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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

Top 5 Ways to Double your Energy (Without Caffeine!)

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Top 5 Ways to Double your Energy (Without Caffeine!)

It’s one of the most common complaints on the planet and it comes in many forms:

  • “I just sat down, you get up.”
  • “I’m too tired, too achey, too frazzled.”
  • “Can’t a person have 5-minutes to just chill out?”
  • “I’m burned out.”
  • “I’m feeling a little… run-down, weak, lazy”

While there may be other contributing factors…

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Lack of energy plays a pretty major role in all these excuses.

Over the last ten years, motivated largely by the ability to stay awake for insane hours and operate on hyper-speed, caffeine and sugar-packed energy drinks have become the go-to fix for gamers and students. But, what about non-gamer grown-ups?

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How do you energy-up, without loading up on stimulants?

Here are five techniques and activities that are not only proven to add a lot of energy to your day, but also add to, rather than take away from your overall health:

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  1. Breath of fire: At the heart of yoga lie a set of breathing techniques designed to have very specific and, often, immediate, energetic effects on the body. And, whether you believe in the existence of a subtle-energy in the body (called Prana) as yogis do, or you prefer to attribute the stimulating effect to activation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, these techniques work.The Breath Of Fire is a yogic breathing technique designed to not only cleanse, but heat and energize your body. And, it at it’s core is a series of quick, panting-like exhales. For detailed instructions, click here now.
  2. Exercise. This sounds a bit counter-intuitive, but one of the best things you can do to feel more energetic when you’re low on energy is to get active. Exercise initiates physiological changes in your body that increase blood flow and energy substrates to both your brain and skeletal muscles, increasing your alertness and overall energy availability.
  3. Meditate. Two things that drain your energy lightning-fast are stress and anxiety. And, unfortunately, many of us work in settings that cultivate stress and anxiety on a chronic, daily basis. If you’re not ready to create larger-scale change in the circumstances that cultivate this stress, developing a daily meditation practice is an amazing antidote. It frees up a huge chunk of your mental energy and taps the relaxation-response, which rebalances both your nervous and endocrine systems. The net effect is both a deeper sense of calm and increased, enduring energy.
  4. Improve your sleep. This one is pretty intuitive. Much of the restorative work in your body happens when you sleep. This includes repairing damaged tissue and replenishing energy stores.So, it stands to reason that, if you are chronically sleep-deprived, you end up less-restored, less-replenished and less energized. This is a massively oversimplified description of the physiological processes, but the reality is, we need only to look to or own experience to know the impact of a killer 20-minute power-nap on your energy. Or, if you’ve got the time, kick it up to complete a full sleep cycle (about 90-minutes).Just be sure not to nap for too long or you’ll start to drop into the sleep cycles that, when you’re awoken, can leave you even more groggy, tired and irritable.
  5. Listen to high-energy music. Here’s a final one that, again, is backed by intuition. Not only does great music give you that near-magical second wind or extra kick when you are exercising, it also boosts your mood and energy during regular tasks. In fact, some research even revealed workers who listened to great classical music experienced increased productivity and creativity.

While the energetic benefits of meditation unfold over time, the other techniques yield a pretty immediate benefit, without having to suck down a barrel-full of stimulants that almost always lead to a inevitable rebound crash. So next time you’re feeling a bit low on energy, give one of our Top 5 a try and energy-up without the negative side-effects of a substance-driven boost.

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Featured photo credit: Zac Durant via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired

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7 Reasons Why Your Body Feels Heavy And Tired

Interestingly enough, this topic about our bodies feeling heavy and tired has been assigned right around the time when I have been personally experiencing feelings of such “sluggishness.” In my case, it comes down to not exercising as much as I was a year ago, as well as being busier with work. I’m just starting to get back into a training routine after having moved and needing to set up my home gym again at my new house.

Generally speaking, when feeling heavy and tired, it comes down to bioenergetics. Bioenergetics is a field in biochemistry and cell biology that concerns energy flow through living systems.[1] The goal of bioenergetics is to describe how living organisms acquire and transform energy to perform biological work. Essentially, how we acquire, store, and utilize the energy within the body relates directly to whether we feel heavy or tired.

While bioenergetics relates primarily to the energy of the body, one’s total bandwidth of energy highly depends on one’s mental state. Here are seven reasons why your body feels heavy and tired.

1. Lack of Sleep

This is quite possibly one of the main reasons why people feel heavy and/or tired. I often feel like a broken record explaining to people the importance of quality sleep and REM specifically.

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The principle of energy conservation states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. It may transform from one type to another. Based on the energy conservation theory, we need sleep to conserve energy. When getting quality sleep, we reduce our caloric needs by spending part of our time functioning at a lower metabolism. This concept is backed by the way our metabolic rate drops during sleep.

Research suggests that eight hours of sleep for human beings can produce a daily energy savings of 35 percent over complete wakefulness. The energy conservation theory of sleep suggests that the main purpose of sleep is to reduce a person’s energy use during times of the day and night.[2]

2. Lack of Exercise

Exercise is an interesting one because when you don’t feel energized, it can be difficult to find the motivation to work out. However, if you do find it in you to exercise, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its impact on your energy levels. Technically, any form of exercise/physical activity will get the heart rate up and blood flowing. It will also result in the release of endorphins, which, in turn, are going to raise energy levels. Generally speaking, effort-backed cardiovascular exercises will strengthen your heart and give you more stamina.

I’m in the process of having my home gym renovated after moving to a new house. Over the past year, I have been totally slacking with exercise and training. I can personally say that over the last year, I have had less physical energy than I did previously while training regularly. Funny enough I have been a Lifehack author for a few years now, and almost all previous articles were written while I was training regularly. I’m writing this now as someone that has not exercised enough and can provide first-hand anecdotal evidence that exercise begets more energy, period.

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3. Poor Nutrition and Hydration

The human body is primarily comprised of water (up to 60%), so naturally, a lack of hydration will deplete energy. According to studies, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.[3] If you don’t consume sufficient amounts of water (and I suggest natural spring water or alkaline water), you will likely have more issues than just a lack of energy.

In regards to nutrition, a fairly common-sense practice is to avoid excess sugar. Consuming too much sugar can harm the body and brain, often causing short bursts of energy (highs) followed by mental fogginess, and physical fatigue or crashes. Generally, sugar-based drinks, candy, and pastries put too much fuel (sugar) into your blood too quickly.

I have utilized these types of foods immediately before training for a quick source of energy. However, outside of that application, there is practically no benefit. When consuming sugar in such a way, the ensuing crash leaves you tired and hungry again. “Complex carbs,” healthy fats, and protein take longer to digest, satisfy your hunger, and thus, provide a slow, steady stream of energy.

4. Stress

Stress is surprisingly overlooked in our fast-paced society, yet it’s the number one cause of several conditions. Feeling heavy and tired is just one aspect of the symptoms of stress. Stress has been shown to affect all systems of the body including the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive systems.[4] Stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which is produced by the adrenal glands. This can lead to adrenal fatigue, the symptoms of which are fatigue, brain fog, intermittent “crashes” throughout the day, and much more.[5]

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It’s important to look at stress thoroughly in life and take action to mitigate it as much as possible. Personally, I spend Monday to Friday in front of dozens of devices and screens and managing large teams (15 to 30) of people. On weekends, I go for long walks in nature (known as shinrin-yoku in Japan), I use sensory deprivation tanks, and I experiment with supplementation (being a biohacker).

5. Depression or Anxiety

These two often go hand in hand with stress. It’s also overlooked much in our society, yet millions upon millions around the work experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many that are depressed report symptoms of lack of energy, enthusiasm, and generally not even wanting to get up from bed in the morning.

These are also conditions that should be examined closely within oneself and take actions to make improvements. I’m a big proponent of the use of therapeutic psychedelics, such as Psilocybin or MDMA. I’m an experienced user of mushrooms, from the psychedelic variety to the non-psychedelic. In fact, the majority of my sensory deprivation tank sessions are with the use of various strains of Psilocybin mushrooms. Much research has been coming to light around the benefits of such substances to eliminate symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more.[6]

6. Hypothyroidism

Also known as underactive thyroid disease, hypothyroidism is a health condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient levels. This condition causes the metabolism to slow down.[7] While it can also be called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism can make you feel tired and even gain weight. A common treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy.

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7. Caffeine Overload

I’m writing this as someone that went from five cups of coffee a day to now three cups a week! I’ve almost fully switched to decaf. The reason I stopped consuming so much coffee is that it was affecting my mood and energy levels. Generally, excessive consumption of caffeine can also impact the adrenal gland, which, as I covered above, can almost certainly lead to low energy and random energy crashes.

Final Thoughts

The most important thing is to identify that you feel heavy or tired and take action to improve the situation. Never fall into complacency with feeling lethargic or low energy, as human beings tend to accept such conditions as the norm fairly quickly. If you’ve made it this far, you’re on the right path!

Examine various aspects of your life and where you can make room for improvement to put your mental, emotional, and physical self first. I certainly hope these seven reasons why your body feels heavy, tired, or low on energy can help you along the path to a healthy and more vibrant you.

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Featured photo credit: Zohre Nemati via unsplash.com

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Reference

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