Keeping alert and energised isn’t always easy when you’re constantly on the go. Personal trainer and yoga teacher Shona Vertue and nutritionist Gabriella Peacock share their top tips for staying on top of your game.
Aside from glowing skin, a lean body and a more efficient metabolism, being hydrated is essential for brain function and helps to maintain energy levels. In fact, some studies have shown that even 1% reduction in hydration leads to a 5% drop in cognitive function. Our brains have no way to store water so, if you want to be thinking effectively all day, you’ve got to be drinking effectively all day. While the body is clever enough to take water from the food you consume, ensuring you get enough H2O is imperative. I suggest aiming for three litres per day.
Every 20 minutes boost your circulation and energy levels with a little bit of midday movement without even leaving the office. If you’ve been typing away, staring at a screen that is 30cm away from your face, chances are that you will start to feel sluggish very soon.
This is because when we are still our heart rate drops and our body literally begins to fall asleep, shutting down bodily functions. Just a little bit of movement and stretching can really help to wake up the brain and body. All it takes is a few stretches and a cheeky walk to the kitchen (grab some more H2O while you’re there).
I know the M word can be a little intimidating for some, but more and more research is proving the benefits of meditation on the brain and its function, including neuroplasticity (the brains ability to change and adapt according to experiences particularly related to learning).
Try just five minutes every day for 30 days and keep a journal to check in with any changes you notice to your brain function and ability to consolidate emotions and thoughts. At first it feels like literally ‘nothing’ however after a few weeks of a committed practice, you will notice that it’s more powerful than you had originally thought.
The mantra is true; breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I always make sure I have something, even if it’s something small. I’ll make a green smoothie from avocado, greens, almond or coconut milk and a handful of nuts and and add a Boost Me powder. If I’m really struggling I might even chuck in a shot of espresso! By including the protein powder and a handful of nuts, there is a good amount of protein in the smoothie, not just loads of blended fruits. This means energy levels remain constant as sugar is released more slowly into the bloodstream and prevents spikes in insulin.
I also rely on protein rich snacks a lot to keep my blood sugar levels balanced throughout my busy schedule. For example I use my own protein powder ‘Boost Me’ in a shake if I am at home but busy with the family, and always carry nuts and seeds with me for a snack. Other favourites are a Bounce Ball or Pulsein protein bar. I find protein rich snacks really help sustain my energy levels by keeping my blood sugar levels balanced.
I couldn’t live without my supplements. I switch between the programmes depending on what I’m doing during the week. For example if I’m travelling and need antioxidant support I’ll take Restore Me, or I take Clean Me if I have a busy clinic and need more energy.
Did you catch Shona and Gabriella at last year’s Stylist Live, with their session ‘Supercharged Club: How to survive full-on work days whilst still staying social’ on our THRIVE stage.