Published on December 13, 2021
By Gabrielle Kassel
Imagine this: You wake up feeling actually refreshed, then zip through your entire day without ever coming down with the afternoon slumps. If this sounds like a far-fetched fantasy, we feel you — sometimes it feels like we haven’t had that kind of energy since we were kids. But know that this doesn’t have to be the case: with a few simple lifestyle tweaks, all-day energy really is possible. We spoke with top athlete trainers, asking for their best tips to keep your energy levels high from wake-to-wink.
1. Start The Day With An Affirmation
The biggest energy-zapper? Stress. “Stress, for many people, comes from comparing ourselves to others, or thinking about where we want to be,” says certified personal trainer Anthony Crouchelli CFSC, Pn1, NCSF CPT, head instructor with Liteboxer, a full-body boxing workout studio. “By controlling those thoughts, you can start to control your stress, which keeps those thoughts from exhausting you over the course of the day.”
How do you control your thoughts, exactly? Start your morning with a daily affirmation. “As soon as you connect your feet with the floor in the morning, repeat a simple, affirming quote to yourself,” he says. “For example: ‘I am enough, I am enough, I am enough,’ or ‘I am exactly where I need to be.’”
And if thoughts of comparison or inadequacy pop up throughout the day? Simply pause and repeat your mantra to yourself.
2. Breakfast Wisely
Instead of going for a breakfast that’s heavy on the carbs, bick your day off with a protein boost for long-lasting energy.
“Sub your usual breakfast foods for items like chia seed pudding, an omelette with veggies, or oatmeal with berries and a tablespoon of peanut butter,” says Harley Pasternak, who has worked with Lady Gaga and Rihanna, among others.
3. Drink Those (Non-Alcoholic!) Drinks
“Staying hydrated is key for maintaining your energy levels throughout the day,” says Crouchelli. Research has shown time and time again that even mild dehydration can significantly (significantly!) slash energy levels, as well as alter mood, impair brain focus, and reduce athletic performance. In other words, all you may need to do to perk up, is drink up.
Exactly how much water you need to consume per day varies based on factors like your age, sex, activity level, and overall health, as well as the local temperature and altitude. But Crouchelli says the eight-glasses-a-day rule is a good starting point.
And if you’re in need of a caffeine boost, go for it. The idea that caffeinated beverages are actually dehydrating is an unsubstantiated myth, according to studies. Caffeine can increase physical endurance, alertness, increased focus, and improve reaction time. You want to make sure you go for a good one, though: Opting for a solid, sugar-free choice like Monster Zero Ultra is a good way to avoid unnecessary calories, and it comes in a bunch of great flavors, to boot.
4. Park Further Way
Don’t roll your eyes: As cheesy as this tip sounds, it can really make a difference in your energy levels, according to Pasternak. The number one best way to keep energy steady all day long: accumulate at least 12,000 steps a day, he says.
“The act of walking is very meditative and very restorative,” he says. “The hormones activated when we walk, the calories burned, the fresh air…all of that is very conducive for stress reduction and energy revitalizing.”
Still, the thought of going on an hour-long walk can seem daunting to anyone who doesn’t already lace up on the reg — or whose schedule is packed from sunrise to sunset. And that’s where parking further away at the grocery store, office, and school pick-up spot comes in. These little bursts of steps accumulate over the course of the day, helping people meet their daily goal, he says.
Plus, those extra few minutes of sunshine? Essential for getting vitamin D, which research shows can reduce the severity of feelings of fatigue. Talk about a win-win.
5. Go On A Walking Meeting
Another option for inching closer to five-digit daily steps? Make your work meetings walking meetings when applicable. A great option for phone conferences, meet-and-greets, and casual catch-ups, the phone meeting is the ultimate three-in-one way to work while getting your steps.
If you work for yourself and don’t have co-workers, “invite a friend on a walk to make it social, or listen to some music or stand-up comedy while you walk,” suggests Pasternak.
Can you leave your smart devices on the charging port for the last hour of your day? “Your soul will thank you if you can,” says Pasternak. The blue light from your devices prevents your body from producing melatonin, the sleep hormone. “Getting away from the blue light will improve your sleep quality, as well as boost your connections with those around you,” he says.
Truly not possible for you to disconnect before hitting the hay? In the PM, when you are plugged in, try on some blue light glasses. One 2017 study found those who wear light-blocking shades before bed produce more melatonin and sleep more deeply, compared to those who go bare.
7. Upgrade Your Sleep Score
For maximum energy, ideally you’re sleeping at least seven hours a night. But the quality of that sleep is arguably more important than the number of hours spent in bed. One 2020 study found a correlation between a higher quality sleep cycle and greater physical and mental health, as well as occupational function, which is essentially a measure of work productivity and energy levels.
To set yourself up for a high-quality snooze, Pasternak recommends fine-tuning your sleep environment. “Using a white noise machine, sleeping with a sleep mask on so no light can get in, wearing ear plugs, and using light-blocking shades, can all help you get the best rest,” he says.
The time it takes to prep your sleep space each night? About one minute. The way you’ll feel the next day? Priceless.