There was a time in my early days of teaching yoga when I would bust out complex poses without being “warm.” I pushed my body to its limits, whether it was at the front of the yoga class I was teaching or during photo shoots. Of course, this lifestyle caught up with me, and after years of chronic injuries, including extensive shoulder surgery, I realized that being able to pop into impressive shapes without warming up was no achievement. In fact, it was kind of negligent.
My body is my home for life, but rather than treating it like a sacred temple, which requires special care and daily maintenance, I ran mine down to the ground. It became broken and dilapidated, and then I wondered why everything was always falling apart.
I was able to make the shift from treating my body like a workhorse to treating it like a pampered pony when I stopped viewing poses as accomplishments. I had done the fancy poses, and there was nothing there but chronic pain and maybe a few pretty pictures. I also stopped using exercise as a form of punishment for what I have eaten, which I had done for so long.
Instead, what all of the injuries and two decades of yoga practice have taught me is that any time I get to move my body, in any way, it is a privilege. Therefore, exercise is really a celebration of this amazing vehicle that carries me around every single day of my life.
Last month on the Naturally Blog, we explored workout recovery programs. Now, we will look at what we should be doing before we even get moving. A well-balanced workout program should place as much importance on the prep and recovery as it does the workout, because our bodies, our temples, deserve it.
You have to give energy to get energy.
Study after study confirms that exercise helps with energy. This is due to myriad reasons, from the increase of oxygen circulation in our blood to the increase in production of mitochondria, which are cells that transform the food we eat into fuel. There are also beneficial effects on our brain, like the production of dopamine and, of course, the feel-good hormone and natural pain reliever endorphin. One recent study showed aerobic exercise to be particularly helpful at mitigating the more low-energy symptoms of depression.
There is a funny meme making its way around the social media spheres that reads something along the lines of, “Exercise gives you energy, but you need energy to exercise. Sounds like a scheme.” While this is funny at first read, it is actually true, and definitely not a scheme.
When it comes to exercise, you have to give energy to get energy, meaning that even when we are exhausted, showing up and moving our bodies can lead to a return of more energy on the other side.
Shaklee recently surveyed 2,000 people on their sleep, energy, and stress habits over the last year and found that 41% said they need an energy boost just to get through their workouts. That is nearly half of the participants!
So, this becomes a bit of a conundrum. Exercise energizes us, but we don’t have the energy to exercise. What do we do?
This is where our workout prep program can be critical.
Here are 5 important considerations to help you gain energy in preparation for your workout:
- Stretch before working out: In addition to improving range of motion and flexibility, stretching before your workout has been shown to improve circulation, which can improve energy.
- Eat energy-sustaining foods: There is a lot of mixed information about the best foods to eat prior to a workout, but recent data seems to suggest that we should be eating a mixture of carbohydrates and protein for sustainable energy.
- Use adrenaline to your advantage: While the best time of day to work out is entirely personal, if you do so at the end of the day after work, try to go straight to the gym or class versus home first, which may lead to a drop in your energy. This principle actually works in the mornings too as jumping right up with the alarm can help boost you into activity, where hitting snooze repeatedly may lead to a slower beginning.
- Don’t forget Shaklee Sustained Energy Boost*: This all-natural product can help boost energy for sustained periods.* Made with green coffee bean and green tea extracts, plus chardonnay grape seed extract, this special formula supports healthy circulation, boosts energy, and comes in two yummy flavors.*†
- Get hydrated: Low energy can sometimes be a symptom of mild dehydration. This is because our cardiovascular system is a fluid-based system and when we are dehydrated our heart has to work even harder to pump blood.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
†Based on thermographic imaging results from a double-blind preliminary Shaklee employee-use pilot trial.
Sarah Ezrin is a freelance writer, world-renowned yoga educator, popular Instagram influencer, and mama based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her willingness to be unabashedly honest and vulnerable along with her innate wisdom make her writing, yoga classes, and social media great sources of healing and inner peace for many people. Sarah is changing the world, teaching self-love one person at a time. For more information please visit her website www.sarahezrinyoga.com.