RE: Mark Sisson's blog(fitness and nutrition)
If you love the energy boost that comes from exercising then you should really try a meat or dairy (or both) free diet for a bit. I've been a vegetarian for over a year now, and my energy levels have never been higher. Although, what's even more effective than going meat free is being dairy free. Dairy just clogs your brain and body up so badly you just don't realise it until a couple of weeks without it.
Although I'm someone who usually exercises 3-4 times a week and walks a lot, there are periods of time when I go weeks without any exercise apart from walking. Currently I've been traveling for about two weeks and I haven't exercised at all in exactly one month (since the Boston Marathon). Nevertheless, my overall energy levels and my ability to recover remains high as ever. I've gone to bed after 1 AM, been heavily drinking, and had less than 6 hours sleep the last 4 nights and yet I'm awake enough to walk entire cities both day and night, have 5 hour conversations, and crank out a lot of work too.
Here are some positives and negatives on energy levels, IMO.
-Healthy, whole foods. Brown grains over white, unrefined over refined, minimal sugar, green leafy veges etc.
- 6-8 hours sleep, changes depending on the individual
-20 minutes min. exercise with a medium sweat
-Meat free (benefits take about a month to really notice)
-Dairy free (benefits take 1-2 weeks to notice). Note: not Vegan. I still recommend eggs and honey.
-Moderate alcohol. 2-3 drinks per week. Sulfite free red wines, non-organic beers (hangover potential doubles with non-organic beers) and certain liqueurs are the best to capitalize on anti-oxidant benefits. Not best to drink around bed time because while it can help with getting to sleep, usually affects sleep quality through bad dreams, poor breathing, etc.
-Moderate water intake. The whole 2 gallons a day (or whatever it is) is complete bullshit IMO. Oh and 'if you're thirsty then you're already dehydrated'? Even more bullshit. You just need to make sure you're drinking enough that your skin (particularly your lips) isn't too dry, your body and head isn't aching, and you don't wake up feeling thirsty. Unless you're having a big night drinking, in which case definitely go crazy.
-Decaffeinated teas- particularly herbal and green teas. Lipton have this awesome 5 flavours pack of Green teas.
-Caffeine. Short-term, potentially helpful. Long-term, terrible. Devalues sleep, creates unstable energy levels, weakens immune system. Think of your energy levels as an inverted bell curve; you're shooting up one side but you've got to come all the way down on the other side. Usually to much lower than you were before the caffeine. Oh, and for those gym buffs who claim caffeine encourages muscle growth; well it also increases your level of Cortisol, the stress hormone, which in turn promotes fat synthesis.
-Large quantities of alcohol. More than a daily glass of wine and you're starting to really impact your liver, skin, heart, etc. Best to separate eating food from when you drink alcohol too, as when your body is processing alcohol it converts food to body fat more readily.
-Isolated dairy or soy. I've used supplements in the past, and probably will when I start my next work-out routine later this year. Nevertheless, overall I really don't believe they are healthy long-term. I think Whey is the absolute worst too. A lot of people complain about having dry, flaking skin when they use Whey, and I think the long-term effects are far worse. I can't deny its effectiveness in building muscle however. Oh, and I'm divided on tofu and other forms of soy. I certainly do believe that the concerns about raising estrogen levels are very legitimate, and I wouldn't touch GMO soy with a 10 foot pole. Organic soy is ok.
-Smoking. Where do I start?
-Illicit drugs. Let me preface this by saying that I have infrequently taken, and still occasionally take, all types of drugs, and that they have given me numerous positive experiences and insights that I most likely never would have had without them. On the other hand, the downsides of frequent usage are just too varied and complex to cover here, so I'll suffice with saying that apart from a proper addiction to anything really heavy (Coke, Meth, Heroin), being a stoner has to be the worst. Kills energy levels, does NOT promote clear thinking, no matter how enlightening you imagine your experiences to be, wastes major amounts of time, encourages unhealthy eating, increases your chances of developing depression and other mental illnesses, damages your organs, weakens your immune system, makes you really good at Mario Kart (um, that one might be a positive), lowers your testosterone levels, can help cause infertility, cancer and bad eyesight, kills brain cells, lowers general motivation, and helps fund both domestic gang crime and international terrorism. Cool?
One thing that I realised is really worth mentioning while writing the above is the value of your skin as a monitor of your health. Remember that your skin is actually your body's largest organ, and it makes sense that it tells you a whole lot about your current health. Dryness and cracked skin means dehydration (especially for coffee drinkers and alcoholics), oily skin usually means too much dairy, skin that takes a long time to heal often means a lack of veges and the vitamins they bring, bags under your eyes and crease lines means too little sleep (duh), and any of these can also just reflect a lack of food intake and poor sources of calories.
Final word on energy: just try taking out or putting in one of the above things to your routine for at least two weeks. I'll readily admit that not all of them work for everyone, but I guarantee that one of them will have a hugely significant effect on your energy levels.
(This post was last modified: 05-17-2011 08:42 AM by Eros.)