Some days you’re so dog tired, the very thought of changing into workout clothes exhausts you. Other days, you have the manic energy of a monkey in a banana factory. We may not completely understand what causes those day-to-day fluctuations in our energy levels, but we do know that both sleep and nutrition play a significant roll.
Sleep – that’s a no-brainer; we all feel better and have higher energy levels when we get our allotted daily R.E.M. sleep. But even with enough sleep, energy – especially sustained energy – can fluctuate dramatically.
One possibility is that when your body experiences a fluctuation in energy levels, it is because your body’s regulatory system is trying to find homeostasis, or balance. We continually force our bodies into stressful situations, both physiologically and otherwise (e.g., you get into a fight with your boss, or you skip a meal). All of life’s demands require nutrients to help in finding homeostasis and an evenly sustained energy level. A sustained energy level is optimized when we time our nutrients correctly each day and every day.
When we ignore nutrition, our body has no choice but to try and maintain balance. So it pinch hits and steals the nutrients it needs from other sources within your body (i.e. organs, tissues, muscle, etc.) to satisfy its present needs. The problem is, other areas of the body suffer and we never really build the strongest body we can.
This situation is exacerbated when you work out. You place demands and stresses on your body that require proper nutrition to recover, and all too often we ignore that very important window of time following a workout. For example, when you work out you use many, if not all, of the stored carbohydrates held within your muscle cells. If you recover quickly by replenishing your glycogen stores after a workout, a surprising thing happens – your body’s muscle cells revolumize with glycogen, keeping your metabolism and energy level high, which in turn allows your body to continue burning fat and building muscle. In addition, you are able to have much greater endurance levels the next time you work out and throughout the day your energy levels will be higher.
Don’t skip those meals throughout the day, especially your post-workout Recovery Shake. Timing is everything; just like that 45 minute window after a workout, timing your meals throughout the day and never letting your body feel hungry will keep your level of energy high and minimize throwing your body into a catabolic state. Eat well!