How Can You Raise Energy Levels To Their Highest?

How can you raise energy levels to their highest? Find out what other people from the message boards think...


TOPIC: How Can You Raise Energy Levels To Their Highest?

The Question:

You may be lethargic, or you may just need a push, and that push will come from increased energy. There is nothing like being energetic for a workout. That energy rush really enhances your workouts.

How can you raise energy levels to their highest?

What types of specific foods and diet plan are good for an overall increase in energy?

What supplements are best for increasing energy pre-workout?

What kind of impact will this have on your performance?

Bonus Question: How do you think legal products on the market compare to the banned stimulants (ex. ephedrine, amphetamine)?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.


1st Place - perldog007
What Was Thought To Be Safe Yesterday Is Banned Today.

People much older than myself remember when Coca Cola contained cocaine. A whole rack of people probably had enhanced energy levels back then. Napoleon Hill, author of "Think and Grow Rich" proposed to Mrs. Hill over a glass of Coke.1 Was Dr. Hill feeling the rush?

Before stricter testing, cocaine use was rampant in sports of all kinds.

Anybody who has been around juiced athletes knows about the energy enhancing effects of anabolic steroids and compounds like clenbuterol and [synthol (first known as synthrol)]. There can be no doubt that these units are operating on a different level.

"B*tch set me up" lamented Mayor Barry of Washington D.C. as he was arrested for cocaine possession on January 18, 1990.2 A colleague of mine worked as a prison guard. The man saw more than one convicted steroid user become the wife of a hardened criminal.

Whether they make you one or introduce you to one, illegal drugs can be a b*tch. Even if you don't get busted there can be other consequences. Whatever goes up must come down, and there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

The damage to your liver and other organs will quietly go on the tab. When the bill comes due you better hope you don't end up paying with your life.

For me the true path is getting the most energy with the least negative side effects. With that stated goal, let's look at three main areas.

1. Holistic Energizers.

  • Getting adequate rest and exercise.
  • Proper nutrition.
  • Internal hygiene.
  • External hygiene.
  • Adequate Hydration.
  • Mental preparation.
  • Spiritual work.

2. Natural Energizers.

3. Nutritional Supplements.


Holistic Energizers


Getting Adequate Rest, Exercise & Nutrition:

    Starting with holistic energizers; common sense is the foundation for higher energy. If you are not taking care of yourself supplements and/or harsher compounds will be of limited value.

    By getting proper exercise, rest and nutrition the body will be naturally energized.


Internal Hygiene & Hydration:

    Internal hygiene and proper hydration go hand in hand. If your body does not eliminate waste in an efficient manner your energy levels will sink. Even a slight amount of dehydration can negatively impact performance and elimination.


External Hygiene & Mental Work:

    Attending to your external hygiene keeps you feeling good and contributes to overall health. This ties in with your mental work. Focusing on your goals and visualizing what you want to do can help your brain support the body. The mind controls the body. Writing down goals and reciting them will train your subconscious mind.

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Spiritual Work:

    Does spirituality have anything to do with enhanced energy and performance?

    Recently on "The Ultimate Fighter 2" we saw oddball tough guy Luke Cummo pull his mattress on the floor so his head was pointed to the north. Luke had strange meditation practices and a pentagram on his gi. He came very close to winning it all and beat out other fighters who were favored by the experts.

    Darrell Green of the Washington Redskins is a legend. One of the most durable football heroes in history Darrell was known to be a man of faith. Mr. Green prayed before and after every game.

    Did these men raise their energy levels with their spiritual practices? I am of the opinion that it didn't hurt. Whatever your belief system is, are you using it to help you reach your bodybuilding goals? Why not?


Natural Energizers

Chances are, if you have addressed the above issues, your energy level is going to be good. Sensibly adding natural stimulants at this point will provide more energy.

Sensibly means doing what works for you. Respect your individuality. If one serving of green tea revs you up, go with that. Your tolerance for caffeine is probably lower than the office coffee hound. Yohimbe gives me a nice burst of energy. Your mileage may vary.


Nutritional Supplements

Okay, I've gotten my rest and exercise, drank my water, my diet is right, I have attended to my hygiene. Mental and spiritual work are under control. Now what?

I am going to make sure that my supplementation supports what I am trying to do. A good multi-vitamin ensures a solid foundation. A body that is deficient of nutrients cannot make the best use of any supplements.

How is my ATP? How about arginine or another NO booster? My circulation? Anything I can do to make my body produce more testosterone is worth considering.

If the proper foundation has been laid, adding a legal stimulant at this point will provide the maximum benefit. Our energy levels will be at their peak.

You can get a temporary edge by going a little deeper into the wonderful world of better living through chemicals. My position is that the potential downside outweighs the benefits.


Diet Plan:
What Types Of Specific Foods And Diet Plan Are Good For An Overall Increase In Energy?

A variety of foods are needed for optimal health and energy. Carbohydrates are the most common form of energy used by the body. Fats can also be burned for energy and are critical in many energy related functions like testosterone production. Proteins are needed to keep the systems that produce and use energy intact. Fibrous carbohydrates, easily obtained by eating your veggies, help elimination.

Some Specific Foods Are:

  • Seasonal Fresh Fruits
  • Oatmeal
  • Yams
  • Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Carrots
  • Raw & Cooked Tomatoes
  • Fish
  • Lean Red Meat
  • Eggs
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Brown Rice


Micronutrients:

    A discussion of micronutrients useful for enhanced energy could fill a library. Vitamin B-12 is sometimes taken in injectable form for an energy boost. I am a fan of more inclusive approaches, like diverse foods to get a spectrum of phytochemicals and micronutrients.

    Refined carbohydrates are universally thought to raise energy levels for short periods and then cause a crash. Years ago my dad told me that his college swim team coach endorsed eating three candy bars and an orange right before a race. The long term effects of using refined carbs could outweigh the short term benefits.

    The human body responds to change. A person who had been in caloric deficit for a period of time will feel energized by overeating. An overfed subject can be energized by underfeeding or even fasting.

    Two main schools of thought are:

    1. Small constant feedings.

    2. Under eating during the day and feasting at night.

    Experimenting will let you know which works best for you.

    To have the highest levels of energy eat from the whole spectrum of foods and cycle your caloric intake to keep your metabolism fast, your bodyfat low and your energy up.


Pre-Workout Supplements:
What Supplements Are Best For Increasing Energy Pre-Workout?

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For hard-core bodybuilders and strength athletes, nothing beats Animal Pak for maximizing gains in muscle mass, strength and performance.

First, a quality multi-vitamin. Animal Pak is very popular. Circulation can be helped with ginkgo biloba. Glutamine taken before bed helps your recovery and is essential to your energy pool. A testosterone enhancer like tribulus is good.

With that kind of a solid foundation, creatine, arginine or another NO booster, and synephrine, possible some caffeine before your workout will ice the cake.

Endocre3 tastes great and is easier on the gut than many creatine formulas. Animal Stak2 is a popular NO booster. Nutrex Lipo 6 is a great fat burning stimulant.

One way to do this is to take the creatine 45 minutes before workout, the N.O. booster 30 minutes out, and the stimulant fifteen minutes out. A complete idiot like myself will probably wash down the stimulant with a cup of coffee.

SAFETY ADVISORY:
Check with your doctor before being an idiot. This idiot has perfect blood pressure and a low resting heart rate that I check daily. Young athletes drop dead on the field every year. Everybody needs to get cleared before starting an exercise, diet, or supplementation regimen!


Impact:
What Kind Of Impact Will This Have On Your Performance?

    You will be able to work out harder and longer. You will lift more weight with greater intensity. Your recovery will be enhanced. You will burn more fat and build more muscle.


Bonus Question:
How Do You Think Legal Products On The Market Compare To The Banned Stimulants (Ex. Ephedrine, Amphetamine)?

Today's legal products don't compare favorably as stimulants to the banned stuff of days gone by. Anybody remember Ultimate Orange?. The banned products got that way by being powerful drugs with serious side effects. The new products generally have a lower risk of negative side effects. This is why I am apt to reach for the Nutrex Lipo 6 when I can get my hands on ephedrine.

In the short term, the outlaw stimulants will give you a boost like nothing else. In the long run the boost is temporary and the side effects can be forever.

Thank you for reading. Wishing you abundant energy to achieve your goals!

References

  1. "Think & Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill
  2. "Jurors View Videotape of Barry Drug Arrest" by Tracy Thompson and Elsa Walsh, Washington Post Staff Writers


2nd Place - bigcalves
How Can You Raise Energy Levels To Their Highest?

We all need energy to perform daily activities. Look around and you'll see that the world is run by energy. People walking around, animals in the park and cars and machines at work. Every movement requires energy. So what is it? Well, we won't go into how cars use gas for energy, or the famous e=mc2 equation.

We will look at how humans metabolize energy, and once we understand that we will be able to apply the factors that work for us, and especially apply them during workouts or stressful periods. Humans metabolize food, and convert it to energy, but there are other things that can influence that also.

Different activities done throughout the day will influence your energy level and how it's being delivered to the body based on what you did. Also there are supplements that simulate certain factors in us that makes the body work harder in metabolization and in result giving you energy. Sure it's not a magical pill, but indeed, it works.

Although energy is always in the body, it's very mental. You can easily get pumped by watching a certain movie, or re-thinking certain thoughts. In that case, your body hasn't changed, but your thinking, or should I say mentality is totally different. You see things differently around you and respond differently to things happening.

With supplemental aids, this can make the effect even more effective, and that's why supplementing works, but you also have to condition your mind to stay active and be alert for what you are about to do. In this article I will talk on ways to increase your energy, in order to have a perfect workout and push yourself to the max.


Diet

How can you raise energy levels to their highest? Well, by eating food! When you eat, your body splits up the three main parts. Protein, fats and carbohydrates. Each part is dissolved and digested differently. We won't talk about that in detail, but it's very important to understand that by doing so, your body metabolizes energy and 'pumps up' your cells for action.

So if you don't eat enough food, and by food I mean good food, you won't have high energy levels. Think of bodybuilders getting ready for a contest, sure they look good, but their diet is awfully restricted and so is their energy. They barely get through their cardio and training sessions.

The reason behind that is the food factor. If they don't eat enough food, their cells are not that full, and that way the body slows down the whole process to preserve food, which is smart, but it really effects your energy level and how fast you get tired out. Also eating bad food might also do it. By bad, I mean food loaded with saturated fat and sodium.

A perfect example is fast food; the reason behind that is the way it's metabolized and how much it takes from your body. Not to even mention the fact that it has no vitamins and minerals in it.

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So if you want to get the best out of your food and energy levels, eat healthy meals full with protein and complex carbs such as rice and pasta. Also avoid food high in saturated fats and sodium.

  • Eat often to keep metabolism going.

  • Avoid high saturated/sodium foods.

  • Eat protein and complex carbs for most meals.

  • Keep it lean, and as for fats; olive oil and nuts are perfect.

  • Don't skip meals, or eat too much at one meal.

Like I said, diet is very important. I don't think there are any specific diet plans but you always have to keep eating. Quality over quantity. Because a potato that's around 150 calories is better than French fries that have 250 calories. You get the drift. Keep it clean and lean.

As much complex carbs, and as much as veggies as possible. Lean sources of protein are a must and you can also supplement with protein shakes. For fats, always have olive oil handy to put in salads, or nuts that you can eat during TV time.


Supplements For Energy

So you ate all your meals, and you still feel tired? Well, in this case I would suggest supplementation for that extra boost in the gym. Although there are tons of supplements promising the best energy ever, let's keep it basic. Always look at the main ingredient. That's the thing in the product that will make you or break you.

Think of it as a compound movement. Sure it works other muscles, but at the end, a big part is worked by a specific muscle. If a product has tons of small Vitamin B portions and one big chunk of caffeine, don't think about what will give you the energy. That way you can know what works for you, and where you can find it.

Keep it simple, it's not a magical pill from the magical tree in a magical forest. Just look for what works for you and then you can use that for a boost. We'll take a look at the 3 most popular supplements (or should I say substances) that will help you with that extra boost.


Caffeine:

    You guessed it. From coffee, to soda drinks to just plain pill form, caffeine is pretty popular in today's society. From athletes to stressed out office workers, people use caffeine.

    Most people don't understand how caffeine works, but they still use it. For our goal of creating a boost, caffeine is the cheapest and most effective way to do that.

    It stimulates the central nervous system and makes the body work hard. It leaves it in that 'fight or flight' stage where you adrenal glands are making adrenaline and your heart is beating fast.

    The Central Nervous System.
    The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.

    This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.

    The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.

    Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.

    With caffeine you can make a great boost by taking 100-300 mg before a workout. Make sure it's before 2PM if you want to have a good sleep.

CAFFEINE INTAKE CALCULATOR

To find out your daily caffeine intake 41 (in milligrams), fill in how many servings you consume per day for each of these items:


Creatine:

    Although creatine doesn't give you that rush a lot of people are looking for, it indeed effects your energy in the gym. Creatine makes ATP richer.

    In other words, ATP is the electrical system in your cells that gives you energy. With creatine, it makes that system stronger and more enhanced thus giving you energy for short term moments (lifting weights duh).

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    That way you will be able to squeeze in another rep and in return tear up more muscle fibers and make your gains and energy levels maximize.

    5-10 grams before a workout is sufficient.


Green Tea/Vitamins:

Yes, green tea has caffeine in it. But it also has many other compounds that give you an extra edge. By doing so you can mix caffeine with other vitamins and herbs for an effective boost.

Try taking green tea with a multi-vitamin, I guarantee you that you will see better effects with the multi-vitamins. Your body will be able to synthesize all the caffeine, B and C vitamins to produce the maximum energy output for your cells and in return a great workout!



Other Factors


Taking A Walk/Cardio:

    So you want energy? Try taking a walk or doing some laps when you wake up. That way you will speed up your metabolism and really give yourself energy.

    Since your body is all tired and sleepy, once you shock it early in the morning you will have great energy throughout the day. Eat your small meals, and your metabolism will really get going and that will get you going in the gym and through out your whole day.


Nap:

    Sometimes we don't have energy simply because we are tired. Instead of trying to take supplements and stimulants your body might just need a simple nap. Like a 15-30 minute nap or even sitting on a bench catching those sun rays.

    That can really energize you and give you high energy for the rest of the day and that workout later in the afternoon. Just make sure you don't nap too much that you destroy your sleeping cycle because that will get you tired the next day.


Yoga/Stretching:

    Sometimes you are stressed out mentally, and before you go to lift you can always spend 20-40 minutes stretching or doing yoga. Sure that's a lot of time, but it won't get you tired when it comes time to lifting. Just don't perform anything drastic, but nice slow movements.

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    Don't strain too much, just think of it as a relaxation technique and that way you won't feel tired at the end but actually energized for your workout. Sure not everyone has that much time to spare on stretching, but try it and you might really notice the difference.


Master Your Your Energy Cycle:

    By doing these techniques you will master your own body's energy cycle. Sure not everyone is the same and not everyone will respond to the same thing but people generally have the same sources of energy.

    Just make sure to eat tons of food throughout the day, not stress yourself mentally and physically and that way you should be able to counter the effects of feeling tired when you haven't done anything.

    Avoid depressants and relaxants like cigarettes and other drugs because they can really get you down. Remember that you will always have times of low energy and when that happens, take the day off and relax.

    That way you will be prepared for the workout in the next day. Either lift heavy and give all you have or go home. By not giving everything in your workout you are just wasting time.


Bonus Question:
How Do You Think Legal Products On The Market Compare To The Banned Stimulants (Ex. Ephedrine, Amphetamine)?

If you think legal products out now are the same as the banned stimulants you are lying to yourself. If you have ever tried ephedrine you will know what I'm talking about. Legal products now make the nervous system work harder and also act as a diuretic. As for ephedrine, it's a chemical that makes your adrenal glands release adrenaline. It gives you that fight or flight reaction for a good 4-6 hours.

During that time your metabolism is going crazy and your hormones in your body are jumping up and down. They are not always safe as they tend to dehydrate. Also people that know how to use them never have side effects. But people that just pop them in because some friend gave them some; those are the ones you should worry about.

These stimulants can be very dangerous and cause death. If you take too much, or don't drink water, eat and do too much physical activity, you could be asking for trouble. As for legal products now, I think that they are the safest because they offer good results without the dangerous side effects.

Sure anything taken too much of might be dangerous, but the danger factor decreases drastically. I would only recommend banned stimulants to advanced veterans that have been working out for 10 years or over.

Good Luck!


3rd Place - blackenedskies
Energy, What Is It?

Well, we all know what energy is. That adrenaline rush right before a really heavy set of squats. The feeling when you scream after doing an awesome set of deadlifts, and you scream accidentally of course... as a sort of victory cry.

Then the woman with those really tight workout pants on gives you a strange look. But how can one increase this feeling? How can one "make" this feeling come when you're tired, or just worn out?


Regular Diet

One of the largest overall factors in increasing your energy is diet. Your body runs on whatever you feed it. You get out of it what you put in.

A big step to increasing your overall energy throughout the day, is to make sure your carbohydrate intake is up to par with your other areas of food intake, and up to par with your body's specific needs.

A carbohydrate or "carb" is a form of caloric energy, and is one of the three types of calorie sources. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates are most easily converted into glucose, which your body uses for energy. Glucose is stored in the muscles where it is used the most. And all we care about is the muscles, right?

On average, the number of carbohydrates needed for overall energy throughout the day is about two-times your bodyweights number in grams of complex carbs. An example would be:

100lb. man = 200 carbs.

CARB NEEDS CALCULATOR

Enter your body weight (in pounds or kilograms) and press "Calculate".

Now, I'm not suggesting that this number is right for everyone; you will probably have to play this by ear. Two-times your bodyweight is a good starting point. You may have to adjust up or down until you feel comfortable with calories, food intake, and energy.


What Carbohydrates Should I Take in?

    The carbs bodybuilders and powerlifters want most are complex carbs. The body does take a longer period of time to digest these complex carbs than it does to digest simple carbs. What's the difference? Well complex carbs are found more in whole wheat, and healthy starches. These carbs provide a longer much more stable source of energy.

    The carbs we do not want, most of the time, are simple carbs. There are always exceptions to the rule, but we'll get to that later.

    Simple carbohydrates provide more of an intense burst of energy, and then a burnout or crash. Like a sugar high... and a sugar crash. These carbs are found in any given type of high sugar product (i.e. ice cream, chocolate etc). However, natural simple carbs can be of use in certain situations. They can be vital to a pre-workout meal.

    A diet rich in complex carbohydrates is always a step in the right direction for muscle gain and fat loss. The simple carbohydrates contain more calories and have no real nutritional value. So complex is good, and simple is mostly bad. Easy enough?


Other Areas Of Diet:
What Other Areas Of My Diet Should I Keep An Eye On?

Other important areas of your diet are the protein and fat ratios to your carbohydrates.


Protein:

    The body usually uses around one to one and one-half grams of protein per pound of bodyweight efficiently. Some people get great results by taking up to two grams per pound of bodyweight.

    These same people have been known to take up to three grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight. A good way to make sure you get a good amount is through supplementation.


Fats:

    Going against the public's beliefs, not all fats are bad. We should keep dietary fats to a minimum however no more than 25% of your daily calories should come from fat.

    We can get our good fats from 100% natural peanut butter, a variety of nuts, fish, and fish oil capsules.


Maximizing Energy For Your Workout

Maxing out your internal engine for your workout is not as hard as it may seem. There are only a few things that need to be kept in line:

  1. Your diet needs to be kept in check. Your body needs to run on good fuel.

  2. Adequate sleep is a must. Contrary to popular belief, you are not the energizer bunny.

  3. Supplementation. This is optional, but if you really want to get your engine revving, it's a must.

  4. Pre-workout meal. This is extremely critical to your high energy workout's success. Try something with naturally occurring simple carbs, and some complex ones too. Such as two slices of whole wheat bread with jelly in between. Or some milk and a small serving of whole-wheat pasta.


Pre-Workout Supplements:
What Supplements Are Best For Pre-workout?

Well, one of the best supplements out there is food. A pre-workout meal is one of the best things you can do.

But what can REALLY get you going full speed?


1. Caffeine Pills & Products:

Basic and cheap. They provide quite a kick when you really need one. In my personal experience 400-600 mg. seems to be a good dosage about thirty minutes pre-workout. Most energy products contain caffeine anyway, so why not supplement with it?


2. Herbal Energy Enhancers

    These tend to have a longer lasting, but less powerful effect than something such as caffeine. A good, commonly known example of one such product is Ginseng.


3. Endurance Supplements

    A lot of these are simple sports drinks such as Gatorade that replace electrolytes which in turn gives you more energy. Also carb gels are an example of and endurance supplement.


4. Creatine:

    A commonly known and extremely useful product, creatine is one of the main sources for an increase in muscular energy for your workouts. It will also support muscle growth.

    USUALLY, there are some creatine non-responders. For most of us however, creatine is a worthwhile choice and is very helpful in all aspects of training.


5. Other Products:

    There are some other products such as non-stimulant energy enhancers that can be found and used with some pretty good results. Also oxygen enhancers, and energy bars have been used with good results.


6. Multi-Vitamins

    A rock solid supplement to keep all your health in line. Your healthy, no deficiencies, and you're energized. Always cheap and a good thing to have.


Training Effects:
What Effects Might This Have On My Training & Performance?

Well, this will have an extremely positive effect on your performance in the weightroom, or in life in general. Changing the carbohydrate intake alone can make a huge difference.

The supplements can only make it that much better. But Remember, supplements don't mean anything without proper nutrition. So, try to keep your diet in line.

If your diets in line then you will undoubtedly have much more energy, add some supplements to the mix and you've got one heck of a beast to hold back.

Ultimately, who cares about increasing your energy? Well, the chain of events for energy are as follows.

Billy is having a normal day = Billy is slightly tired. Billy is going to the gym = Billy is going to work his muscles. Billy eats his pre-workout meal and takes some caffeine = Billy will be psyched. Billy adds 10 lbs instead of 5 this week on squats = Billy's thighs are bigger now.

Doesn't sound so bad? We all want more energy and focus in the weightroom. We all want to have a really good workout every time. These things can help with that.


Bonus Question:
How Do Legal Stimulants Compare To Illegal Ones?

The legal stimulants are definitely worth your buck. But how do they match up to the illegal scene?

The illegal stimulants definitely provide more of a bang, but the repercussions could be awful. Something such as an illegal form of Ephedra, which may have an extremely negative effect on your heart and nervous system even though it does have some amazing effects on weight loss and energy increase.

In my personal opinion, you should stick to energy enhancers that are legal, and safe. Pretty much anything available at Bodybuilding.com would be fine. Be sure to research, to the furthest extent, whatever it is you choose to take in.

Good luck!