Magazines, gyms and blogs are loaded with exercises aimed at sculpted arms, six-pack abs, and the tightest bums. Further, we are spruiked diets from Paleo to lemon detoxes promising everything from V-cuts to thigh gaps. It all sounds so easy.
Over a coffee last week, I met a (potential) client wanting it all. He was overweight and ready for change. He had invested many hundreds of dollars in new runners and gym gear. He was doing it for his (future) girlfriend and even had a new wardrobe in sight.
He said all the right things and we shook hands on a schedule. Then this, via SMS: "I just don't have the energy at this time."
Energy. It's your steroid to a healthier life. Or your downfall. Need an energy boost? Here you go:
Scientists equate music to a legal performance-enhancing drug. Studies prove that music drives exercise intensity, with some linking performance increases of up to 15 per cent. You will run harder and pedal faster, and music even lowers the perception of effort. So your playlist can be just as important as your exercise routine. Obvious safety caveats apply if you wear headphones outdoors and exercise around traffic.
Look out coconut water, beetroot juice is the new boss in town.
Pre-workout, a cup of coffee is a winner. An hour before exercise, caffeine can increase performance and endurance, aiding in exercise intensity and weight loss. But remember: caffeine is a drug, and too much can lead to dehydration and other, more serious side effects.
One in three Australians suffers some kind of sleep deprivation, and it's estimated that sleep disorders underlie up to 70 per cent of all GP visits. The cure is simple: get more sleep, and you'll have more energy at work and in the gym. Don't just go to bed early one night; commit to 7-8 hours of sleep every night for two consecutive weeks. Sleep will change not only your exercise intensity, but your entire life.
Who knew the Aussie burger favourite could help so much in the gym? A UK study showed that the nitrate in beetroot juice reduces oxygen uptake, which makes exercise less tiring. Look out coconut water, beetroot juice is the new boss in town, helping people exercise up to 16 per cent longer.
Shorter, more intense workouts
Turn a lazy 45-minute jog on the treadmill into 10 minutes of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and follow it up with two Tabata sessions. When you work harder, you burn more calories in a shorter period of time. You'll leave the gym rejuvenated with a bounce in your step and an elevated heart rate – that's positive, healthy energy.
There are so many small yet positive and cost-effective methods to get energy into your life. Yet people still spend money on drugs, energy drinks and supplement powders. Why? To negate all their other bad habits - food comas, hangovers, cigarettes, stressful work days, video games played into the wee hours, fatty/sugary snacks with no nutritional value, checking work emails at 10pm that affect stress and sleep, and late-night bingeing that has them starting the day on the toilet.
One of my favourite clients brings healthy, positive energy to every session, and because of that she has shed more than 50 kilograms. I'm grateful, because her smiles and progress provide me with energy – it's contagious. The best compliment I give her after a session has little to do with the stairs she runs, the ropes she's skipped, or the kilos she has dropped. It's about one simple fact: "Great energy today!".
Still looking for energy?
It might be your favourite athlete, or a family member who is pushing on through tough times – inspiration provides energy.
Let's get more excited about the energy that beetroot provides, and less excited about Netflix and Pizza Hut's Four 'n Twenty stuffed crust pizza.
Energy is your mental and physical fuel. It's what makes you run rather than walk. It makes you jump out of bed rather than press the snooze button. It promotes muscles growth, body shape change, and weight loss. Energy can change you.
What do you do to keep your energy up?
Passion for lifestyle change is the cornerstone for everything Michael Jarosky does. A Sydney-based personal trainer, he cajoled thousands of Executive Style readers to undertake his 'Cut The BS' diet, and champions an annual charity weight-loss event, Droptober.