We don’t have to tell you how it feels when your mind and your body are devoid of energy and your boss or your family expect you to perform. You’re fatigued. Your thinking is confused. You could even put yourself at risk because a lack of energy means you’re not fully focused on the world around you. Things get worse if you’re preparing for a run—whether it’s part of your routine or an upcoming marathon.
While running devours energy, you may be surprised to learn that your mind can trigger energy depletion, too, and there’s plenty of scientific evidence around to back up that claim. In fact, says Leo Widrich writing for Buffer.com, there are “4 Elements of Physical Energy” to consider if you want more energy: Physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Eliminate just one and don’t be surprised if your energy levels plummet.
Smart eating habits can make all the difference
Widrich quotes prolific journalist and speaker Tony Schwartz who wisely said, “Manage your energy, not your time.” Think about it. Time is fleeting. Energy is a constant. All it takes to compromise your energy is having one of those four elements out of balance, so begin your re-education by adopting these eating rules:
- Maintain a sustainable glucose level in your bloodstream via healthy food choices.
- Understand how you can sabotage your energy if you grab the wrong foods just because you’re hungry.
- Prioritise carbs in the morning and fat and protein in the evening to keep energy perpetually high.
- Focus your full attention on your plate so you don’t absent-mindedly load up on energy-depleting foods.
Body-mind energy secrets
Do you consider yourself fit? Most runners answer affirmatively without a second thought, but taken down to its smallest denominator, at the heart of fitness isn’t muscle strength or toning—it’s oxygen, Grasshopper.
The transportation of oxygen throughout your body is the key to stamina and you can’t process oxygen properly if you employ lame excuses to avoid the gym, runs, marathons and other energy-producing activities. A constant fitness program drives oxygen to the places that require it for energy production.
Having prioritised your workout schedule so you maximise those oxygen benefits, your next challenge is to sleep enough hours to support your energy needs. Whether it takes pre-bed rituals like powering down your computer, avoiding stimulation or cutting back on food that can keep you awake, pick the techniques that work best for you.
Additionally, add a sleep-tracking app to your gear so you’re aware of the quality of your sleep. You can’t function properly on diminished sleep on work days and you certainly can’t perform at your best if you don’t get sleep leading up to a marathon.
What to do when your energy disappears
Lifestyle website PopSugar weighed in on the topic of how to conjure up the energy one needs before taking a run a few years ago and those suggestions are as timely today as they were then. When you feel as though your energy reserves are at the bottom of the Kranji Reservoir, rebound using these four tricks:
- Snack up—no greasy, sugar-filled treats, please, say editors at Health.com. You need real energy like whole grain crackers and hummus, energy bars, nonfat yogurt, dried fruits, nuts, bananas and peanut butter.
- Drink up—It’s the elixir of life; the one beverage that literally keeps us alive: water. Get dehydrated and you’re going to droop, so don’t attribute your lack of energy to anything else until you down a healthy amount of water.
- Pep up—it doesn’t work for everyone but caffeine can stimulate energy when your reserves are low. Don’t overdo it if you choose this energy-booster or you could lose a full night’s sleep from too much stimulation.
- Warm up—If you’ve ever been surprised by the boost of energy you feel when you warm up, it’s not your imagination. Dynamic warm-ups speed blood throughout your body, aided by the oxygen that helps propel it.
Must you follow the crowd?
Don’t be silly. It’s your energy. Generate it any way you like, including adopting methods you may not have heard about up to this point. They are many creative ideas to get your groove back and we’ve chosen 8 of the best to get you started:
- Count calories. You don’t have to be on a weight loss plan to do this and you may be shocked to learn that your lack of energy comes from not eating enough to keep your body fuelled properly.
- Eat nonstop. Get rid of that “three square meals a day” mentality you learned from Mum. Instead, keep your energy levels on a constant high by eating lots of small, energy-filled meals throughout the day.
- Fight boredom. Life isn’t always a roller-coaster ride powered by thrills and adventures. Boredom is powerful enough to decrease energy levels, so shock your body back into balance doing something that stimulates you and you’ll feel the pep return.
- Switch things up. Ah, routine. We love it. We hate it. It serves a purpose, however. But when routine turns into Groundhog Day (the movie about a guy who relives the same day repeatedly), you need a new route to work, lunch venue change or, best of all, a brand-new path to follow when next you run.
- Indulge in a sports massage. Seriously. You lie there and realise how it feels to be a member of royalty. Massages get the blood flowing, oxygen circulating and it’s the best way ever to leave stress behind and feel the euphoria that’s pure energy.
- Get your Vitamin B levels checked. All vitamins are important but the B family boosts energy levels most of all. Can’t stomach poultry, eggs, salmon or other B-rich foods? That’s why God made B-complex supplements.
- Introduce your body to green smoothies. Add fruit to sweeten those greens and don’t be surprised if you experience something akin to a rocket ship of energy coursing through your body.
- Overdoing fitness activities can be the demon that lurks behind your lack of energy! When you’re exhausted, all of the tips in this article won’t help if you don’t give your body a break. Bodies don’t forget. Yours will repay you in energy dividends if you learn to listen to it properly!
Do you have a tip for maintaining energy that wasn’t mentioned in this article? Why not send it to us so we can add it to our list of recommendations?