We are frequently asked by people to help them solve their ongoing energy and productivity issues. One of the most common aspects these people share is that they seem to think supplements are the answer to everything -- as if taking a certain supplement will magically fill the void they have.
“I’m always tired. What should I take to increase energy?”
“What can I take to strengthen my immune system?”
“I’m having trouble concentrating on my work. What should I take to increase my focus?”
“What’s the best supplement for brain to improve overall brain function and memory?”
“My joints hurt. Do you have any supplements for joints that will help?”
Supplements can certainly be beneficial, but can they solely help you achieve better results in any of these areas? Of course! The key word here is “help”. Supplementation is an essential part of filling in certain nutritional gaps, but that’s about it.
What Actions Can I take To Help?
Nutrition always plays a huge role in energy, focus, and overall well-being. What you put in your body is arguably as important, if not more important than exercise, but we’ve already covered that in a previous post -- so let’s assume for a second that you already have your diet all straightened out and good to go. Exercise is the focus here.
Exercise serves as the man solution to a number of health issues, both minor and more serious. Unfortunately, even if you are working out, there’s a big chance you are doing it wrong.
When executed correctly, a well-rounded exercise routine should address and facilitate your three main energy systems.
- The Creatine Phosphate System (Quick, high intensity bursts of energy such as sprints, power-lifts, ect.)
- The Glycolytic System (Resistance training)
- The Aerobic System (Low intensity, sustained exercise such as jogging, biking, stretching, yoga, ect)
The Aerobic System is easily the most important out of the three, and serves as the foundation for your overall fitness and level of performance with any and all physical activity. Studies suggest that the best way to elevate mood and increase energy is to focus 80% of your workout efforts on the Aerobic System while delegating the other 20% to weight training and other similar workouts.
Ever wonder why your friends that are obsessed with running are always so annoyingly happy, focused, and productive? Now you know. In fact, a 2006 study published in the Psychological Bulletin found working out to be more effective than prescription stimulant drugs for conditions including as ADHD and narcolepsy. That’s a pretty significant conclusion.
More specifically; building a bigger aerobic engine has been found to:
- Improve neural function & lifespan
- Improve blood flow and oxidation brain
- Improve neuroendocrine response to stress
- Reduce neural inflammation
What does that mean for your cognitive ability? Quite a bit, actually.
As a result of improved aerobic health, you can expect the following:
- Improved memory
- Increased multi-tasking ability
- Improved attention to detail
- Improved planning and organizational ability
- Heightened mood & awareness
- Increased ability to fight stress
As mentioned earlier, exercise really is the answer to most of your problems, so if you’re holding out, know that you are missing out on a better life. Seriously.
What should you take away from this:
- Try to work out for at least 30 minutes per day, 3 days a week. Preferably 5-7 days a week.
- Focus 80% of your exercise efforts on sustained, low intensity workouts and flexibility training such as running, biking, stretching, and yoga, while devoting the other 20% to more intense workouts, such as weight training.
- Make an effort to be standing and/or moving as much as possible. Do you spend most of your time sitting at a desk? Consider using a standing desk. Take walks on your breaks. Whatever it takes to elevate your heart rate throughout the day.
You’ll not only become more physically fit, your energy level will slowly raise in a natural way -- and you won’t have to rely on downing 10 cups of coffee every day.