Here are my top six tips to boost your energy. These are simple, inexpensive functional wellness focused approaches that are KEY for supporting healthy, balanced energy levels. Read on to learn how you can easily manage the energy crisis going on in your body!
One of the most common responses I get with my health coaching and nutrition clients when we discuss their top 5 health concerns, at the start of our time together – ENERGY!! I have heard every version of – “I have no energy”, “Why am I so tired all the time”, “How can I have more energy later in the day?”, “I NEED my coffee to get through the afternoon”, “My energy levels are the worst they’ve ever been?”, “how can I boost my energy?”
This common issue is not unique to my parents, to just women or the folks working long hours – this is probably one of THE MOST universal health issues I see across the board, with all of my clients.
We are dealing with an energy crisis in our own bodies. Crashing after breakfast around 10am, using coffee and energy bars to push through, then there is that dreaded 2pm slump. More coffee. More snacks. And finally, despite a desperate desire to want to hit the gym or that yoga class after work, you simply just can’t even. It’s not a lack of willpower or motivation, you are simply lacking the energy and there are probably some VERY simple reasons why. Lucky for you, it can be a fairly simple and inexpensive path to remedy this, if you are committed to doing the work and putting in some time to making a few changes.
These are my SIX functional wellness tips to boost your energy and manage the issue on a foundational level rather than simply dealing with the symptoms of fatigue and at times even depression that can result from a lack of energy!! Put down the coffee, energy drinks, bars, bites and balls and let’s get to the root of it….
1. Eat a Nutrient-Dense, Real Food Diet:
Eating a diverse, whole foods diet, with a strong focus on quality protein every day, adequate healthy fats and of course, loads of nutrient-dense plant foods vs refined carbs, processed foods and sugar – this is KEY to creating sustained, long-lasting energy and avoiding those pesky mid-day crashes due to the blood sugar roller coaster. Controlling and balancing blood sugar is one of THE most important things you can do for your energy! Read more about eating to support long-lasting energy – spoiler alert, one of the simplest ways – is to START your day SAVORY and avoid sugar-loaded foods that spike your blood glucose and insulin levels, which inevitably leave you feeling depleted and exhausted when you crash. If caffeine and other stimulants affect your sleep or cause crashes, it’s best to avoid those at the very least until you rebalance your energy levels. Read more about taking a break for coffee and how to do a simple 14 day caffeine reset.
2. Stay Hydrated!
One of the most common nutritional deficiencies is water!! Can you believe that? Hydration is KEY. If your body is short of fluids, one of the very first signs is a feeling of fatigue. If you find yourself asking “Why do I feel tired all the time?” it is crazy to think that the answer might just be lack of this precious nutrient. Without optimal water, your body cannot circulate all the other necessary nutrients, hormones, and other compounds you depend on. Dehydration will stop biochemical reactions in their tracks, disrupt your metabolism, slow the transportation of substances into and out of cells, and impair numerous other crucial physiologic processes. HOW MUCH WATER? I recommend consuming approximately 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water, daily. This is a general guide, it may need to be more if you sweat a lot working out – use this as a guide, see how you feel and adjust accordingly. Usually by the time you are experiencing thirst, you are already be in a state of mild dehydration. Monitor the color of your urine to check your hydration status (pale yellow in individuals is good, dark yellow or tan is bad). Learn more about hydration here.
3. Get Your Sleep:
Approximately 7-9 hours per night are necessary for the body to rest, refuel and to restore functions across your many systems. Factors like elevated cortisol levels caused by stress and unstable blood sugar levels can throw off your sleep cycles. A lack of sleep can leave you groggy, sluggish and generally just fatigued. Sunlight exposure first thing in the morning and limiting screen time in the evening to help regulate your normal circadian rhythm. Implement bedtime rituals like a hot bath (add some epsom salts and essential oils, like lavender), meditation or breath work to calm and prepare the body for a good night’s rest. Learn more about the importance of sleep in this special podcast episode featuring sleep expert Dr. Param Dhedia and try out my FREE Body Scan Meditation for sleep for some extra help.
4. Stress Management:
Living in a constant state of stress can leave the body exhausted, but it can also deplete the body of important nutrients – especially if your dietary intake is already low. Stress suffocates energy in a wide variety of ways. With chronically elevated stress, your adrenal glands are forced to operate in maximum gear resulting in higher levels of cortisol output, which can affect sleep, blood sugar management, digestion and it will absolutely further deplete energy levels. Implement breath work (I love box breathing), practice mindfulness and meditation. Journaling, a daily gratitude practice, time blocking and setting boundaries can also be super effective for stress management. Remember stress can of course be life and work related, the normal stuff we consider to be stress, but it can also come from overtraining at the gym, under eating and consuming foods that you are intolerant to or foods that cause chronic inflammation in the body – these too can all be a stressors on the body, just the same. Pro tip: Vitamin C-rich foods and turmeric are two great anti-stress nutrients. Learn more about stress in this podcast episode featuring psychologist Dr. Deborah Schleicher.
Exercise can improve energy levels by strengthening circulation and the heart muscle, it also releases endorphins, supports heathy sleep and helps stress management – in return all of this will help improve energy levels. Make time for movement every day; a walk, weightlifting, yoga, dancing. Move that bod and get that heart rate up. Mood boosting endorphins, dopamine, seratonin, noraepeniphrine are all great for feeling that natural high and a natural energy boost to keep you fueled up. The key to finding movement you can sustain – choose an activity that you love, if it doesn’t bring you joy, if you don’t look forward to it, you won’t prioritize it and you won’t do it.
Supplementation can be a great way to support the body while you prioritize those other 5 very important energy boosters listed above. Magnesium is a common deficiency these days, due to many factors. Magnesium is crucial in ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production, ATP is the main source of energy in cells and it must be bound to a magnesium ion (Mg) in order to be biologically active. Work with your practitioner to find a magnesium supplement that will be right for you, there are MANY types of magnesium. I generally recommend Magnesium Glycinate as it is highly absorbable and the most gentle on the stomach. I also recommend working with your practitioner to test your Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D blood serum levels and consider supplementation, as needed, depending on the results, both vitamins can play a role in our energy levels and feelings of fatigue. Finally, consider adaptogens to support and strengthen your adrenals, to reduce fatigue and tension, adaptogens like ashwaganda, reishi, rhodiola and more have been shown to promote a healthy stress response in the body, helping to return energy levels to normal.
**Please note: I ALWAYS recommend working alongside your practitioner, nutritionist or health coach before introducing any supplements to your regimen. It’s important to consider contraindications, cofactors, bio-individuality tc. **