There are two types of energy that are important to us when it comes to training – the energy our bodies need to consume for cellular activity, and the feeling of energy, the kind that helps boost mental alertness and focus. But regardless of whether it’s mental or physical energy, most of us feel like we could do with more. If you’re feeling physically exhausted, you’ll be tempted to give your workout a miss. On the flip side, if you’re experiencing a general lack of get up and go or you’re finding it hard to concentrate, that could be a sign that mentally, your energy levels are too low.

When you’re working out, the general consensus is to increase your protein and carb intake, but there’s a lot more to it than that. What you eat provides your body with the building blocks for metabolic processes and muscle building. Further down the line, these mechanisms will affect how well your body performs for strength, endurance and recovery, as well as brain function, mood, and mental capabilities. While these are all connected, they are affected in different ways.

Nutrition is the main area to focus on to increase your energy, but there are other things you can do as well like tweaking your workout plan to make it more enjoyable, staying hydrated, and creating a positive headspace.

 

Nutrition.

The physical energy your body creates is generated by the food you eat so you need to make sure you are feeding your body enough quality nutrients and not trying to compensate with stimulants. Likewise, even if you feel you are already getting all the nutrients you need from an adequate whole food diet, you may still want to boost how much energy you feel you have. Adding stimulants is one way to do this.

If you have recently lowered your caloric intake or started a new training routine to reach a specific goal, it might be making you tired, and leaving you feeling like you need an extra boost.

No matter what your goal is, there are ways to maintain your energy while you work towards it:

 

Weight loss.

Most people know that protein helps build and repair muscle, but it also helps boost your metabolism and reduce hunger pains. Protein slows the release of carbohydrates to the blood stream, which prevents sudden blood sugar spikes that may encourage fat storage and a dip in your energy levels. When choosing your carbohydrates, look for low GI, slow release carbs that help you feel fuller, for longer.

Horleys Slim Shake, Sculpt, and Elite Ripped are all great options for boosting your protein intake without compromising your weight loss goal. Slim Shake can be used as a breakfast on the go or a quick and easy daytime snack. It is a complete source of micronutrients and includes green tea extract for additional fat loss support. Sculpt on the other hand, is a high protein snack option to help manage your appetite with green tea extract, L-carnitine to support fat metabolism and energy production, and garcinia, which helps block the conversion of carbohydrates into fat. Ripped is a high protein, fat-burning formula with added caffeine, L-carnitine, hydroxycitric acid and chromium to boost your metabolism and energy levels.

You can also stack your protein powder with additional supplements such as Acetyl L-Carnitine, which also has the advantage of boosting your fat burning potential too.  Acetyl L-Carnitine is a natural fat mobiliser helping fat to be burnt as fuel.  In addition, it can boost your metabolism and enhance cognitive performance.  It’s a great choice if you are looking for a non-stimulant option to enhance energy production.

Click through to read more if your goal is weight loss. 

 

Muscle mass or weight gain.

If your goal is to gain weight or muscle mass and you’re struggling with energy, focus on your nutrition. Ensure you are consuming enough good quality protein, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids. You might like to add a high quality protein powder like Horleys Elite ICE WPI, which is rapidly absorbed and is ideal after exercise to help repair and rebuild damaged muscle tissue, and assist with growth.

Elite Mass is a high calorie, mass gainer designed to increase your weight and replenish energy by providing a quality carbohydrate source that delivers the energy required to turn those proteins into muscle tissue. If you’re a slow gainer with a naturally low appetite, we recommend starting off with HUGE for accelerated weight gain, especially if your goal is to build muscle but you tend to use more energy than you consume.

Again, you can stack your protein powder with additional energy supplements such as a preworkout. Pre-workouts contain caffeine to supercharge your energy levels. Caffeine is well known for its ability to enhance mental focus, helping you to better prepare and push harder through your workouts. Replace Sports Drink on the other hand, provides carbohydrates, the type of energy your body uses as a fuel source. This is particularly important during training sessions of longer than 60 minutes when stored carbohydrate becomes depleted and must be replenished. 

Click through to read our more in depth articles on muscle mass gain and weight gain.

 

Mental focus and alertness.

When you’re training, you exert more energy not only physically, but also mentally. To stay on top of your game, try boosting the magnesium levels in your diet with whole grains, fish, and nuts.
 

Training and competition support.

To keep your energy levels up for performance, stay hydrated. Water is generally best but for longer training sessions try an electrolyte sports drink such as Replace.  Replace is fast acting liquid hydration for energy and endurance, for use during training sessions and events over 60 minutes.

If you feel that you might not be consuming enough nutrients for your body to turn into useable energy, increase your intake of quality protein and carbs. A protein blend like 100% Whey Plus is an easy option to use in conjunction with your whole food diet to add these additional nutrients.

 

Hydration.

Sometimes when you feel zapped of energy, you’re actually dehydrated.  Dehydration affects the transport of oxygen and other nutrients, which in turn may lower your energy levels. Water is best for keeping your hydration levels up but all liquid counts. Just be aware of what is in your fluid as it may come with extra energy and fat you don’t want or need. Keep an eye on your urine, it should be light yellow. If it turns dark, you need more fluids.

Click through for more on Hydration.

 

Recovery and Overtraining.

As you can see, there is plenty you can do to gain more energy. However sometimes, the most important thing isn’t about what more you can do – but actually about doing less. Overtraining can not only leave you feeling exhausted and depleted, but stops you performing at your best during your training sessions. Ultimately, it can prevent you making real progress against your goals – putting all that energy you’re expending to waste.

Your mind and body both need time to rest in order to function at their best. Among other benefits, enough good quality rest and sleep (at least 7 hours a night) is crucial to support cognitive performance, and to regulate your body’s hormones, which control repair and growth of muscle tissue and also regulate your feelings of hunger and fullness. So no matter your physical goal, whether it’s muscle gain, muscle or mental performance, or weight loss that you’re after, making time for rest is vital.

Large muscle groups can take 3-5 days to fully repair, so work each group no more than twice a week. Remember, even world-class marathoners and bodybuilders take rest days – usually incorporating some active recovery (like stretching, foam rolling and walking or yoga) to help them come back feeling even stronger after a break. 

 

Focus on the positives.

It’s easy to justify skipping a workout when you’re tired, so stay focused on your goals. Use your training time to clear your head and if there’s something in your programme you’re not enjoying, change it. The simplest way of mustering up energy is by staying motivated. For an instant hit, remind yourself why you are doing this. Sleep is another quick and easy solution for low energy levels. Aim for at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night and watch your energy levels soar.

 

All that said, a good workout could give you the boost you need, but if you’re lacking in energy on an ongoing basis, make sure you listen to your body. Rest when you need to, and if you’re already getting enough rest and taking care of your nutrition it could be a sign you need to consider other lifestyle factors, or even talk to a medical professional.

 

Points to remember.

We’ve touched on some ideas to help you boost your energy and fuel your body with the right nutrition, but the main thing is to get excited about your training. Do activities that you enjoy, eat enough carbs, protein and fat, and give yourself enough rest and recovery in between workouts, and you'll be sorted.

  • Align your nutritional needs with your goals
  • Try additional supplements or stimulants if necessary
  • Ensure you are taking in enough fluids
  • Aim for at least 7 hours sleep a night
  • Stay motivated and focused on your goals
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