3 techniques to amplify your energy levels
[4 min read]
10 techniques discovered in 10 months that you can implement in 10 days
Magnify motivation, extract extra time, and amplify your energy
“… The world is a better place when people are free to perform without the weight of exhaustion …”
Dave Asprey, NYT Best Selling Author of The Bulletproof Diet
The tactics previously discussed in this launch series have effectively helped to increase my motivation and free time to allocate to fitness. However, tactics are only effective when paired with the raw energy to properly implement and sustain them.
Here are 3 ways I amplify my daily energy levels:
1) Low carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet
It’s a Friday afternoon of an intense week. You just sat through an office meeting and ate 2-3 slices of free office pizza. 2pm is around the corner. How do you feel?
It’d be naptime for me.
This type of energy dip is the result of carbohydrate intake causing blood sugar fluctuation – satiation while eating (glucose spike feeds the brain) and exhaustion an hour later (insulin release causes blood glucose to dip = a brain deprived of fuel).
For consistent energy, we want our bodies to learn to burn fat.
Avoiding excess intake of foods with high glycemic load (approximates the effect of consuming 1g of glucose^) like grains, starches, and sugars, will help avoid an energy spike and dip. A lunch that’s chocked full of vegetables, healthy fats, and some protein can minimizes blood sugar fluctuation, enhancing energy and fat burning. Saving carb consumption for post-workout (when glucose is shuttled to muscles) or late dinners (when there’s usually less of a need for cognitive dexterity) can facilitate consistently higher levels of daytime energy.
Take this nutritional advice with a grain of salt (also, make sure you intake enough electrolytes like salt), since optimal diets differ by genetics and environmental factors. This low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet seems to works well for me and many others I know that have experimented with it. It may not work for everyone. But if you want to give it a try, here are two exemplary days of meals and timing:
For weight maintenance / muscle gain:
- 6:00 am Pre-workout: Fatty coffee (see #2 below)
- 9:00 am Breakfast: Blended Brunch (see #3 in this post)
- 12:00 pm Lunch: Half pound grass-fed burger, avocado, balsamic sautéed asparagus, onion, & mushrooms
- 1:30 pm Afternoon boost: Coffee or tea
- 3:30 pm Snack: handful of mixed nuts or hard boiled eggs with olive oil
- 7:00 pm Dinner: Large serving of baked salmon, garlic-roasted Brussel sprouts & butternut squash
- 10:00 pm Snack: Celery with nut butter or hummus
- 6:00 am Pre-workout: Black coffee
- 8:00 am Intra-workout: BCAA supplement
- 10:00 am Breakfast (optional): Fatty coffee (see #2 below)
- 12:00 pm Lunch: Large mixed greens salad with protein and olive oil & vinegar dressing
- 1:30 pm Afternoon boost: Coffee or tea
- 3:30 pm Snack: a few mixed nuts
- 7:00 pm Dinner: Large serving of zucchini noodle pesto pasta with chicken and portabellas; sautéed spinach with coconut oil, pancetta, and parmesan
These are examples of ideal, Sunday prepped meals. I will venture outside of personally prepped dinners for real life occasions like social events, consulting case team dinners, or sushi cravings, I will still try to remain diet-compliant (unless it’s a designated cheat day). Remember, we are trying to make this whole thing work with, not against real life.
If you are left with some concerns, such as:
But isn’t fat bad for you?
That’s a lot of coffee!
No food until lunch? I thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day!
Without getting into detail on this post, I believe fat is healthy (the right kind), coffee in moderation isn’t an issue (it could be beneficial), and time-restricted eating/intermittent fasting enables energy consistency and fat loss (and potentially other benefits). I’ll even add a 24 hour fast to the routine a couple times per month to really rev up the fat burners!
2) Natural liquid pick-me-ups
Fat = brain fuel
Inspired by yak butter tea consumed by Tibetan Sherpas, coffee combined with blended with butter and MCT oil has been popularized as Bulletproof Coffee. Other variations include the addition of ghee, coconut oil, coconut cream, and even bacon grease (haven’t tried it, certainly have considered it). So…why add butter to coffee?
The pure fat and coffee combo is supposed to fuel the brain and body with ketones, caffeine, and calories for hours of satiation, hunger suppression, and fat burning. Fat consumption can mimic a fasting state and facilitate fat burning (ketosis) while staving off hunger. That’s the draw. In my experience, it seems to do the trick.
Yerba Mate tea
3) Light & heat assisted wake-up
Makes waking up suck a lot less.
With a string of lights, a space heater, and a timer, I create an artificial sun in my bedroom!
Well not exactly, but setting the lights to turn on 30 minutes prior to wake-up and turning on the heater (if it’s cold) as soon as I wake nudges me out of deep sleep more comfortably than a 6am iPhone alarm in the dark.
Before incandescent lighting, the rays and heat of the sun acted as the natural human alarm clock, automatically setting our 24-hour circadian rhythms.
“… Is ‘the early bird gets the worm’ a standard axiom in avian academia? No – the early bird’s evolutionary niche decrees that it wake up bright and early in order to get food. It’s basic natural selection, and humans are the same way. We don’t decide to get up early. We get up early because of a complex pattern of environmental cues telling us to get up. Throughout our evolutionary development, handling business during the daytime was simply how we survived. We can’t escape nature …”
Mark Sisson, Entrepreneur & author of The Primal Blueprint
Even if you are not genetically predisposed to getting up early (here is some new research on the variability in human biological clocks), modification of environmental lighting can help you hack your biology and wake up earlier, more easily.
Light-alarm clocks exist (like this one) and smart bulbs that connect to phone apps are great options. I opt for an inexpensive digital indoor / outdoor light timer, some Christmas lights, and a space heater.
It’s a ‘non-traditional’ wake-up routine… but it effin’ works…
Have any hacks of your own? I’d love to hear – firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Matt Hersh
Corporate consultant, fitness coach, amateur chef, bloggerTopics: