I'm often approached by clients who struggle with fatigue, especially at the typical times of mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and after dinner. Everybody is different and therefore the causes of this fatigue will vary from person to person, but here are a few ideas of things you could try if you would like to boost your energy:
1. Hydrate to feel great!
Drink more water. What's that? You think you drink enough? Try drinking a bit more anyway, you might be surprised at the difference it makes. On average your body will lose 1.7 litres of water a day just through normal processes like sweating, breathing and urination. Aim to consume a minimum of 2 litres of water per day, more if you live in a hot environment or are very active, and start getting it down your neck as soon as you wake up!
2. Ditch the processed sugary junk
Food containing lots of processed sugar will spike your insulin levels and cause a drastic drop in blood sugar, leaving you feeling lethargic and craving more junk. Focus more on less processed, lower-GI foods which will keep your blood sugar levels more steady, and therefore give you more sustained energy.
3. Eat enough carbs
Carbohydrate is the body's preferred energy source, so guess what happens if you cut them out? That's right, your energy is likely to drop. We all have different carb tolerances and some people can survive on very little, but the majority of people need a moderate amount of carbs to keep that lethargy at bay. Aim for 40% of your daily calorie intake, and go for low-GI sources such as fruit and veg, wholegrains, beans and pulses.
4. Snack happy
Eat at regular intervals, aim for every 3 hours. This will keep that blood sugar steady all day and stop your energy dipping, as well as keeping those cravings at bay. Snack on fruit and veg, but also include a protein source such as nuts, seeds, meat, fish, eggs or low-fat dairy.
5. Work up a sweat
When I say to a new client looking to improve energy the response is often "but I don't have enough energy...", but you have to break that cycle somewhere! Most people will find that including some exercise every day will massively improve their energy levels, so it's well worth having a go. The best time for moderate exercise would be first thing in the morning, as that will get that metabolism (and therefore your energy levels) boosted for the rest of the day.
6. Lean, mean and green
For a quick boost, why not try green tea? The caffeine will rev that metabolism and improve your mental focus in the short-term, and the antioxidants will help keep you healthy in the longer-term. Flavour it with lemon juice, or add a touch of natural honey to sweeten.
7. Get that beauty sleep!
This may seem like an obvious one, but you'd probably be surprised how many people forget about it. Again, everybody is different so you may need more or less than average, but the golden rule is to aim for 7-8 hours per night. This means if you get up at 6am you need to be asleep by 10 or 11pm. You should also think about the quality of sleep you get, so try not to be looking at any electronic devices right before bed, avoid alcohol, and try to get your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.
So there we have it! In summary: get a solid 7-8 hours of good-quality sleep, wake up and drink a big glass of water and a cup of green tea then do some moderate exercise, drink some more water and have a balanced low-GI breakfast, drink loads more water and a few more cups of green tea throughout the rest of the day, eat more balanced meals and snacks at regular intervals, making sure you avoid the processed sugary rubbish, then get into bed with a book instead of your smartphone and fall asleep at a reasonable hour. Sorted!