I enjoy my morning workouts and I feel much better when I stay active. Whether I am walking the dog, working in the yard, or playing basketball with my son I enjoy staying active and being outside as much as possible. My workouts have transitioned more towards strength building and less cardio. At my age I need to retain as much muscle as possible. I try to supplement my workouts with plenty of activities that get my heart and lungs going. I have found that nothing is important enough to squeeze out the time I have set aside for workouts and physical activities. It just isn’t worth it.
But like everyone else, I want to make sure I get the most from my workouts since I am investing the time and energy for it. I have discovered that the food, vitamins and minerals I take in before and after my workout make a huge difference in how I feel and in the results I get.
- Carbohydrates – your body needs quick energy during your workout and carbs get you there. Carbs are especially important before your workout to give you energy to provide you the energy needed to give it your all. The best, of course, are complex carbohydrates. If you work out first thing in the morning like I do, a great option is whole wheat toast or pita, stone-rolled oatmeal, non-fat Greek yogurt, a few strawberries or a banana. If your workout fits your schedule later in the day you may be more in the mood for most any kind of beans, sweet potatoes, corn, whole grain breads or brown rice. I generally grab a banana and go. Probably not enough. But one thing in for sure, you don’t want to your gut to be too full so just a quick snack is best.
- Fat – this is especially helpful to sustain your energy levels during a long exercise routine such as long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. Carbohydrates give you quick energy but fat keeps you going for the long haul. This is due to the high calorie density, one gram of fat equals nine calories. It burns off slower so it fuels your body for a longer period of time compared to carbs. For this reason, fat doesn’t really help for shorter, high intensity workouts. These include avocados, eggs, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish such as tuna, sardines and trout.
- Protein – this will sustain you through your workout and will help build the muscle you need. Protein will help rebuild the muscle that is broken down in weight training exercise so it is best to take in extra protein immediately after your workout and for the next 12-24 hours. Without the protein your muscles need you will not get the full results you have worked so hard for. Lean meat is a great source of protein. This includes chicken or turkey breast, lean cuts of beef steak (top or bottom round), and pork chops. Fish is also a good source with Halibut, Salmon, Tilapia and Tuna being the best. Eggs, Greek yogurt and cheese are also great options.
Also, especially important before, during, and after your workout is to stay hydrated. Drink filtered water so your body can process the nutrition you have taken in as well as rebuild your muscles. As I have said before, water is superior to any of the so-called fitness drinks on the market.
If you are going to sacrifice your time and put in the effort to exercise you should want to get the most out of it and nutrition is very important. Most serious body builders find it is necessary to augment their food intake with high quality nutritional supplements. I am a believer in the products offered by Advocare. This great company offers a wide range of the highest quality products anywhere and you can find what fits your lifestyle and your needs. I will dig deeper into which of these products enhance your workout and exercise routine soon.
Have you tried any of the four suggestions I shared Monday about how to have more energy? Or maybe you were already doing those before I wrote about them. Well, I have a few more helpful tips today to help you have more energy and get more done in your day. Let me know if they help. I would love to hear how you are doing on your quest to have more energy.
Get a good night’s sleep. This is a really basic common sense idea but one we like to overlook. And how much is really enough? I won’t answer that one for you because everyone is different but most of us need between 6 and 8 hours. Recognize and respect your body’s sleep needs. And what if you have trouble drifting off when you lie down? Most experts agree on these guidelines;
- Keep a regular sleep schedule every day, even weekends
- Get to know and work with your body’s clock
- Eat right and get regular exercise
- Create a relaxing bed-time routine
- Control anxiety and stress, clearing your mind for sleep
- Be Social. When at work take short breaks and visit co-workers if your environment allows. At least eat lunch with other people and don’t talk shop. Seek out happy and funny people. Light banter and laughter will do wonders for your disposition and will help you have more energy. And in your free time surround yourself with healthy happy people. And nothing gives you a better outlook on life, boosting your energy, than helping someone less fortunate. Be a volunteer and share your talents and energy with others.
- Be Active. Less sitting and more activity. When at work walk outside briefly to get some fresh air and get your blood flowing. It will help your brain stay sharp. Just standing up, stretching and taking some deep breaths will help. When you sit back down are your desk you will have a clear mind and be ready to tackle the next task. Regular exercise is essential to have more energy and get more done. It is just the way our bodies are made. If you need exercise ideas check out my recent blogs. https://whenwesucceed.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/the-best-exercise-for-beginners/
- Whack your To-Do List Do you have items on your To-Do list that just never go away? Believe it or not these are holding you back from being productive and are weighing you down. Messy desk? Cluttered closet? Cobwebs in the corner? Unfinished project that just never seems to get done? Lots of studies have shown we subconsciously think about these things and they drag us down mentally and zap our energy level. Commit to knocking a few of these items off your list and it will give you energy and momentum to tackle larger tasks.
We all like to have more energy and feel better but sometimes we just lose sight of what it takes. Hopefully this will help keep you on track and will keep you going.
It is hard to know how to begin an exercise program. The most important thing is that you have decided to begin. Just take that enthusiasm, act on it and turn it into a consistent habit. Sounds easy, right? Well it ain’t. It takes self-discipline and commitment but what good thing doesn’t?
So, where do you begin? Walking? Bicycling? Weightlifting? Maybe some MMA? (uh that would be Mixed Martial Arts. Like kickboxing and stuff. No Thanks) What is the best thing to start with? By far the best way to exercise is to find some physical activities you enjoy and do them. If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t continue for long and the goal is to make it a part of your life. Forever.
Walking is probably the best way to begin an aerobic workout. Find places with great scenery (really easy where I live) and mix it up a bit. Plug in some favorite music or listen to inspirational recordings of some sort. That makes it more enjoyable and makes the time go by faster. If time is an issue just get out at lunch time and walk for a few minutes before you eat. Or get up a few minutes earlier in the morning. Again, if you don’t enjoy walking find something you enjoy more.
Swimming is also a great exercise and is especially handy if you happen to have a pool out back. My fitness center has one and I enjoy doing that on occasion. My normal routine is to run on the treadmill while watching a movie or watching morning television (endless weather reports, anyone?) but I also like to swim laps occasionally. I find it more intense since I must keep kicking my legs rather quickly to stay afloat. You may find it more enjoyable.
Bicycle riding, playing basketball or other sports, or any number of other activities are also very good. Jumping on your kid’s trampoline is also a great exercise. Jumping benefits your reflexes, digestion, and lymphatic system in addition to toning your muscles and improving your cardiovascular system. And it lends itself to starting slowly and improving with time.
These are all aerobic exercises but I highly recommend starting with some type of resistance training as well. Whether it is weight lifting or simply doing push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups it is very important to build and tone muscles. It is not necessary to have lots of machines at your disposal, just use your own body as weight to build muscle.
The balance of aerobic activity and resistance exercises will serve you well and will keep things interesting enough to continue on a regular routine. As far as frequency I would say to start with 3 days a week and gradually work up to 5 days a week. Anything is better than nothing but more is better, within reason. And as you get in the “exercise mindset” you will find creative ways to get more exercise. Park farther from the store and walk faster to get there. Take the steps instead of the elevator or escalator. Push the mower rather than ride. Pick up the laundry basket instead of kicking it through the house. You get the idea.