With our crazy modern lives, energy is something that we really have to manage carefully. We have so much on our plate, so many distractions and sleep seems hard to come by. Many of us are just dragging along. Our time is fully accounted for and most of us do not have the luxury of vast down time to re-energize so I have to take a different approach.
A while back I read a book that had a big impact on me called How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.
For me, the two big takeaways were:
1) the most important skill in life is energy optimization (mood, quality of life, ability to focus, and everything else depends on)
2) take a systems over goals mentality (this allows failure while still heading towards wins)
In terms of number 1, for me personally, it has always taken me saying: everything else in life has to take a back seat to my energy levels (barring emergencies of course). This may seem insensitive, but really, you’re going to be a better father, lover, worker, artist, etc. when you optimize for your energy levels.
What does it mean to optimize for energy levels?
Here are some simple tips:
- get your sleep. use a sleep aid if necessary.
- get 20 minutes of sun exposure every day that you can
- workout at least a little every day. for me it’s 3 big workouts and 4 small workouts a week. makes a huge difference to my quality of life.
- eat clean (lately i’ve been eating 90% meat and seafood diet and feel good doing that)
- Take some alone time when you need to recharge.
Workout wise, for men especially, the key is resistance training -> and I recommend these 5 main powerlifts
4) overhead press
5) bent over rows
If you do those 5 motions even with light weight, you engage all major muscle groups
Consider throwing in one more fun, high intensity functional movement per workout like medicine ball slams or kickboxing.
I’m bad at it, but I also recommend static stretching after your workout for about 10 minutes. Hold stretches for long time (up to 2 minutes). Maintaining flexibility and mobility as you age is difficult but worth it. And since you don’t really get the high of endorphins from stretching, it’s harder to make it a habit. But definitely try.
In addition to the above tips, I regularly use preworkouts because it gets me jumpstarted and amped up to do the first set and once I’m in the groove, it’s pretty easy to push through a workout. It’s the getting started part that hard. A good tasting, motivating preworkout that gives you the extra rep is just the kind of stimulating treat many of us need to create this essential habit.
But again, if you use stimulants like caffeine after lunch, you may need to use a sleep aid at night, so be careful. If I know I’ve had too much caffeine, I don’t have as much difficulty falling asleep as staying asleep. So if I wake up in the middle of the night and know that I need more sleep, I’ll take a sleep aid to calm my nervous system so I can the essential 8 hours of sleep and have a good, productive day the following day.