Energy Boosting

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Steve Mellor and James Osborn of Freedom2train.com are the hottest trainers around and responsible for motivating and building strong, lean and healthy bodies for their clients, as well as being nutritional experts. They have been signed up as the fitness bloggers for Harper’s Bazaar and were recently credited in Vogue as being ‘training perfection’. This month they talk about energy boosting and top training tips:

If there’s one thing that can really damage adherence to an exercise programme it’s deficiencies in energy. That feeling of lethargy we’ve all been familiar with at some point in our lives is a master at turning the best intentions and highest levels of motivation into an evening slumped on the sofa yawning our way through another TV series.

Despite this, very few of us think to address the problem of fatigue and take actions to remedy it, much like we would think to treat the flu or an illness. Instead we ignore it, attributing it to a bad night’s sleep, hard day at work or a late night. Suddenly you’re four weeks down the line, regularly ditching workouts and not seeing the results you should.

The fact is, in the majority of cases, constant fatigue is a condition of lifestyle, much like obesity or type 2 diabetes. Subsequently, just like obesity or type 2 diabetes, low levels of energy can be treated with small changes in the way we live our lives.

With all this in mind we’ve put together a combination of the best exercise and nutritional tweaks, subtractions and additions that make up our guide to boosting energy levels and keeping them high.

Tabata

Tabata is a form of training that we have tipped to become very popular in 2013. Created by a Japanese scientist called Izumi Tabata, this training method is based on high intensity bouts of exercise that last for 20 seconds followed by ten seconds of rest, eight rounds for a total workout time of four minutes. This is the perfect remedy for feelings of sluggishness as four minutes of work is psychologically much less daunting than an hour, plus its variety and intensity means it’s never boring. The intensity element is crucial for increases in energy as it’s this high level of effort that results in a ramp up in blood flow and metabolism causing a surge in oxygen levels and feelings of alertness. The best part about the whole thing is that despite huge decrease in training time, research has proven that the effects are just as big, if not bigger.

Exercise in the morning and outdoors

All of the benefits of exercise mentioned above are magnified when we workout out in the morning. The ramp up in metabolism, meaning you burn more calories, can last throughout the day (the higher the intensity of workout, the longer the effect) even when you’re just sitting at your desk. Additionally, the increases in blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain leading to an alert and energised feeling, can occasionally effect sleep negatively if we workout too close to bedtime. Lastly, taking that post exercise attentiveness into the office can lead to significantly better decision-making and cognitive function.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a clever little vitamin that helps fight against stress, depression and many more illnesses. Additionally it leads to increased feelings of well-being and, you guessed it, energy. The best source is the sun, which is another reason we advocate exercising outdoors so strongly. However, in the UK the sun isn’t strong enough to give us our daily vitamin D so we recommend taking a supplement to make sure you beat the seasonal blues and stay firmly on top of your energy levels.
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Increase magnesium intake

When energy is key, one mineral to ensure you’re getting enough of is magnesium. Magnesium is used in the body for the breaking down of glucose (sugar) into energy. The RDA is around 400 milligrams for woman and 450 milligrams for men. You can find it in nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and cashews, whole grains and fish. Many magnesium supplements can cause gastric upset, so aim for a supplement with high absorption levels such as Neuro-Mag by Life Extension.

Avoid blue light

This tweak in lifestyle can dramatically impact our sleep, and in particular, how we fall asleep. To help you fall asleep faster it’s important to avoid sources of ‘blue light’ before bed. Blue light is emitted from technology screens like phones, computers and iPads, and leads to a suppression of the sleep inducing hormone melatonin, making falling asleep naturally much harder. Which means that trawling through twitter feeds and replying to emails and texts could be killing your energy levels. Instead opt for a book, which produces none of the negative effects but helps keep the routine of reading something before the lights go out.

Eat less sugar

Eating foods high in sugar produce an initial spike in blood glucose levels which have the effect of a very short-term energy boost. Following this however, the blood glucose level drops rapidly leading to a feeling of real tiredness and lethargy. Eating foods with a lower G.I can help avoid this energy-sapping pattern and combining these low G.I choices with a source of healthy fat (salmon, avocado, nuts etc.) further reduces the effect on blood sugar and helps produce slower more steady release of energy throughout the day.

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