Managing energy is not just about food. It’s about managing working
conditions that affect how your body releases energy. This includes managing
stress, oxygen levels, exercise levels and food breaks. Work demands can zap
energy very quickly so you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve to boost
your energy supply to help you both physically and mentally.
The Brain Protein Continuum
The neurons in your brain are largely made of fat. The brain cells
communicate with each other using neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are made
up from amino acids; protein building blocks. Another important amino acid is
Eating protein increase levels of tyrosine in the brain, helping the brain
generate nor-epinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals promote alertness. The
absorption of protein is assisted by carbohydrates. So eating a balanced supply
of carbs and protein throughout the day will keep that brain network humming and
avoid that 3pm black hole.
Top 10 Work Day Energy Guidelines
- Start the day well rested – Treat your bed as an important
energy re-supply station and ensure you book in long enough for the process to
be completed. That means 7 to 9 hours a night.
- Try a workout first thing – even 20 minutes will boost your
bodies oxygen supply and keep your head thinking straight longer during the day.
It’s often much harder to feel inspired at the end of the day. If morning isn’t
your thing – the evening can still work. Try tricking yourself. Change into
workout gear as soon as you get home. Switch on the television or put on a DVD,
and instead of heading for the couch, sit on a workout bike or yoga mat with
some weights. A few seconds later the brain starts connecting the visual
messages and before you know it an hour has gone by.
- Keep the body supplied with fuel – Eat a small, healthy
snack every few hour of lean protein and whole grain carbs. The carbs provide a
rapid energy release, while the protein provides longer-lasting energy.
- Keep the body well hydrated – air conditioning is extremely
drying on your system, and that includes the brain.
- Take an oxygen break – if you don’t have time for a full
lunch break, take at least a 10 minute walk around the block or anywhere where
there is more oxygen than car fumes. I use walking catch-ups. If a staff member
wants to chat about something briefly I get us both out for a walk.
- Try boosting energy during the day – some deep breathing
[preferably not whilst on the phone to the CEO]; taking the stairs instead of
the elevator or just standing up doing some leg raises all help to move oxygen
around the body and boost the cells energy producing processes. I keep a small
hand weight on my desk and it’s amazing what you can do during a phone call!
- Keep good energy nutrition snacks at work – protein balls
are my favourite. I make them on Sunday and they last the whole week in the
refrigerator. [that is if I don’t eat them all by Thursday]. I use them for my
3pm low zone snack and as a mental pick-me-up before entering a long meeting.
- Reduce the alcohol during the week – try getting it down to
one glass a night – you will be amazed how much easier it is to get out of bed
in the morning and you will be more likely to feel like doing that early morning
workout. And your skin will look fantastic!
- Go easy on the coffee – caffeine is not a good long term
solution for energy throughout the day. It’s addictive and better left to one
cup first thing in the morning. You will sleep better also.
- Reduce the size of your evening meal and avoid carbs after
6pm – you will find you will sleep better and that translates into more
energy during the day.
And if you want to contribute to the worlds renewable energy supply – take a
leaf from enterprising gym enthusiasts like Doug Woodwring who are harnessing
energy created from everyday workouts and converting it into usable power.