Being an entrepreneur requires to work harder, longer and better than most of your peers. Startups can also be emotionally, psychologically and physically draining. Coping with all that is easier if you have a full tank and keep your personal energy levels high. Here are 8 tested ways to boost them.
1. Experiment with Your Diet
Everyone has different metabolism and there is ideal diet for all, despite pop magazines trying to claim otherwise. What works for one may not work for another. Since food is to your body what a fuel is to an engine the best thing to do is to try different kinds of diets and observe. For example try vegetarian or paleo for a month and make a conclusion. For many people however eating sugar and starchy foods (e.g. potatoes, pasta, bread) leads to an insulin spike and energy crash, while eating fat and protein rich foods leads to more consistent energy release.
For me personally, paleo was a real game-changer. Although I don’t believe in the reasoning behind it my body seems to work really well with protein and fat rich foods. (In addition to more energy I gained muscle and lost fat more easily)
2. Adapt to Your Circadian and Ultradian Rhythms
Throughout the 24 hour period our bodies are governed by Circadian Rhythm. This is genetically given and there are 2 categories of people: those who are most easily stimulated in the mornings and before noon (early risers) and those who are most easily stimulated in the afternoon and evenings (night owls). Recently an elementary school in the UK divided it’s pupils in 2 groups and adapted their schedule, allowing night owls to start their day later. The result was higher alertness and 45% improvement in grades.
In addition to 24 hour circadian rhythms our bodies are governed by Ultradian Rhythms – 90-120 minute periods that start with higher alertness and finish with lowered energy. The best way to learn about your biorhythms is to track them:
a/ Grade your energy, focus and mood on the scale of 1-3 for a week.
Then put it in chart and plan your day accordingly. The chart below belongs to me, I tracked it over the course of one entire month and was surprised how it all added up. (I have very irregular eating schedule so there is little correlation to that)
3. Quit Drinking Coffee
Coffee is an excellent stimulant – for a while, then your body adapts. That means you end up having same energy as before but you need a cup of coffee to get it. Coffee also messes up with your sleep – a basic element of healthy lifestyle. When I quit coffee I experienced some withdrawal effects for about 4 days (headache, fatigue) then I got my energy levels back, but without coffee and with better sleep.
Not only we go through our day in series of cycles, we also sleep in cycles. The way it works is that you enter a deep sleep phase when your body recharges and then you start getting into lighter sleep while your body prepares itself for waking up. If you wake up in a light sleep phase you wake up energized, because your body have flushed away your sleep hormones and prepared itself to wake up. To achieve that try this app:
Sleep cycle tracks your sleeping cycle using your phone’s accelerometer and microphone and wakes you up just at the right time.
Throughout the day your brain accumulates toxins – these toxins are a reason why we experience fatigue and difficulties to focus after some time of performing work or studying. When we fall asleep our brain flushes them away and you basically get a reboot. Thus a 10-15 minute nap can genuinely restart your body and provide you with more energy than a cup of coffee.
Our brain consumes 10x more energy than other organs. In total it accounts for 30% of your energy consumption. If you can’t control your thoughts (anger, fantasizing etc.) you keep wasn’t energy. Practicing meditation means learning to observe what’s going on in your mind and gaining ability to stop it. Thus you gain more control over where you put your energy and focus.
This is a no-brainer, exercise can build your strength and increase your energy levels. So what’s the hack here? Most people fail to exercise daily, mostly because it takes time and effort. The best way to implement exercise into your everyday life is to make it a routine. To build a routine follow Tiny Habits Method developed by B.J. Fogg from Stanford, who studied behavioural change. The basic principle is that you start small and focus on consistency until it becomes a habit. For example when I started with daily exercise I wanted to do 150 pushups every morning. It takes a lot of motivation to convince yourself to do this right after you wake up. So instead, following tiny habits I started with 10 and focused on doing it daily. 2 years later I exercise daily, I lift, box and run – exercise comes as natural as brushing my teeth.
8. Zinc (or ZMA)
Zinc can be a very efficient supplement for especially men. A 2011 study from Finland showed that athletes supplementing Zinc had higher testosterone levels than placebo. Zinc plays an important part in testosterone production and testosterone affects energy, focus and quality of sleep. Other studies show that most men in western world are zinc deficient, so supplementing it can make a serious impact. ZMA is a zinc supplement used by athletes, bodybuilders and gymnasts due to it’s formula combining ideal ratio of zinc, magnesium and B6. However be careful and consult with your physician, as too much zinc can be toxic and lead to copper deficiency.
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