At one time or another, we’ve all had that feeling of barely being able to keep our eyes open on the way to the gym. This creates a serious problem as depressed energy levels result in a depressed training intensity, and consequently depressed results.
The primary role of your diet is to provide your body with sufficient energy-boosting nutrients. Unfortunately, when it comes to training many people look for the quick fix, which is often an instant energy boost loaded with refined sugars and caffeine.
AskMen.com's Kevin Neeld asked body transformation and sports nutrition expert Brian St. Pierre (CISSN, CSCS) for some ideas on health-conscious high-energy foods. Brian packed this top 10 list with unique foods to help keep your energy levels high, while keeping your body fat low.
Omega-3 eggs are full of healthy fats, energy-boosting B-vitamins and some vitamin D.
They also provide a rich supply of brain-boosting choline, the precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and are considered the ”perfect” protein because of their amino acid profile and high biological value.
They are one of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods.
Tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews are loaded with healthy fats (monounsaturates like in olive oil, as well as some omega 3s), fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
You can also consume these as nut butters, which are delicious and offer lots of variety as they can be spread over other fruits/vegetables or included in a smoothie for a perfect energy-boosting snack.
Seeds from sources like flax, chia and hemp provide a great supply of fiber, healthy fats (including omega-3s), vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Chia is an especially great choice, since it has a large amount of soluble fiber, which creates a viscous gel in your gastrointestinal tract.
This keeps you full/satisfied for a long time and provides an energy time-release effect, stabilizing your blood sugar and keeping your energy levels even during intense training.
Old-fashioned oats are a quality source of complex carbohydrates, high in fiber, low on the glycemic index, and are also high in energy-boosting B-vitamins.
This is not your instant oatmeal; old-fashioned oats are a more natural, unprocessed form of oat. Because they aren’t broken down to the extent that instant oats are, it takes longer for these oats to be processed within your body, providing a slower release of energy.
Of all natural food sources, coffee has the largest caffeine content. Caffeine has been shown to improve performance and decrease your perception of effort, allowing you to work harder longer.
Coffee also contains large amounts of antioxidants, and may supply up to 70 percent of the total daily antioxidant intake of the average American. If you use coffee to give you a quick energy boost, be conscious of the time of day.
Drinking coffee within eight hours of when you go to bed can cause some men to have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night with your heart racing, you may have to find a less intense alternative, such as tea.
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