Managing Energy In The Workplace
by Nicola Carr
Managing energy is not just about food. It's about managing working conditions that affect how your body releases energy. This includes managing stress, oxygen levels, exercise levels and food breaks.
Work demands can zap energy very quickly so you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve to boost your energy supply to help you both physically and mentally.
The Brain Protein Continuum
The neurons in your brain are largely made of fat. The brain cells communicate with each other using neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are made up from amino acids; protein building blocks. Another important amino acid is tyrosine.
Eating protein increase levels of tyrosine in the brain, helping the brain generate nor-epinephrine and dopamine. These chemicals promote alertness. The absorption of protein is assisted by carbohydrates. So eating a balanced supply of carbs and protein throughout the day will keep that brain network humming and avoid that 3pm black hole.
Top 10 Work Day Energy Guidelines
1. Start the day well rested - Treat your bed as an important energy re-supply station and ensure you book in long enough for the process to be completed. That means 7 to 9 hours a night.
2. Try a workout first thing - even 20 minutes will boost your bodies oxygen supply and keep your head thinking straight longer during the day. It's often much harder to feel inspired at the end of the day. If morning isn't your thing - the evening can still work. Try tricking yourself. Change into workout gear as soon as you get home. Switch on the television or put on a DVD, and instead of heading for the couch, sit on a workout bike or yoga mat with some weights. A few seconds later the brain starts connecting the visual messages and before you know it an hour has gone by.
3. Keep the body supplied with fuel - Eat a small, healthy snack every few hour of lean protein and whole grain carbs. The carbs provide a rapid energy release, while the protein provides longer-lasting energy.
4. Keep the body well hydrated - air conditioning is extremely drying on your system.
5. Take an oxygen break - if you don't have time for a full lunch break, take at least a 10 minute walk around the block or anywhere where there is more oxygen than car fumes. I use walking catch-ups. If a staff member wants to chat about something briefly I get us both out for a walk.
6. Try boosting energy during the day - some deep breathing [preferably not whilst on the phone to the CEO]; taking the stairs instead of the elevator or just standing up doing some leg raises all help to move oxygen around the body and boost the cells energy producing processes. I keep a small hand weight on my desk and it's amazing what you can do during a phone call!
7. Keep good energy nutrition snacks at work - protein balls are my favourite. I make them on Sunday and they last the whole week in the refrigerator. [that is if I don't eat them all by Thursday]. I use them for my 3pm low zone snack and as a mental pick-me-up before entering a long meeting.
8. Reduce the alcohol during the week. - Even down to one glass a night - you will be amazed how much easier it is to get out of bed in the morning and you will be more likely to feel like doing that early morning workout. And your skin will look fantastic!
9. Go easy on the coffee - caffeine is not a good long term solution for energy throughout the day. It's addictive and better left to one cup first thing in the morning. You will sleep better also.
10. Reduce the size of your evening meal and avoid carbs after 6pm - you will find you will sleep better and that translates into more energy during the day.
And if you want to contribute to the worlds renewable energy supply - take a leaf from enterprising gym enthusiasts like Doug Woodwring who are harnessing energy created from everyday workouts and converting it into usable power.
About the Author
Nicola is a fitness and life advocate for antiaging-wellness.com and anti-tiredness.com. Learn how to avoid tiredness and maintain muscle mass using antiaging bodybuilding.