I’ve worked with thousands of clients over the years. What most of these people have in common is one thing : they all want to improve their energy. People want more energy. Simply said, energy is produced at the cellular level, and multiple external components will impact your body’s ability to effectively produce it. One angle to optimize energy levels is to look at what are your potential energy drainers and develop strategies to avoid them. At Axellite Whole Health, we organize energy management into 4 dimensions: the physical, emotional, mental and alignment to purpose. This article will layout 8 factors that contribute to draining energy from both physical and emotional standpoints
The energy drainers:
1- Unstable blood sugar levels
What you eat and when you eat, absolutely influences energy levels. For example, consuming too many carbohydrates throughout the day will produce short-term energy and generates the spikes and drops of energy often associated with mid to late afternoon energy crashes. Those blood-sugar level crashes tricks your body into believing that it needs more food, which leads to the consumption of more carbohydrates as a means of a “pick-me-up” (often in the form of energy drink, muffin, granola bar, candy bar etc). In order to keep energy levels consistent throughout the day, the goal is to keep blood sugar levels stable at every meal. This is achieved by having the right combination of protein (ie. lean organic meats, eggs etc), carbohydrates (ie. organic green, red, yellow, purple vegetables) and good fats (ie. olive oil, coconut oil, avocados) at every meal.. Reducing simple sugars, complex carbohydrates and any form of sweets is essential for long lasting energy production. To help give you a gauge, according to the W.H.O (World Health Organization) it is recommended that adults consume less than 25g of added sugar per day, 50g total sugar consumption per day.
2- Bad hydration
Not drinking enough water can cause dehydration, thus impairs the energy production mechanism and as a result generates a range of symptoms such as headaches, muscle cramps, bad digestion, bad breath, hormonal imbalance and chronic pain. Recommended daily water intake is 1,5L/day for women and 2L/day for men, consistently.
3- Shallow breathing
My observation has been that about 95% of the people that I’ve coached over the years are shallow breathers. What does that mean? They inhale and exhale in short breaths through the ribcage and are not fully breathing by the belly. The origination of shallow breathing is created by sustained periods of stress, which for most people has transformed the natural way humans are meant to breathe (through the belly), into their habitual way of breathing. . Breathing by the rib cage not only creates tension in the intercostals, neck, trapezius and cranial muscles but also reduces the amount of oxygen inhaled. Oxygenation is essential for the production of high energy levels. To increase oxygenation, decrease muscle tensions and reduce overall stress, I recommend that my clients retrain their breathing and redevelop the ability to breathe through their belly. One exercise I advise (also called cardiac coherence) is to pay attention to their breathing by inhaling in 5 seconds and exhaling in 5 seconds. This helps retrain the body and if practiced consistently, they will resume breathing through the belly unconsciously and automatically. Try our deep breathing video by clicking on this link https://www.axellite.com/cardiac-coherence-axellite-whole-health/
4- Insufficient sleep or bad sleep quality
Many people have the belief that they can be fully functional and effective on less than 6 hours of sleep. In very rare occurrences, that may be true, but for most people, that is physically false. They “think” they are fully recovered and regenerated with little sleep, but if we were to measure their cortisol and adrenaline levels, we would see that they are being driven by these stress hormones, giving them the impression they are “full of energy” and don’t need more sleep. Recovery is essential to energy management. Just like a high level athlete cannot have sustained high performance if they don’t commit to their recovery regimen, the same holds true for non-athlete population. Sleeping less than 7 hours and/or waking up during the night will influence energy levels, mood and cognitive function. Not sleeping well enough will take its toll on your body and general metabolism. This is often the cause of chronic fatigue. Some example recommendations included in a good sleep hygiene plan are: unplugging all electronic devices in the bedroom, shut the network off your cell phone, do not eat right before going to bed (especially sugar and high fat foods), pull away from your work and computer/smart phone at least 1 hour before bedtime etc
5- Lack of exercise
Physical activity is crucial to improving energy levels. Moving and strengthening your body improves blood flow, transport of oxygen, nutrients and antioxidants, improves blood sugar metabolism, reduces stress level and improves cognitive functions. I regularly see that people hold the belief that they need to train 6 hours a week to experience those benefit. Two to three hours of interval training provides a strong ROI (return on investment) when it comes to exercising. The proper combination of high intensity intervals of cardiovascular and weight training will help achieve optimal results.
We are exposed to toxicity on a daily basis; when we talk about toxicity, most people think of air pollution, which is only one factor. What is also considered toxicity are the chemical products we put on our body (chemicals in shampoos, soaps, makeup, body creams and lotions, hair products etc), the chemicals we consume (GMOS (genetically modified organisms), preservatives in processed foods, pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones found in meats, fluoride and chlorine found in tap water etc), household products (detergent, cleaning products, etc), radio magnetic frequencies (cell phone, wifi, cellular towers, electronic devices), heavy metal exposure (mercury and other products found in vaccines, dental procedures etc). The list might seem exhaustive, but the reality is that this we are over exposed to toxicity, at a rate our bodily function isn’t equipped for. The body has its own detoxification mechanism which includes the liver, kidneys and intestine, but because of over exposure, many of these toxins don’t process through the detoxification channels of your body and accumulate in your fatty tissues. In short, exposure to toxins interferes with energy production and deregulates your hormonal system (which can causes a cascade of other problems including cancers and other degenerative diseases). Awareness is key. In my practice, I use symptomatic questionnaires to monitor the relevance of doing metabolic detoxifications. For more in depth analysis, we collaborate with specialists to get specific blood, stool, hair analysis to identify the different levels of toxins present in the body.
7- Food intolerances
If you are eating foods that you intolerant to, your energy levels will drop because your body is unable to digest and metabolise that item properly, it becomes an aggressor to your body and starts off an inflammatory cascade that supresses the immune function. The most common examples of food intolerances include: gluten, wheat, soy, corn and dairy products (cow). Symptoms include digestive issues such as: bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux and stomach pain. It can also create headaches, it contributes to seasonal allergies and respiratory issues, increased frequency influenza or colds, muscle and joints pains etc. In the majority highly stressed client that I coach, I identify food intolerance as a key root cause to energy being drained.
8- Alcohol consumption
Alcohol is a toxin for the body and when consumed in large amounts, it can be detrimental for your metabolism. This said, some types of drinks are “better” choices, such as red wines like Merlot and Pinot Noir because they obtain antioxidant properties. As mentioned in the first point, the objective is to manage blood sugar levels, therefore in selecting alcoholic beverages, its best to choose the ones with lower sugar contents. For example, beers and hard liquors contain higher sugar levels than a glass of white wine would. The key to take home is moderation. Too much alcohol will overload your liver and impair it from doing its detoxification and digestive work. If alcohol consumption is greater than 5/week on a regular basis, it can contribute to sluggishness, fogy head, inflammation, chronic pain, and vitality levels. When clients really struggle with energy, I strongly recommend temporarily removing alcohol until appropriate levels are regained. To maintain healthy energy levels, I recommend a maximum 4x 6oz glasses wine/week for women and 6x 6oz glasses or wine/week for men.
To conclude, the quickest way to improve the physical dimension of energy is to remove energy drainers and to integrate a daily practice of energy boosters that will support energy production. To be successful, we suggest you choose one or two things to work on, and stick to it. Research as shows that it takes 66 days to integrate a habit a point of no returning back. Stay tuned for my next article on the emotional dimension.