Energy, the currency of our body. To move, to think, to do all the things necessary and desirable in life. In the coaching space I am asked by just about every client I’ve ever had, ‘how can I have more energy?”
If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
If you need copious amounts of coffee and stimulants to get through your day.
If you barely feel the double scoop of preworkout anymore.
If you have consistent brain fog and your short term memory is not what it used to be,
If you want to have more energy to play with your kids after work.
If you want to have the energy to burst through the door and sweep your lover off their feet with romantic and intimate gestures.
If you want the energy to start that side hustle and chase the life you’ve been dreaming of.
….Then this article is going to be for you.
Now for us to make a substantial and long (hopefully permanent) lasting dent in your energy stores and capacity. We need to hit this from 3 angles. The first step in any change, especially one that requires effort and sacrifice is knowing WHY you want to change. What is your purpose? There are plenty of people out there that physiologically have more than enough energy, but they have nowhere to direct it, so it becomes wasted. Their sleep isn’t terrible, they aren’t complete sloths when it comes to exercise and their nutrition isn’t THAT bad. They just don’t have a reason for doing anything that requires effort. So they do nothing and their body responds accordingly.
On the flip side I can bet you know or have heard of someone with shocking health, running on barely any sleep and whatever stimulants or NoDose like drugs they can get their hands on. BUT they have a crystal clear vision of what they are trying to accomplish and would rather die than not make it a reality. Both examples are the extremes but you get my gist, we need both physiological and mental components to harness our energy potential.
Next the maybe not so obvious approach to not just improving your energy but improving anything. In my opinion, it is to stop doing the things that are making you worse. You can have your purpose, spend your 8 hours in bed and all that but if you’re still smashing coffee up until you go to bed and running around like an anxious mess then your ROI is going to be minimal. The analogy I like to use is this. If you wanted to lose weight, the fastest way would NOT be to start running marathons every weekend and eat like a rabbit. If all you did was cut the alcohol, sweets and calorie dense take away food you would get infinitely better results. We all know you can’t outrun a bad diet ;) .
To make this as implementable as possible, in what makes the most logical sense (to me at least anyway). We’ll cover this as follows;
Part 1. Why do you want more energy? What will you do with it and how will you know you have it?
Part 2 . ENERGY KILLERS. Stop doing these things to have boundless energy.
Part 3. Do ALL of these things to have more energy than you’ll know what to do with.
Let’s start with HOW.
How will you know you have the energy you desire?
What will you be able to do that you maybe struggle to do or don’t do now?
After all, you can only manage what you measure.
Maybe it’s the energy to kick a footy or play with the kids on the weekend?
Or have the energy at the end of the day to still love and attend to your partner's intimate needs?
Maybe it’s the energy to make it to the gym?
Or just not spend the whole weekend in recovery mode because monday-friday drained you so much.
If you’re not sure of how you’ll know, try the reverse. How do you know you don’t have enough energy now? Then naturally, being able to do those things would mean you have more energy, right?
We want to be able to “measure” if what you’re changing is working. Unless you track your biomarkers or have metrics that can support you, using the above method is an easy task. Write this down in your notes somewhere you can reflect on in the future,
“I will have more energy when I can …”
“I currently don’t have enough energy to …”
Now put a date on it. This is the equivalent to your first progress pic.
On to the WHY.
“ He who has a WHY, can bear almost any HOW”
When we have a reason for wanting more energy, we shift from relying on motivation (which is just a word people use for “I’ll do it when I feel like it”) to discipline. Discipline is doing the things you said you would, said you want/need to, even when you don’t feel like doing it. Here’s an awesome frame from Chase Hughes.
Discipline is prioritizing your future self over the present self.
Which we can distill into a simple question when faced with a task we don’t feel like doing,
“What will future me thank me for?”
Then do that thing.
Your why can be as simple as wanting to do more in your day, or as big as wanting to change the world. Whatever it is, it needs to have the power to help you get through the harder times when you feel like stopping, or telling yourself “it’s not THAT bad”. Right before going back into old habits and staying the exact same.
Chances are once you know your purpose, or your WHY, changing your habits to have more energy will be the easy part. Then you won’t be operating from an (energy) deficiency anymore and it’ll be time to direct your resources to the bigger picture and do what you said you wanted the energy for in the first place.
These may be quite obvious to some of you and not so for others. The trap we can all so easily fall into when we lack energy or need an extra boost is reaching for more coffee, an energy drink/pill or any supplement loaded with stimulants. The problem with this is it’s only treating a symptom. A lack of energy is NOT your problem, a lack of energy is a symptom of a bigger problem, what I’ll refer to as the root cause.
This root cause for most people comes in the form of sub optimal sleep (quality or quantity), inadequate nutrition, poor stress management, poor lifestyle (sedentary, minimal sun exposure etc), maybe something even deeper like sub optimal hormonal levels (like low testosterone especially for the guys) or a combination. Keeping in mind we are all like a puzzle made of many pieces, poor sleep and high stress may start the lack of energy but lead to low/imbalanced hormones, deepening the root cause of the issue.
Things that kill your energy;
When you DO
Eat too much sugar,
Rely on caffeine or stimulants to get you through the day,
Spend too much time on social media
Chase cheap dopamine (porn, sugar, social media, drugs, alcohol)
Frequently drink alcohol
Have too much body fat
When you DON’T
Get enough quality sleep,
Get enough sun exposure,
Eat a nutrient dense diet,
Move enough (steps)
Manage your stress
Drink enough water
Have a purpose
Now you’re probably thinking “mate that's A LOT! Plus it takes all the fun out of life”.
I’m not trying to ruin your life and take every ounce of happiness from you. My intention is to elude you to the potential sources that are zapping your energy vs the ones that will give you energy. What you do with that information, if and to what extent you act on is entirely up to you. Knowing this information, having a lack of energy is no longer a case of “I don’t know why”, rather “I know why but I’m not willing to do anything about it”.
Now I have specifically left this for last BECAUSE this is where most people start and it is a futile effort. Understanding why you want more energy and what you will do with it AND having stopped doing the things that are draining your energy. You’ll now get a real supercharge out of utilizing these tools instead of just bringing you back to a temporary base line.
I know you’re probably DYING for the best supplements for your energy, but as with any supplement they are the 10% on top of everything else. That’s why I’m going to start with activities/lifestyle factors, THEN conclude with supplements.
Activities/Habits for more Energy
Optimal Sleep quality
Meal timing (fats and protein in the AM, save carbs for the night)
Nutrient Dense Diet (good quality foods, beef liver, less processed foods)
Exercise (steps as a minimum but high intensity 3x+ per week)
Hydration! (50-70 ml water per kg of body weight)
Activities that you love AND that love you back **
Pine Pollen Extract
Coffee (surprisingly I’m not against coffee, just mindful of the timing - 90 minutes after waking and 10 hrs before bed)
** I stole this from a smart man I heard speak, he asked everyone about their goals and then proceeded with “who wants to live a life they love?”. As you can imagine just about everyone raised their hand. “That’s a horrible approach, imagine telling a meth addict to live the life they love.. Not everything that we love or at least enjoy, loves us back” he said. “Instead, focus on a life that loves you back”, a life that continues to reward you and help you grow into bigger and better things. Things that you are passionate about, like a sport or exercise, or hobby or relationships. Things that are bi-directional, we put something in, and we get something out that helps us, not hinders us.
Ultimately if you’re still doing, and not doing, all these things and you STILL don’t feel like you have the energy or capacity you should. It might be worth a trip to the doctor or getting a blood test to determine if there is something deeper affecting your state. I highly recommend people get a blood test at LEAST once a year to monitor your health. The reference ranges are only guides, if you monitor yours over a long period of time it is much easier to spot trends and do something early before it becomes a much more radical and intense approach to change course. (*DISCLAIMER* I am not a doctor or medically trained professional so do what’s best for you and consult your health care professional before making any changes to your life style)
That’s it, energy is something we are all born to have, it’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. If you don’t have enough energy you’re operating from a deficiency, often from one of the above reasons, it’s within your power to do something about it. You don’t have to put up with it just because “oh well, that’s just the way I am”, F#*K that!
Use your new found energy to go and dominate the day.
I heavily believe if we all operate at our truest potential, we and the world will be a much better place.,
- If there’s anything from this article you’d like me to expand on please send me an email and we can discuss and elaborate on it and I might even write the next blog about it.