In my last article, I gave a few reasons why I no longer make metabolism the focus of my fitness or weight loss game plan. I don’t ever think about boosting it, growing it, crashing it or whatever. I really believe that metabolism is just one of those things that does not really deserve that much attention.
In contrast, I used to be obsessed about my metabolism and each day was filled with the fear that I might be screwing it up. Now I focus on something else. Something that’s so incredibly important that is holds the key to any level of success in everything from improving performance to weight loss. And yet it was hardly a nanosecond blip on my radar a few years ago.
That thing is my energy level. No matter what you want to do, you’re energy level is going to make or break your success far more than your metabolism. Here’s why:
Energy level is linked to both calorie intake and expenditure.
A high energy level is the world’s best appetite suppressant. At the same time, it feels like an invisible force urging you to get your body moving. If your energy level is low, all you want to do is sit around and eat a lot. So when your energy level is high, you naturally eat less and move more. When it’s low, you move less and eat more.
More energy means more motivation to exercise.
A lack of motivation for exercise is often paired with a low energy level. If you can maintain a high level of energy you’ll be chomping at the bit to hit the gym.
More energy fuels you to push yourself to new heights.
We don’t get in better shape because we work hard. We get in better shape because we push ourselves further than we have before. You can huff and puff all you like but without enough energy, your chances of pushing yourself to higher levels is slim at best. If you’re bouncing of the wall with electricity, you’ll find it hard to hold yourself back from progress.
Poor energy leads to poor attitude and outlook on life.
You can always spot someone with crappy energy levels because they look like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Their posture is bent over, their voice is low and slow and they just seem to suck the life out of the room. For them, the world is filled with problems and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
You can also spot someone with a high energy level from a mile away. Instead of repelling, they attract all of the good things life has to offer them. They are the folks who appear to be lucky because good things just keep falling into their lap. It’s not luck, it’s the high level of energy they bring to each day.
I could go on. There isn’t a single aspect of a healthy lifestyle that isn’t affected by your energy level. Now that we have looked at why your energy level is so important, here as some of the key factors that influence it.
It’s simply impossible to keep optimal diet and exercise habits if your sleep habits are garbage. Also keep in mind that you can’t optimize your energy level by trying to catch up on sleep during the weekend. Like eating right and exercising, good sleep habits need to be applied consistently to work.
Simple things like getting to bed early, reading before sleep (preferably not on a device that has a screen), keeping the room dark and keeping your bed clean and comfortable will go a long way.
Do your best to avoid any eating habits that can drain your energy level. This can include eating too much, eating too little, not getting enough natural foods or eating too much sugar. A proper diet should keep you humming right along all day rather than make you experience highs and lows in energy.
Stress in the right amounts can actually enhance your energy level. However, if there is too much, it can make you feel like a slug.
Keep in mind that all stress is accumulative. So the stress from your job, your friends and your workout all goes into the same container that can only hold so much. So kick it out wherever you can. Unplug the news, let crabby coworkers complain to someone else, and brush off the rush hour traffic.
Explore something fun or exciting every day.
We naturally have more energy when life is fun or has some sort of potential for advancement. The other side of the coin is when things are mundane and boring. Boring sucks. Routine, while predictable and safe, can be a massive drain on your energy level. Doing something different each day can go a long way. Introduce yourself to a new coworker, search for a new website on funny clowns, or see how many hot peppers you can put in the soup.
Minimize screen time.
Few things will suck your energy levels dry like staring at a screen. It can be as small as a smart phone or as big as a movie screen, but it’s all the same. You don’t have to eliminate screen viewing, just make sure that there is a pretty good reason to park yourself and stare for a while.
Move throughout the day.
Ever feel like your just bursting with energy after an eight-hour flight? Me neither. Our bodies function best when we spread our physical activity throughout the day. This is a far better strategy than sitting all day and then trying to make up for it all with a hard (and often draining) workout at the gym. By moving around a little bit each hour, you can keep your energy flowing and you’ll have more juice for that workout.
I know these methods are not rocket science, and that’s a good thing. If maintaining a high energy level was a complex and expensive task, we would be in a whole lot of trouble. Also keep in mind that your energy level is supposed to naturally rise and fall like ground swells out on the ocean. You can’t stay up and hyper all of the time (plus you would really get on everyone’s nerves). The key is to keep things as high as possible on average. If you can improve your average energy level, you’ll discover everything in both fitness and life will become a heck of a lot easier.