by Lisa Lynn, Fitness Expert and Weight Loss Specialist
Would you be surprised if I told you that the energy drink in your hand contains excessive levels of caffeine, a half a cup of sugar, unidentified stimulants, plus red food dye and taurine, to mention just a few unhealthy (and possibly dangerous) ingredients? Many of the most popular energy drinks people consume these days contain things you wouldn’t put into your car’s engine – so why would you put those same substances into your body?
Energy drinks are supposed to give you a mental and physical boost for a limited amount of time and are primarily consumed during periods of strenuous physical activity as well as to quench thirst. The unpleasant truth many people DON’T know is that energy drinks do not hydrate your body and may actually cause the opposite to happen, meaning dehydration.
Energy drinks can also lead to serious health problems, such as elevated blood pressure, stomach problems, anxiety and panic attacks, and cardiac arrhythmia. They can even cause your teeth to erode!
The most recent research on energy drinks shows that they are made from ingredients that, with the exception of caffeine, have few (if any) health benefits. Drinking a cup of coffee will have a similar effect on your metabolism, without all the added chemicals!
Another major problem with consuming these energy drinks when you’re feeling tired is that they cover up the symptoms of fatigue. As a result we may end up pushing our body past its capabilities, thereby placing dangerous strain on our heart muscle.
Even drinking too much of a stimulant like coffee can stress our body and our heart. Covering up fatigue by using stimulants like energy drinks or strong coffee will actually make us feel worse over the long run. When we eventually crash, our body feels even more tired because our immune and adrenal systems have been weakened.
Headaches, nausea, and being in a very bad mood are some of the symptoms experienced when coming down from these types of energy drinks. Ironically, that is what makes them highly addictive! The only way to feel better is to consume another energy drink, starting the whole vicious circle again.
So, what exactly can we do when we are tired and feeling sluggish? It’s important to step back and assess why we are feeling so tired in the first place. The solution is actually in the problem!
Most people are tired and lacking pep due to poor sleeping habits, or because they aren’t getting enough proper nutrients to keep their energy levels balanced all day. This is the key to feeling good!
#1: Consume Enough Protein. Six out of 10 women do not get enough protein in their diets – this is often the number one cause of fatigue! Satisfying your body’s daily protein requirements is not easy and requires conscious effort.
Most women need to consume 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. So if you want to weigh 125 pounds, you need to consume 125 grams of protein per day from lean sources like egg whites, turkey or chicken breast, fish, or non-fat cottage cheese.
I recommend that all females drink a high-quality protein shake every day to satisfy their body’s nutritional requirements. Drinking protein shakes makes your life a lot easier. You don’t have to think, plan or cook meals – just drink your shake and off you go!
Search for a high-quality whey protein shake that is under 160 calories and has no fat, a minimum number of carbohydrates and less than 5 grams of sugar.
Make sure the whey protein you select is intended for health and weight loss and NOT for weight gain, so that you can add it to oatmeal or make a delicious protein shake for breakfast.
I also recommend that your shake should come with at least 2000 milligrams of glutamine already in it. Glutamine is a fantastic “brain booster” that can help ease depression and keep you alert for hours without the “crashes” that come with energy drinks.
I love my chocolate whey drink each morning in a small cup with very little water. It’s like eating fudge brownie batter – yet it’s almost completely sugar-free, contains no fat, and is truly delicious!
If I don’t want my protein shake cold, I prepare it like “healthy hot chocolate” or mix it in with my morning oatmeal. I always seem to struggle with meeting my body’s protein requirements, which is why having a whey protein shake makes reaching my daily protein requirement a lot easier.
For a change of pace, I can add the protein shake to my coffee or to baked goods, such as health muffins. Whey has also been shown to lower blood pressure and boost energy, strength, while also easing depression.
#2: Get More Sleep. Make your sleep schedule your number one priority and plan your life around it. It’s important to get as much sleep as possible.
There is nothing more rejuvenating than a good night’s sleep! Getting enough rest is the absolute best way to slow down the aging process and feel great! Shoot for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and create a sleep pattern that allows you go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
Creating such a disciplined sleep schedule will be well worth it – I guarantee you. This step is particularly important for people who struggle with depression and anxiety.
Having said that, if all else fails and you can’t fall asleep due to stress or hormonal changes, I like to suggest to my clients that they take 3 milligrams of melatonin 30 minutes before bed to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
Melatonin is a healthy alternative to sleeping pills or drugs that make leave you feeling awful the next morning. Remember, all the body’s healing happens when we are asleep, so make it your #1 priority!
#3: Drink Lots of Water! All of us need to consume at least eight glasses of water per day to adequately hydrate our bodies. If we are even slightly dehydrated, our metabolism can slow down by as much as three percent!
Healthy tip: try filling a large pitcher full of cold water, then add lemon, lime or orange slices to make it more delicious so that you’ll drink more.
Not only does the water look great, but it’s less expensive than buying water in a bottle, which helps the environment at the same time. Take out your favorite glass and set the pitcher in front of you so that you’re attracted to it every time you walk by.
Taking proper care of your health is the best way to prevent fatigue. Follow the steps above, and you’ll never need to buy those garbage energy drinks again!
Learn more about my metabolic boosting system on my website. Check out the before and after photos of my clients! If you purchase LynFIT fitness and nutrition products, please use discount code BLOG2 as my way of saying THANK YOU!
(published January 9, 2013)
Lisa Lynn is a fitness expert and a specialist in weight loss and metabolic disorders. Lisa’s approach to weight loss is based on personal experience, and her dedicated study of the metabolic effects of food, specific exercises and the smart use of supplements. Lisa is always available to help you become the fittest, healthiest person you can be, as well as for lectures and training. Visit Lisa’s website, lynfit.com, for information about her LynFIT Program, her great fitness and nutrition products, and much more.