If you’re struggling to find the energy to push yourself to your full potential at the gym then why not try and add some energy-boosting foods to your diet. These 10 energy-rich foods are easy to find and can be incorporated into your diet in many ways.
1. Bananas – not only are these little guys a quick and easy fix, but they can also be added to may different things if you’re not a massive fan. Try adding them to a smoothie, some porridge or some yoghurt for a tasty energy-rich breakfast before the gym.
2. Leafy Green Vegetables – low iron levels can cause fatigue, and one great way of boosting these levels is lots of leafy green veggies. They are rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, fibre and vitamins A, C, E & K. So having a pile of these twice a week as one of the veg on your nice balanced plate will help raise your iron levels which in turn increases red blood cell production so you can carry more oxygen-rich blood to your muscles. You can also stick them in a smoothie with other energy-rich foods for an extra kick.
3. Nuts – a great source of carbs, fibre and vitamin B means that nuts are a brilliant slow-release form of energy, they also keep you fuller for longer so you’re less likely to snack on empty calorie foods. Nuts also have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help you repair after a workout.
4. Fatty Fish – fish that is rich in fatty oils such as omega-3 can decrease fatigue, and combine that with the fact it contains vitamin B12 and you have a great source of energy as well as protein! Salmon and tuna are very versatile and easy to add to your diet, you also have sardines and mackerel if you don’t mind a stronger tasting fish.
5. Water – yes, something as simple as drinking enough water can boost your energy levels. We are 60% water and it is vital in the production of energy! So getting dehydrated or just not having enough each day could really effect your get up and go. Make sure you don’t binge on water a few times a day as this is less than useless, it will just make you run to the bathroom more. The best way to stay hydrated is to take small amounts often, even if you’re not thirsty.
6. Sweet Potato – these nobbly orange weirdos are an amazing source of fibre and slow-release carbohydrate. They will keep you fuller for longer and are a great source of vitamin A along with manganese which helps breakdown nutrients for energy.
7. Popcorn – oh yes, this lovely little treat can be a great way to snack without feeling guilty. But obviously do not drench it in butter, salt or sugar! Air-popped corn is the healthiest way to have it, use it as a mid-morning boost to keep you fuller until lunchtime. It is high in fibre and carbohydrates while staying relatively low in calories.
8. Green Tea – I know it’s not to everyone’s taste but give it a try if you can, make sure it’s a good quality tea or you’ll not reap the rewards. For centuries it has been well known in the eastern world that green tea has many health benefits and it is now becoming a norm here, it’s very accessible now. It does contain caffeine which we all know gives us an energy boost, but it also contains a compound called L-theanine which regulates the effects of caffeine and gives you a better boost. Studies have also shown that it can increase your energy expenditure, therefore the amount of calorie you burn.
9. Oranges – as you may know, oranges are high in vitamin C, this not only helps your immune system but can reduce muscle fatigue and improve physical performance. Try having a glass of orange juice before a session, give it a couple of months and see if you feel the difference.
10. Chickpeas – this small gnarly legume is a great complex carbohydrate, which as you know by know is ideal for slow-releasing energy. There are so many ways you can use chickpeas, not only hummus which is probably where you’ve come across them the most, but they are great in curries, salads, vegetarian ‘meatballs’ and of course falafel.
At the end of the day, our diet is vitally important to how we feel and function through the day. Give some or all of these a good go and see if it makes a difference to your performance, or even just to how you feel on a daily basis.