Editor’s note: Who doesn’t want to live longer and get more done? But until someone invents the machine that creates time, we’ll have to make do with the what we’ve got. But do we? In this post, Natalie’s personal health coach, Karen Wojciechowski talks about how to boost your energy levels to live longer and get more done. Who knew that our body could help us create more time!
What is your most precious asset as an entrepreneur and a human being?
Yeah, you guessed right. It’s time.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, the same 7 days per week.
How many times do you catch yourself saying, “I don’t have enough time,” “I can’t fit that in,” or “there just aren’t enough hours in the day”?
Well, “not enough time” is just a result of poorly managed energy levels.
Some people achieve crazy amounts each day whereas others struggle even to find time to do the things they really want. The difference is in how they manage their energy.
It’s energy that allows you to focus, be productive and efficient with the time you have. Even though you can’t increase the time you have, you can increase your energy levels. Master your energy, and you will be able almost to create time to do whatever makes you happy!
So how do you increase your energy levels?
Well, I’m going to share my top 4 strategies, which I used personally in 2016 while running and growing my business while traveling through 11 countries. These strategies can be implemented anytime from anywhere to boost your energy levels, and literally, create time.
#1 Increase your awareness about your personal energy boosters
Strategy #1 is to figure out what makes you feel energized and what doesn’t.
Keeping a ‘food and mood’ or ‘food and energy’ journal for one week is the best way to figure out what makes you feel energized and what doesn’t. There are different templates and apps that you can use, or a simple notebook would do.
In this journal, write down everything you eat for all seven days of the week. Also include activities that might have affected your energy, such as exercise, yoga or meditation. Then write down how you feel. Rate your overall energy throughout the day, out of 10. At the end of each day, as you review what you ate and how you felt, see if you can find any correlation between your activities, food, energy levels, and mood. The information you learn about yourself in a week can sometimes transform your whole life.
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that participants who kept a food journal, with the goal of weight loss, lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. In another study published in 1995 in “Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery,” keeping a food diary for two weeks helped 75 percent of patients with chronic medical conditions identify problem foods.
So as you go through your week, start making a note of how you feel after meals and after activities like meetings, computer work, exercise and write it all down. You might be amazed at what is zapping your energy!
#2 Move your body to boost your energy levels
Contrary to what most people think, exercising leads to higher energy levels in your body. When you stop moving your body stops creating as much energy.
Seriously, a 7-minute workout can make you feel more energized than a cup of coffee!
There are even research studies to prove it!
A 2008 study by the University of Georgia, published in Psychological Bulletin, analyzed 70 studies on exercise and fatigue involving more than 6,800 people.
They found, in more than 90% of the studies, regular exercise played a significant role in increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue. In fact, the average effect was greater than the improvement from using stimulant medications, including ones used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
A Harvard University study suggested that walking briskly for just 75 minutes a week can add almost two years to your life while upping your steps to walk 2.5 hours a week can add more than seven years. Another study showed that 30 minutes of brisk walking over five days could help you sleep better, so you feel more alert and energetic throughout the day.
If you still feel hesitant about walking or working out, change the way you think about workouts and just get moving. Even a few minutes can be beneficial. Try some resistance exercises such as squats and pushups.
What if you don’t even have a few minutes to spare to exercise? Well, why not take it down to 1 minute?
That’s right. Schedule a one-minute workout.
The trick is that you are going to schedule a one-minute workout every hour of your workday. Set a timer to go off every hour and just do 60 seconds of exercise such as squats, wall press-ups, squats. If you want to step it up a notch, do some burpees. It will seriously be your most energetic day yet!
By moving more, you will be able to boost your energy levels and start having awesomely successful days.
#3 Drink water to recharge your energy levels
Dehydration can make you feel tired & hungry, which leads to lower energy levels. So it’s important that you drink enough water every day to keep your energy levels up.
You want to be drinking at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 100 pounds, you want to be drinking 50 ounces of water (which is around 7-8 glasses). This is just the minimum amount of water you should be drinking. You should pay attention to your body about how much water it needs and drink more, especially if you are in hot climates.
Super simple, but just drinking water can make a MASSIVE difference and elevate your energy levels.
Once you start drinking more water, also take note of how much coffee you are drinking. Although coffee can boost your energy levels in the short term, the up and downs of coffee and sugar can take a toll on your energy levels. Yes, I know this is not a popular tip, but I challenge you to cut out coffee just for one week and see how you feel. You might just be surprised!
And if you can’t do without your cup of coffee, here are some coffee replacements that will boost your energy levels without the inevitable crash:
- Green smoothie
- Herbal tea
- Matcha green tea
- Hot water with lemon
- Coconut water
- Turmeric tea
- Homemade hot choc
These drinks will help you stay hydrated, which will boost your energy levels but without the downside of the crash that follows a steady intake of coffee and sugar.
#4: Eat ‘Real Food’ to keep your body energized
Eat more ‘real food.’
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can replace what a high-quality diet does for you. And nothing can undo the damage that lousy eating does.
When it comes to food, nature gets it right. It is only human intervention that gets it wrong. So keep it simple. Choose whole, real food. Foods such as:
- Fresh vegetables
- Organic animal products such as meat and dairy
- Beans and lentils
- Whole grains (not the processed ones) like quinoa, brown rice, millet, amaranth, barley and oats
- Healthy fats & oils such as coconut oil & olive oil
When you eat whole, real foods, you supply your body with nutrients that are highly beneficial to your health. You eat in a nutrient-dense way, i.e., you make every mouthful count for your body and your wellbeing.
When you base your diet (way of eating) on whole, real foods, it’s not just about what you get; it’s also about what you miss out on — artificial food ingredients, artificial substances such as sweeteners, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. All of these do your body more harm than good.
Eating ‘real foods’ will help you not only boost your energy levels, but also avoid the harm you could be doing by eating unhealthy food. It’s a double whammy!
But I understand that it’s not easy to switch from eating cereals and burgers to eating broccoli and kale. That’s why I’m giving you a simple way of making the transition to eating whole, real foods.
Let’s say there are 35 eating occasions in a week: three main meals and two snacks, seven days a week. Some will eat more frequently, others less frequently. But let’s take 35 as the average.
Let’s say only 7, out of those 35 eating occasions, are based on whole, real foods. If you eat just one more real food meal or snack every week, within 2 months, you will be eating healthy 14 out of 35 times. You will have doubled the nutrients going in. You will also have halved the potentially problematic substances you were eating. How awesome is that!
Whole, real foods supply your body with the substances it needs to create energy inside you, without interference. So a great way to start is to add the equivalent of half a plate of vegetables to one of your meals every day. This could be a green smoothie for breakfast with a handful of spinach in it or some roasted veggies with your evening meal. Or the next time you go to a restaurant, choose a salad for lunch instead of a burger or pasta.
Adding in lots of energy boosting foods such as leafy greens and healthy fats will help you replace foods such as refined grains and sugar. If you are craving something sweet, try to use gentler sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or stevia. Or try adding some sweet vegetables to your diet, such as yams, carrots, and beets. Or just have a piece of fruit.
Eating healthy and getting more exercise will boost your energy levels as a human being, and help you get more done as an entrepreneur.
One recently published study found that “eating unhealthily is linked with a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise is linked with a 50% increased risk of low productivity.”
And a scholarly paper authored by at least one Harvard professor makes the startling claim that “a middle-aged person who gets the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise — defined as the level of brisk walking — can expect a 1-to-7 return: seven extra minutes of life gained for each minute spent exercising.”
Literally, creating time and helping you live longer!
So if you are an entrepreneur who’s struggling with too many to-dos and not enough time, you should join us (Natalie, Karen, and Sarah) for the free online workshop on the simple health habits that will boost your energy and make your business thrive. In this workshop, you’ll learn about superfoods (that will give you more energy than the energizer bunny), how to make stress work for you (not against you), and making healthy habits stick (which will help you be more productive). Check out the details of the online workshop at the link below.
About our Guest Contributor: Karen, the founder of RealEnergyFood.com, is an integrative nutrition health coach who is passionate about helping people boost energy levels & improve their health through finding the right foods that work for their unique body. With a Science degree from the University of Western Australia and certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Karen works with clients all over the world through one on one coaching and group programs. Karen’s mission is to help people get energized and achieve food freedom so they can concentrate on the important things in life. Find out more at RealEnergyFood.com.