Sometimes, you just need a little extra energy to make it through the day or to finish a long workout. Work, family, and other life responsibilities can run you down, and then there’s little energy left for the gym. But a few simple health hacks can turn things around.
Here are 13 quick tips to boost energy, fight fatigue, and give you more stamina in the gym. Try a few out to see how well they work for you.
1. Use peppermint essential oil
Peppermint essential oil is considered a natural stimulant. It has been said to fight fatigue, improve your mood, and increase energy levels throughout the day. “Inhaling the aroma of peppermint oil can help alleviate jet lag and boost your energy levels.” (Livestrong.com).
A few simple health hacks for using peppermint oil include adding a drop to seltzer water and sipping it or using it in body wash or soap to energize yourself in the morning. You can also diffuse it for aromatherapy purposes. In addition to increasing energy, peppermint is known for improving focus.
2. Stand up every hour
If you work at a desk for several hours a day, try standing up every hour on the hour to stretch your legs and improve your circulation. Poor circulation is a major contributor to lack of energy and stamina. You need good circulation in order to move oxygen throughout the blood to the cells.
Try this: Every hour, stand up for at least a minute. Raise your hands above your hand to get a full body stretch, and twist from side to side. Every couple of hours, go for a short walk.
Massage is another way to improve your circulation while simultaneously promoting healing and easing pain. Go for a massage regularly to improve your physical fitness and recover faster between workouts. CompleteBody Gym offers massage therapy on site at all three locations.
3. Visualize your workouts
Try this simple health hack for getting through your workouts easier and faster: visualize it. According to some experts – and scientific research – visualization techniques can improve workouts. You can use visualization to train your mind to get you through tough workouts when your body wants to quit. (Check out this visualization article on BreakingMuscle.com)
How does visualization work? It definitely takes practice, but here are a couple of tips from BodyBuilding.com: “Visualize how you move from one piece of equipment to another with determination, and the attitude in which you attack it. Try to feel your muscles contracting, and the satisfaction and confidence you feel when you see your muscles flex in the mirror.”
4. Try tart cherry juice
Tart cherries are known for reducing inflammation and easing pain – both of which can hinder your workout and make you tired. Inflammation and pain lead to fatigue, and you’ll be more likely to want to quit or slow down during your workouts. Tart cherries and their juices have properties that fight against inflammation, discomfort, and oxidation.
You can also drink tart cherry juice to improve lubrication in the joints, which will help you squat more easily or run for a longer period of time.
5. Cut back on refined sugar
Refined sugars, including white, brown, liquid cane sugar, and similar sweeteners, provide a shot of energy that ultimately comes crashing down later. Too much sugar can actually make you more tired, because the foods high in refined sugar lack the kind of calories that keep you going. Additionally, sugar feeds infections in the body, which keeps you sick longer than necessary and then your body uses up available energy by fighting illnesses.
So, if you’re feeling tired throughout the day, cut back on the amount of refined sugar you’re consuming. Try a sugar-free version of your favorite drink at Starbucks, or opt for fruit instead of a cookie.
If you find yourself craving sweets too often, get tested for nutritional deficiencies. Fatigue can be caused by lack of B vitamins or vitamins C or D, too.
6. Eat a snack
Even though there’s some debate about how often you should snack, we do know that snacking can give you an energy boost when you need one. You can and should have a snack when you need one, just be careful about what you eat. Turkey, whole grain breads, and cheeses provide calories and nutrients like protein to give you energy between meals. Eating the wrong foods as snacks can lead to more burnout or fatigue, so what you choose to eat matters.
Eat as many whole foods as you can throughout the day, especially if you do not have time to sit down for healthy meals. Get healthy foods into your body when you have the opportunity to do so, even if it means snacking more often than you’d like.
7. Stop staring at the screen.
The muscles behind your eyes are some of the strongest muscles in the body, and they work very hard to help you focus. Too much eye strain leads to fatigue and zaps energy. Research shows that taking a break from the screen every 20 minutes to stare at something at least 20 feet away relieves pressure on the eyes. You’ll feel less tired and more alert if you go easy on your eyes every now and then.
This is one of the lesser known health hacks for energy that has almost instant benefits. So every 20 minutes or so, take your gaze off the computer screen or TV monitor and focus both eyes on something far away. Once you’ve done that, you can also just close your eyes for a minute or two to relax them.
8. Swig some cold water every now and then.
Not many people achieve the “8 glasses of water a day” that health pros recommend. But if you’re dehydrated, you’re going to feel tired. So keep very cold water nearby and take a few swigs every hour. The coldness will keep you alert and the water will keep you hydrated.
9. Ditch the TV and do something productive.
You might think you’re doing yourself a favor by taking a break to veg out in front of the TV. But the opposite is true. If you want more energy, take a quick walk around the block instead of watching a 30 minute sitcom.
10. Break up with fast food.
You’ve heard this before, but no list of health hacks can exist without this one. Heavily salted food that’s high in simple carbs is a recipe for a disaster. Eating this way will kill your chances at increasing energy, stamina, and endurance.
Do your best to systematically replace fast food in your life with healthier choices. If you can’t completely cut out fast food, just switch one meal with a couple of protein packs that you can get at any grocery store for three bucks.
11. Enjoy solitude and silence.
Your brain is always on. When you eat or “relax” to the sounds of television or radio in the background, your brain is trying to do at least two different things at once. It’s tiring. Try everyday to have at least 30 minutes where you are alone with the sound of silence and nothing else.
12. Stay positive.
Complaining and feeling angry, worried, or disappointed can really suck your energy level away. Take some time to look at the bright side of things. How? Think about what could go right, not what could go wrong. If necessary, write it down and force yourself to spend just as much time focusing on the positive as you do the negative.
Just ten minutes of day of meditation can change your life for the better. Download a free meditation app such as Headspace or Calm, and use them to improve your ability to meditate and focus. Both are available for iPhone and Android. CompleteBody’s signature HIIT training class CBXT, incorporates guided relaxation / mini meditation at the end of the session. You can sign up for a complimentary trial and experience this truly unique class: www.cbxtworkout.com
These are simple, quick health hacks you can use to get a little more out of your day. Some of these will actually help you get a lot more out of your workouts, too. And, more energy often means less stress, and less chance of illness. You don’t have to overhaul your whole life in order to make improvements. Do one or two of these, see results, and then you’ll be more interested in doing the rest. All it takes is one small step to make a big change.
CompleteBody, with three locations in Manhattan, is a full service gym with an emphasis on the whole body. Get pumped and stay energized with our spa, juice bar, personal training, group fitness classes, massage therapy, and sunlit pool on a rooftop deck. Visit one of our three locations today.