerobic fitness your body uses glycogen and fat as fuel. On the other hand, anaerobic activities – such as weight lifting, sprinting and Crossfit – are great for building muscle but they can be massive energy warping activities. When you engage in anaerobics oxygen is not present so you use glycogen as fuel. Within two hours you can deplete all your glycogen stores and you’ll hit a wall. Bottom line is: Do more aerobic activity!
Get your heart rate up, but don’t overwork your system. Many people sit at a desk all day and then kill themselves at the gym with anaerobic exercise. Instead, maximize your energy and go for a light run or brisk walk or yoga instead. Know your personal fitness goals and balance the two — aerobics and anaerobics — for best results.
Energy Booster 3: Eat a bit less and eat smart
Most people eat more than they need to. Eating is necessary and important, but what most people don’t consider is that digesting food is an energy draining activity. The more you eat during a meal, the more energy it takes to process it. Think of how tired you feel after you eat a giant meal during the holidays. When you stuff your face (which we all do, and happily, from time to time) you may quickly feel like you have no energy after the meal. All you want to do is rest. On the flip side, if you’ve ever been on a liquid cleanse you may have noticed that you had more energy. Veggies and fruits take the least amount of time to digest.
Be cognizant of the foods you eat and the amounts. Some foods take larger amounts of energy to digest than others. Protein and fat take the most time to digest. Carbs take little time but carbs that are not complex – white rice, white bread, pasta – are quick to digest but will raise your blood sugar levels which can lead to a major rise and fall in energy. As a general rule (sorry if you don’t love this idea) eat more veggies and fruits. When you eat protein eat more of it from seafood or grains like quinoa. Don’t be afraid of carbs just be smart about them. Don’t eat white carbs, eat whole grains.
Another quick tip on the food front: Eat more pickled foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. They will help you digest your food fast!
Energy Booster 4: Breathe consciously when you need an energy boost
Raise your arms to the level of your head. Pull them to your shoulders and when you do breathe out as hard as you can (snot might come out of your nose so watch out, but that’s when you know you’re doing this right). Then pump your arms back to your and inhale. Do this 30 times. Repeat the sequence until your heart is pumping.
Raising your hands and dropping them is critical because it will get your heart rate up and blood flowing. That’s what you want to have happen. You can do this anytime when you feel you have no energy. Ever been driving a far distance but you’re getting tired? Don’t stop for a coffee or soda, pull over and do this instead. Or, next time you’re working on a project and you’re feeling fatigued, try this for a quick boost.
Energy Booster 5: Be around people
Simply being in an environment near other people — like at a Starbucks — can be good for your energy levels. Positive interactions with people or even just being around people can amp up your energy massively. Your brain surges with dopamine when you make contact with other human beings. The dopamine increase is healthy. It is natural and similar to what your brain does on cocaine. Being around people packs a massive energy punch. Take a moment to think back to a time in your life with friends or family where you just had an awesome time. Think about how awesome you felt!
The important part with this energy amping rule is to be with people that are positive and not negative energy suckers. Spend time with people you like or go sit in an environment in public with strangers. If you’ve got someone to cuddle up with that’s great too. Go give your partner or kid a hug or cuddle. You’ll get a boost of oxytocin to the brain. It’s another happy energy-boosting neurochemical. If you don’t have someone around to cuddle, go get a massage. Human touch makes you feel good and energized.
Energy Amper 6: Find inspiration
What do you love to do for fun? When’s the last time you had an adventure? Go learn something new or engage in activity that’s fun for the sake of fun and has no real purpose. Lose your mind in a fun activity. If you’re really focused you’ll get in a state of flow. When you activate flow your energy levels will soar. You’re brain will flood with great new ideas.
You don’t even have to go do something to get inspired. You can simple close your eyes and daydream about a future goal you want to achieve. See yourself there and celebrating. Get into your daydream and feel how you would feel if you were there. This will give you an immediately boost of happiness and energy. And to boot, you don’t have to go anywhere. Thinking about grateful moments, or having fun or achieving awesome goals in your future will have you get excited. When you open your eyes you’ll have more energy and feel propelled to get into action.
Energy killers to limit or avoid
Life is about balance. It’s pretty tough for you to rid yourself of energy killers completely (Actually, it is next to impossible). But be cognizant of them and limit them. Balance them with the energy amping activities above and you’ll be a higher performer in all areas of your life.
- Sugar. Get rid of sugar in your diet as much as you can. When you do eat sugar stick to natural sources like honey. Or low glycemic replacements like agave syrup. Don’t eat sugar substitutes (They are even worse!). No matter how disciplined you are around sugar, once in awhile eat that piece of cake or ice cream. Do not deprive yourself. You will be miserable.
- Caffeine. I LOVE coffee so this one is tough for me. If you consume caffeine get it from natural sources (coffee or tea, not energy drinks). Balance your caffeine intake with plenty of water.
- Alcohol. Same rules as caffeine apply.
- Energy drinks and boosting substances. There are packed with sugar. If you like them, drink them in moderation. Studies show they may not be good for you.
- Engaging in activities you hate. We all have to do things we hate sometimes (ie. reconciling company books or house cleaning) but do your best to limit these. If you HATE your job, this might be your call to action. We spend a third of our lives at work. If you hate what you do, you are robbing yourself of joy and sucking your energy dry.
- Avoid negative people. Whether it’s friends, coworkers, neighbors or family, for the most part who you spend the majority of your time with is critical. Spend time with people that lift you up, inspire you and are good for you. Limit your exposure to negative people. Be nice to them when you are around them, but don’t be generous with the energy you spend on them. Negative people are parasites on your energy. Lots of negativity equals no energy.
- Absorbing negative or useless information. Avoid taking in information on the Internet or TV (like the news) that has no value or is negative. It takes up useful space in your brain to think about valuable things.
- Avoid hyper intense workouts. Multiple studies conducted on the oldest and healthiest people in the world (superagers) reveals that their physical activity is aerobic and not anaerobic. Remember that anaerobics can drain your energy. So exercise briskly, but don’t over do it. You should be able to talk as you exercise. This will keep you in the aerobic range. Light running, brisk walking or other pulse boosting activities are ideal. They also burn fat better than anaerobic exercise.
- Worry or stress. When you find yourself worrying or stressing about things that haven’t happened or thinking about the past too much, divert your attention. What you focus on and the thought you expend around negative stressful things will suck your energy stores dry. Your body uses glucose to think. Also, if you’re thinking negatively your cortisol level (a stress hormone) levels soars then crashes. So be cognizant of what you’re thinking about and when. Don’t let it contribute to you having no energy.
No energy equals no quality of life
Remember that the amount of energy you have equals your quality of life. So, no energy leads to lack of progress, lethargy, fatigue, lack of inspiration and ideas. When you have ample energy you become laser-focused, more productive and you feel happier. It might be worth it to apply some of the information you read in this article right away. Start small. Incremental progress and small chances overtime are the key.