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6 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Energy

6 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Energy


    Getting things done quickly and well requires mental and physical energy. The better more you have the better your results. This applies to all every area of life from getting in a good workout to performing your best at your job. Unfortunately, energy isn’t something we always possess. This is especially true when we’re under stress, haven’t gotten enough sleep, or are distracted by having too many things to get done.

    In this article I provide 6 tips to increase energy. Some work immediately and others provide their benefit over time. I use all of them regularly myself. They’ve helped me get through 80 hour work weeks while running a start-up business without having to overstimulate myself with too much caffeine.

    1. Explode

    I don’t mean lose your temper or find a way to self-combust. What I do mean is to perform explosive exercises like jumping in place as high as possible or burpees. These exercises help ‘wake up’ your nervous system and will have you feeling more alert and energized.

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    The key is to not wear yourself out. This is done by doing several sets (5-10) of low reps (1-3) of 1-2 exercises. Rest about 30 seconds between each set. I like to perform 1 upper body and 1 lower body exercise. Body weight and kettlebell exercises are best but you can do weighted movements too. If you do, use a very light weight.

    Perform this type of exercise when you are feeling tired for a quick pick me up at work or before you workout to boost your energy all workout long.

    2. Take a Shot of Tyrosine

    This amino acid is used to make the chemical dopamine that’s found in large amounts in your brain. This chemical sends signals to your brain that tell it to get to work and stay focused. Studies on soldiers show that supplementing with l-tyrosine can help boost mental and physical performance, even when you are sleep deprived and exhausted from performing hours of exhaustive exercise.

    You can buy l-tyrosine supplements at any health food store. Start by taking 500 mg to see how it works for you. Increase the dosage if necessary in 500 mg increments. Studies show that 2-3 grams (2000-3000 mg) is the most effective dose.

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    3. Eat Some Protein

    Eating a protein rich meal will give you more energy for several hours. Studies show that eating protein is superior to one that’s high in carbohydrates at increasing attention span, memory, and the time it takes to make a decision.

    The reason for this, it seems is that a protein rich meal helps to better stabilize your blood sugar levels and therefore providing our body and brains with a steady source of fuel High carbohydrate meals on the other hand cause large increases and then rapid decreases in blood glucose and mental energy.

    So, instead of having a meal of pasta, rice, or a sandwich on a roll opt for salad with steak or chicken, an omelet, or a seafood and vegetable stir fry. If you’re pressed for time, a protein shake will do the trick too.

    4. Eat Smart Fats

    This tip applies specifically to mental energy and focus. If you want to have lots of each you need to give your body the right fats every day. The best types for this benefit are the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They way these super fats help you is by increasing levels of certain chemicals in your brain which enable you to focus and deal with stress better.

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    The best way to get these fats is to eat fatty fish (i.e. mackerel, salmon, sardines) several times a week. While I strive to do this, I find that taking a fish oil supplement is the best way for me to get enough omega 3’s into my diet to see a benefit.

    Aim to get 2-3 grams of EPA and DHA into your diet every day. This is equal to a large serving of salmon, 4 fish oil supplement capsules, or a tablespoon of liquid fish oil.

    5. Take a BCAA Supplement

    This is my favorite way to boost my energy. Nothing gives me more energy so quickly. No even caffeine. Studies show that supplementing with branch chain amino acids can decrease fatigue when you are stressed from physical or mental work. Research also finds they’re good for boosting your mood. The better your mood, the more you will be able to focus on getting things done.

    The best way to get an adequate dose of branch chain amino acids is with a nutritional supplement. Start by taking 2-3 grams and increase the dosage until you find what works for you. You’re likely to find the best results by taking them on an empty stomach.

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    6. Take a Nap

    Last but not least, the best way to feel mentally and physically energized is to give your brain a rest so it can re-charge. The best way to do this is to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. We both know this isn’t always possible, especially when you’re busy at work. One way to give yourself a mental boost is to take a nap. Studies show doing this …

    Don’t nap too long or you may find yourself feeling as tired as you did before sleeping. Studies show that a 10-15 minute nap is all that it takes to feel more mentally alert.

    Conclusion

    Now you know 6 great ways to boost your energy. The next time you find your body and mind feeling sluggish, give them a try and experience their effectiveness for yourself.

    Sources: Fischer K, Colombani PC, Langhans W, Wenk C. Carbohydrate to protein ratio in food and cognitive performance in the morning. Physiol Behav. 2002 Mar;75(3):411-23; Hassmén P, Blomstrand E, Ekblom B, Newsholme EA. Branched-chain amino acid supplementation during 30-km competitive run: mood and cognitive performance. Nutrition. 1994 Sep-Oct;10(5):405-10; Lovato N, Lack L. The effects of napping on cognitive functioning. Prog Brain Res. 2010;185:155-66.

    (Photo credit: Running Man via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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