The 8 Steps You Need To Take For All-Day Energy Levels

Updated: May 5, 2021

Do you feel like your energy levels are low and you can’t figure out why? Do you feel drained after a day at work and can't wait to go to bed? Do you feel the need to snack on junk food and caffeine to keep your energy levels up? These are all signs of poor energy levels, which may be related to your daily habits and behaviours. Poor energy levels can be associated with a variety of factors including:


  • Diet Quality/Quantity

  • Physical Activity Levels

  • Sleep Quality/Quantity/Consistency

  • Mental Health

  • Hydration

  • Stimulant Intake

  • Medication

  • Underlying Medical Conditions


To help you understand why you feel low in energy we will cover each of these potential contributing factors and what actions you can take to limit the impact these play on your energy levels starting with your diet.



Diet Quality/Quantity


Every action you take requires energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is like your body’s currency where you need to constantly earn more to pay for your expenses. In this scenario, you eat food to convert into ATP, which your cells then use to fuel every physiological process in your body. You will no doubt be more familiar with the concept of calories and how all food has a number of calories depending on how much fat, carbohydrates, and protein it may have. But calories are just a unit of measurement used to determine how much energy can be derived from any food item. Every day you need to eat enough food (or calories) to meet how much energy (or ATP) you use up each day. If you do not eat enough food then your energy levels will be too low and you will need to use energy stores (i.e your body fat) to make up the shortfall. This can leave you feeling tired and lethargic. If you have ever been on an extended diet you may be familiar with the feeling of low energy levels that may accompany caloric restricted diets. But, it is not just how many calories you eat that may affect your energy levels. Empty calories such as those found in junk and convenience food are often low in nutritional value, meaning it does not have the essential nutrients you need to remain healthy and keep your energy levels high.


Several key nutrients play a pivotal role in maintaining good energy levels including Vitamin D, Vitamins B1 - B12, and Iron. These vitamins are found in their highest amounts in animal-derived foods and may be more commonly low in vegetarians/vegans. For meat-eaters, try to eat red meat 1 - 2 times/week and spend 30 minutes in the sun during the summer months. Taking Vitamin D supplements in the winter months may help with possible deficiencies. For vegetarians and vegan, try eating yeast extract (e.g. Marmite) or take a vitamin B complex, eat Iron-rich foods like spinach, and lentils with vitamin C rich foods, and if you eat dairy, enjoy dairy-rich foods while in the sun to help vitamin D absorption. If you are vegan then spending time outside is still beneficial for Vitamin D levels in the summer months but you may also need supplementation during the winter months.


 

To learn more about nutrition and how to optimise your diet to your needs, check out my book Eat Move Perform: Volume 1 - Nutrition & Supplements on our books page and learn everything you've ever wanted to know about healthy diets and optimising your diet for better athletic performance and good health.



 


Physical Activity Levels