HOW ARE YOU FOR ENERGY?
COLIN EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED WHEN HIS GET-UP-AND-GO GOT UP AND LEFT!
The buzzword in our house is definitely ENERGY! For years now the most popular questions in the morning are ‘How did you sleep?’ and “How are your energies?” Like many, energy has been one of my biggest struggles since 2013 and losing it came as a huge shock.
At my lowest in 2015 I struggled to get up the stairs! Those were tough days, but it was a complex set of unfortunate health circumstances which brought me to that point. Since then, I’ve turned my life inside out in order to get my energies back.
ENERGY IN – ENERGY OUT
The mental energy required in the build up and over a BTCC race weekend is huge, never mind the physical drain too. I love my job and want to deliver the maximum, so it’s key that I factor in energy to all my preparations and daily life. It’s one extra mountain I’ve had to climb every season, especially as a Dad, but looking back I’m so grateful for everything I’ve learned along the way.
Below I will try to highlight some things that have helped me over the years and areas you can think about too to find more energy for daily life.
I often say it would be great to just plug in somewhere and charge up like a phone but there is no shortcut to recovery. It has to come from rest and good quality sleep is a sure fire way to have more energy. Getting sufficient sleep is essential for me to operate at my best. I’m good with 7 hours, but it has to be 7 quality hours. I’ve taken to adding breathing exercises into my daily schedule and this user friendly way of meditation really does help too. Just taking the time to take some really deep breaths and hone in on specific thoughts can provide a boost of energy. Deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth will oxygenate your blood and provide an instant source of energy but you must build this into an already established foundation of good sleep and good bedtime habits.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
What you eat and drink has massive consequences on how you feel, it is your fuel, your major source of energy. I’ve spent a lot of time educating myself on nutrition to understand what my bodies’ energy needs are because with my IBS there are lots foods and ingredients I simply cannot eat. The volume of food I eat tends to surprise people, but when you look at the contents of my plate, it’s all healthy and colourful food. I like to eat simple food, start with raw ingredients and avoid red meat, processed foods, gluten and dairy. My dinner plate is full of nutrient rich foods that provide and promote plenty of energy. We laugh about the ‘five a day’ moto because for me it’s more like five per meal! I tend to buy organic fruit and veg and never skip meals. I try not to take anything with refined sugar in it, and my major source of carbohydrate is rice, sweet potato and of course vegetables. By cleaning up your diet with regular meals, and nutrient dense foods you won’t experience those peaks and troughs of energy levels throughout the day.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get all the required nutrients from your meals so in many cases it’s a good idea to supplement your diet. My family and I like to ensure we are doing everything we can to support our bodies so we turned to a range of supplements to help. B, C and D vitamins are all fantastic for energy. You can find this all in one multi vitamin but I like to take them separately in a higher dose. I use the Nordiq Nutrition range.
I take this Multi Vitamin every day – click to view
I use this B-Complex to help with energy release – click to view
It’s not rocket science – take a look at what you spend your energy on. If you find you have nothing left over for what’s important, you may need to budget your energy spend to suit your goals. Some days my energies are not great and I have to limit what I do on that day to align with my goals and priorities. If that means I have to sacrifice family or fun times to enable me to train and prepare for a race, then that’s what it is.
MY ENERGY HACKS
You know that rush you get on holidays when you dive into the sea and the cold sea water revives you? Well that is a super little hack you can do anytime, any day. I have a cold shower every day to bring me to life in the mornings and on race weekends use a bath filled from the tap to recharge between races.
I like to drink black coffee in the mornings, but after that it’s green tea to keep my mind sharp and focused especially over race weekends. You can also help yourself hack more energy by reducing stress. If that means getting better organised and planning more efficient schedules then jump right in on making small changes that improve your quality of life.
Not only does exercise increase your energy, reduce stress and make you feel better, it also improves your sleep quality. By building exercise into your day it can even help with weight loss which also has a positive effect on energy. I always feel so much better for doing some form of training or workout. Exercise releases feel-good brain chemicals that will definitely put a spring in your step!
YOUR GP OR LOCAL HEALTH SHOP
Occasionally if your energy is really low and nothing seems to help, it’s best to talk to someone who knows more than you. I needed thorough medical testing and help to regain my energy levels. The most important step in ensuring you have sufficient energy is staying healthy. That is the number one goal, so never ignore health issues and seek professional help if something is not quite right.
The third article in this health series will be brain function touching in on mental clarity and in some instances – brain fog.Back to news