Exercises to boost energy

Don't just train to get trim, train to stay energetic. Tweak your workout to include methods that double your vigour

Man running on the beach
One of the best methods to approach any new challenge is to incorporate some energy boosting exercises. Of course, all forms of exercise are fantastic and energy boosting, but some will pump up your heart rate a little more than the others do.

Diet dos

One of the most important rules to remember is that we get energy from food. No matter what your level of fitness is or what your age is, consume high protein, moderate carbohydrates and moderate fat meals. There are many caffeine-based, energy boosting sports drinks available. You must eat properly to get the maximum benefits out of them. If you believe you can get energy on coffee and Red Bull alone, you’ll see your training and your physique suffer. So, before you begin any exercise eat smart and sensible.

Out of the box

If you are not the gym type and rather exercise outside or at home, I recommend brisk walks and jogs to boost your energy. Prior to any form of training, you must warm up properly for at least 5-15 minutes. It could be a simple walk or a spin on the bike, anything you like.

After you feel your muscles warmed up and ready to train, get started for some energy boost.

You can challenge yourself in a variety of ways. If you like to jog for say 20-30 minutes, then after every 2-5 minutes stop jogging, do a set of push-ups, a set of sit-ups, immediately after. Choose a number you want to achieve. I jog for 10 minutes, stop, do 25 push-ups, 25 sit-ups resume jogging. I want to perform at least 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups. Set your own definite goals and really try hard to reach them. This will not only increase your energy, but also will make you stronger and develop your muscles.

If you really want to boost your energy levels while jogging/walking, aside from push-ups and sit-ups, jog backwards for a short period. Of course, be sure to turn your head so you don’t risk an injury or a collision.

A shot in the arm

Another fantastic method to get in better shape and increase energy is to imply the HIT Method of training. HIT stands for high intensity training. It involves getting your heart to pump at maximum levels, then slowing down. This is repeated throughout the training. This technique is not only amazing for increasing energy but also for burning fat.

So if you are a jogger and want to try the HIT technique, start jogging for a lap, then on the second lap, break into a sprint for half the distance. After you have sprinted half a lap, briskly walk the second half of the lap. Now as you approach your third lap, you can jog or sprint for half the lap, then walk. It depends on your levels of fitness. You can also use the HIT technique in a gym on a treadmill. Set the treadmill for a speed at which you can jog for 30 seconds, then pick up speed and sprint for 30 seconds, then drop your speed again so you can walk for 30 seconds. Repeat as often as you can or until you are fully fatigued. I use the HIT Method and it helps me achieve fantastic results.

Super sets

Now if you are an avid gym user, a great technique for that energy boost and fat burn is super sets. Use super sets when exercising with weights using compound movements with multiple body parts. This may sound confusing but it is very basic. Often we train one to two body parts in each workout session. If you were to incorporate super sets, you would be training the two body parts at the same time. This gives you more of a muscle pump and definitely increases your heart and lung capacity making it an energy boosting exercise.

A sample super set workout for arms could be; performing standing strict barbell biceps curls for 15 repetitions then immediately going into a triceps exercise like the standing overhead triceps press [French Press] for 15 repetitions without a rest in between exercises. A normal routine would look like this: strict biceps curls, four sets of 15 reps with a minute rest; a French press for four sets of 15 reps each. Super sets force you to work both the triceps and biceps for two continual sets of 15 reps each. After you performed both sets this is when you take a good 45–60 second rest. As your strength and condition improve, you can even cut down your rest period to 30–45 seconds.

You can perform super sets in any gym training routine. Every body part can be effectively trained using super sets. Often super sets are used when you find you do not have enough time to train in the gym or you really want to burn that body fat and boost your energy. Stay Strong!

Mike’s Mantras

  1. Warm up and cool down properly, always. This includes stretching before and after exercise.
  2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially during your training. Water is very important and you shouldn’t substitute it with energy drinks or other sugar-related beverages!.
  3. Remember to breathe properly as your train [always exhale on exertion]. It is extremely important to breathe properly. Improper breathing could be dangerous especially if you tend to hold your breath.
  4. Eat. Energy boosting exercises will work provided you maintain a regular diet of high protein meals throughout the day.

This article was first published in Feb 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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