Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1, NIV).
Ready, Set, GO Ye Therefore!
You are called to run a race. Not an easy race. No, this is a purpose-driven, God-ordained endurance race. It requires stamina, energy, and vitality. The way you nourish and care for your body determines how well you can run and how long you will last. When your physical body is not well fueled, it makes you vulnerable.
More than ever, we are reaching for our favorite mojo or energy drinks to give us an energy “boost” during the day. Whether first thing in the morning, mid-afternoon, or while burning the midnight oil finishing projects from the day, people are grabbing for quick fix energy sources, hoping to achieve alertness, mental clarity and the motivation to move forward.
While a solid night of rest is necessary and shouldn’t be neglected, there are many solutions to boosting energy during the day that don’t require a trip to the local coffee shop drive-thru.
If you want to wake up, show up, and be ready to tackle what God has put in front of you, these strategies will jumpstart and sustain your energy all day long.
Drink An Extra Glass of Water or 2
Water has dozens of beneficial effects on the body. You just can’t go wrong! Interestingly, even mild dehydration has been shown to affect mood, coordination, and mental clarity. Staying energized during the day means staying mentally alert and focused. Water is your simple, accessible solution to keep your energy flowing all day long.
Begin your day by waking up and drinking 16 ounces first thing, before anything else. Don’t forget to take your water bottle with you everywhere and keep refilling throughout the day. If drinking water is a struggle, play a game with yourself by setting some small goals to hit as the day progresses. Apps on your phone can chime and remind you to take a sip or 2 throughout the day, too. But there are many more strategies to help you out so find one that works for you.
Go take a sip and get refreshed!
Begin Your Day With Breakfast
Food is energy. If you want more energy, you have to eat. It’s why college students eat into the wee hours of the morning while cramming for exams. You have to eat for an energy boost. Your body metabolizes the food into a usable source of energy. If you want to hit the ground running, grab a healthy breakfast before you get going. Just like lunch and dinner, breakfast should include a healthy source of fiber, protein, and fat.
Carbohydrates containing fiber like whole grains, beans, veggies, and fruit slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream, giving you a steady flow of energy for hours.
Breakfast is probably one of the least planned meals each day, but it need not be complicated or time-consuming.
Quick Breakfast Ideas
- 1 small banana with 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter – 2 real food ingredients that are the perfect match of sweet and salty.
- Overnight Oats – toss together the night before for a no-prep breakfast that is ready to go.
- Egg Muffins – packed with protein and veggies, these are as satisfying as they are tasty! Make a large batch on the weekend and rewarm in the microwave on busy mornings.
- Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats – An easy breakfast full of fiber that cooks while you are sleeping. It’s ready for fun toppings come dawn!
Include Protein and/or Healthy Fat at Every Meal & Snack
Protein and fat take longer for digestion and therefore slow the release of sugar into your body. When carbohydrate foods are eaten solely or as the primary component of the meal, they raise blood glucose quicker. While this burst of energy may seem nice at first, it gives you a false sense of energy because it is quickly followed by an energy crash.
Carbohydrates like fruit, whole grains, and beans are smart choices, but you will have energy for longer when you pair them with quality protein or healthy fat. By doing this, it slows the release of glucose into your bloodstream so that you avoid the sugar spikes and lows.
Learn more about healthy snacking here and grab the free printable with more than a dozen quick and healthy snack ideas. But these packaged snacks are also options when you are in a pinch. My motto is to “never leave the house without one!”
Avoid Highly Refined Carbohydrate and Sugar
Treats are fun and pleasurable! But sugar and refined carbohydrates will deceive you every single time. Just when you think your energy is revving high, it will crash and burn. Every time.
If energy is what we are after, sugar will take us down the wrong path. Don’t fall for this faux source of energy- it’s deceptive!
While sodas and sweetened beverages continue to be the primary source of added sugar in the American diet, it is hidden in lots of foods, even foods that sound healthy. Enjoy a treat when you choose, but don’t be misled that sugar will energize you… unless you decide to consume it all day long.
Eat a Balanced Meal or Snack Every 3-5 hours
A healthy, balanced meal provides sustained energy for about 3-5 hours, depending on the size and composition of the meal. “Hangry” happens when our bodies are crying out for nourishment because we have stretched them too far. Proper fueling needs to happen regularly, on weekdays and weekends, if you want to feel and enjoy sustained energy.
Meal skippers get excited – more energy could be waiting for you! If you struggle with eating regularly, due to forgetfulness or busy schedules, you can remedy this by setting an alarm and packing your bag with a healthy snack. Don’t get stuck without one!
So, what’s the play call?
Your wonderfully made body is what allows you to pursue all the fun, life-giving adventures packed into your calling. When our physical bodies are not well-nourished and energized, we are vulnerable.
Lethargy, irritability, and fatigue influence our ability to serve others well. If you are searching for more energy and vitality to live your days well, it’s time to check your nutrition plan and make sure it is working for you.
When you fuel up properly, you can show up exceptionally.
Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Know Your Limit of Added Sugars. Page last updated September 9, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/know-your-limit-for-added-sugars.html