For years now, news headlines have been sporting the words “energy crisis”. This crisis refers to the failures of countries to produce enough resources to power their nations. Parallel to these dilemmas, many of us face a personal energy crisis– we fail to fuel our bodies to power through our lives. If you are like me, you believe waking up refreshed is a myth, and an IV drip of coffee sounds like a pleasant treat. I have been plagued with this lack of energy for months now. No matter how much sleep I get or the amount of caffeine I consume, nothing gets me energized or motivated. This lack of zest has affected everything from my relationships to my workouts. However, I may have discovered the root cause to my dilemma, and the solution is deliciously simple.
Determine a Root Cause
My probing for a solution began when I realized it was time for a change. The realization stemmed from the gym (where I find solutions to various problems.) Lately, I’ve been frustrated that I am not performing to my full potential. Despite a consistent and vigorous training program, I didn’t feel I was getting any quicker or much stronger. Since I believe my training program is solid, I went to the next factor–diet. I have learned through my years in the gym that a good diet far outweighs a great training program. I have witnessed men train for years with a beer belly, then switch up their diet and walk in weeks later with a six pack. Abs start in the kitchen. Fitness is found in the fridge. It’s all about the food.
Now, I thought I already had a good handle on the diet part. I follow a meal plan, religiously. It’s adapted from a bikini-model template (OK, maybe that was the first warning sign.) It consists of eating six meals a day, each balanced with protein, carbs, and some fat. I spend every Sunday prepping each of these meals, so they’re ready to go at meal time, halting the urge to stray. Sometimes, the frequency causes me to force a meal down, but I do it for the fuel. However, since I felt ddepleted, I decided to check on my macros, so I re-downloaded MyFitnessPal and logged this daily diet into the diary. I was astonished to find that I was only consuming 1,300 calories! Not only that, I was eating less than 150 grams of carbs and 30 grams of fat. The only macro that was on point was the 170 grams of protein. This was so eye-opening, I had literally been starving myself for months, no wonder I felt so depleted!
So, for the past couple of days, I continue to log my food, but try to obtain much higher numbers. Easier said than done. Sure, I could throw in a snicker’s bar and max out on calories and carbs, but I am dedicated to fueling my body with unprocessed, whole foods. Unfortunately, these foods don’t pack a lot of calories. I’ve had to increase volume, which is tough when I mentioned I was already forcing some of the meals. But after a couple of days of increasing my food, my energy is already up. I will continue to add calories (and especially carbs) in hopes that my energy and gainz will be optimized!
Below is an outline of what I have started eating on a daily basis. One thing I’ve added to my diet is peanut butter, and I couldn’t be happier.
- 1 scoop of SFH Protein (I workout in the morning before breakfast)
- Omelet (2 eggs, spinach, onions mushrooms, and curry powder—I’m a curry addict)
- Oatmeal (1/2 c oats, banana)
- Pb & J Wrap
- 4 oz Chicken
- ½ cup Brown Rice/Buckwheat
- 1 cup vegetables (squash/carrots/broccoli)
- Apple dipped in PB2
- 4 oz Turkey Breast
- 3 oz sweet potato
- ½ cup green juice (homemade)
- 4 oz salmon
- 2 cups salad (spinach/kale mix, tomatoes, onions, tomatoes, dressed with apple cider vinegar)
- Wholly Mole Guacamole 100 cal cup
- 1 scoop About Time ZZZ Protein (Mixed in with 1/3 cup oats, if I still need some carbs!)
Reap the Rewards (and the Peanut Butter)
Have you been feeling less than spunky lately? If so, your diet could be the culprit. Track your intake for a couple of days and analyze your caloric and macro nutrient intakes. Stay tuned to see how my increase in diet goes! I am hoping to pump up my energy and put on 5-10 lbs of muscle mass. Wish me luck!