1/25/10

Day #17: Boosting your energy


We all have highs and lows during our day. Some people experience the afternoon crash worse than others but for the most part, there is nothing exciting about working on the computer for 8-12 hours a day, sitting on conference calls or in meetings for 4 consecutive hours or being a mommy/daddy 24/7. Put exercise/training in your routine and it would almost be abnormal to not crave/need a nap by 3pm.

I'm sure you are well aware of all of the "natural" energy drinks out there.

Red bull and 5-hour energy probably come to mind due to excellent marketing strategies and due to their availability to the consumer.
I did a little googling and came across this product


Quick Energy Power Shot™, one of the world's strongest 4 oz. energy drink, delivers twice the rush of a regular energy drink.* Quick Energy Power Shot™ provides long-lasting energy, stamina and mental awareness with NO CRASH! One bottle gets you running on all cylinders!!! Quick Energy Power Shot™ has no sugar, no calories, is great tasting and loaded with vitamins, amino acids, nitric oxide (NO2) enhancers, plus a special vitality/performance ingredient called Horny Goat Weed. Quick Energy Power Shot™ goes where you go! Our little 4 oz. bottle can be carried anywhere. Drink half the bottle or less, screw the cap back on and save the rest for later. With Quick Energy Power Shot™, your body is ready for action!
Quick Energy Power Shot™ Contains:

* Vitamins
* Amino Acids
* Nitric Oxide (NO2) Enhancers
* Horny Goat Weed
* No Sugar
* No Carb
* Great Tasting Fruit Punch Flavor

Like the majority of sports nutrition, health and fitness products on the market, the fine-print reads: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

I took the liberty to bold the key words in the description in an effort to key in those special words that seem to grab the consumer.
While it is true that you can get energy from no calories or sugar (or carbs) in this 4 ounce drink, you are loaded with 2,205 mg of a proprietary quick energy blend of:
Nitroud malate (A-AKG), Taurine, USP Glycceine, Tyrosine, Glucuronolatone, DL-Phenylalanine, L-Theanine, Horny Goat Weed Extract.
You also receive 1000% of vitamin B12, 200% of Vitamin B6 and 100% of Pantothenic Acid.
It is very important to recognize that no person needs more than 100% of anything. Would you ever fill up your gas tank more than 100% full?
Many products will list "proprietary blend" on supplement facts for two reasons:
1) To hide the exact amounts of ingredients to mislead consumers
2) To hide information from other companies in an effort to prevent copying of ingredients and quantities.

As a consumer, you see a list of amino acids, nitric oxide (vasodilator) and horny goat weed extract. Too bad the product doesn't tell you that horny goat weed extract is similar to it's name. Several studies (predominantly animal studies) have shown that this extra increases nitric oxide levels, similar to Viagra, inhibiting PDE-5 enzyme and relaxes smooth muscles to increase blood flow to the penis or clitoris. I guess you should think twice about taking this product as a way to give you energy before you give a presentation to your company.

All kidding aside, energy drinks, especially in excess, are not worth the money. Even if they are sugar or calorie-free, they are likely not free of ingredients that produce a sudden surge of energy. While there is nothing wrong with a caffeinated cup of coffee or amino acids for endurance exercise, there can be serious side effects when stimulating ingredients in an energy drink combine with medications or alcohol. So, while you may feel that jolt or boost when you drink them, there are many healthy alternatives to this potentially addicting habit. Most of all, like any product that contains active ingredients to increase energy-reactions in the body has the potential to have side effects. Especially if you don't know how much of ingredient you are consuming in the proprietary blend.

How can you boost energy in a natural or more nutritious way?
1) Take a 10 min walk a few times during your day (inside or outside)
2) Get sunlight (vitamin D) for 10-20 min/day
3) Go to bed around the same time every night
4) Take a power nap after hard training (or just rest your eyes and legs)
5) Eat a complex carb, healthy fat and lean/low fat protein breakfast
6) Prioritize pre and post training snacks, specifically protein and healthy high-GI carbs post workout
7) Consume 3 balanced and portioned controlled meals and 3-5 carb+protein snacks on a daily basis
8) Eat at similar times during the day
9) Avoid simple sugars during the day (best to consume after 90+ min training w/ your recovery protein drink)
10) Consume protein w/ carbs and limit processed foods
11) Eat plenty of fruits and veggies
12) Avoid eating within 1 hour before you lay down for bed
13) Reduce stress through positive thinking
14) Drink more water (avoid alcohol or limit to 1-2 times per week or 3-4 ounces wine/night)
15) Consume at least 25g fiber a day
16) Start your day with coffee or tea (avoid the sugary, creamy and fattening drinks)
17) Eat an ounce of dark chocolate once a day
18) Exercise regularly (at least an hour a day-total)
19) Take mental breaks during the day
20) Surround yourself with people who give you energy and not take away your energy


Do you have other suggestions for healthy and natural ways of boosting energy?