Ready to get serious about your health but don't like strict rules and guidelines, or too much thinking and planning? It’s your lucky day! Our fitness expert Libby Babet shares her secrets.
Here are my 5 top tips for boosting energy and another cheeky 5 tips for blasting fat – no calorie counting, planning, or measuring required!
5 WAYS TO BOOST ENERGY
- Reduce caffeine… why? Because you’re effectively stealing tomorrow’s energy to use today. Steal too often and it’ll catch up with you eventually! So don’t sip more than your fair share of the black stuff and if you’re a regular offender, try going cold turkey for a while (7 days is a good starting point). It may hurt at first, but within a week you’ll notice those afternoon slumps just aren’t part of your life anymore. Chances are you’ll find it easier to wake up naturally in the mornings too
- Take regular breaks at work. The active kind. Every 90 minutes, get up, walk around, do a little myofascial stretching, or a few yoga flow sequences, maybe even just grab a cup of tea. Your body is effectively a pump system and if you sit still for too long, things start getting clogged up. Move to get the blood flowing, to keep your connective tissue hydrated and to flood your muscles and brain with fresh nutrients.
- Don’t eat only carbohydrates for breakfast. This increases serotonin synthesis and can lead to fatigue, lethargy and relaxation too early in your day. Counteract this effect by eating solely protein and a little good quality fats for breakfast, or a mix of complex carbohydrates, protein and fats. Nope, cereal and milk is NOT what we mean! Try scrambled eggs with greens, nuts and seeds with a little greek yoghurt, or a few boiled eggs with avocado, drizzled with olive oil. Yum!
- Feeling stressed and exhausted? Take 10 minutes out to make a plan, because one of the biggest energy drainers is feeling like you’re so busy that you’re out of control. Constant feelings of stress get those adrenal glands firing and can leave you feeling burnt out pretty quickly. Overworked adrenals can also lead to weight gain and moodiness. You’ll feel a million times calmer when you can get all those balls you’re juggling out of your mind and on to a piece of paper, or better yet planned in your diary. Once it’s planned, you can stop worrying about it until your plan says it’s time to get it done. Bonus hint: add 5-10 minutes of meditation, or just ‘sit quietly and breathe deeply’ time to that plan.
- Do a handstand, shoulder stand, or downward dog. This floods your brain with fresh blood and gives you a little wake-up call. One of my favourite tricks – and it looks even better in a suit.
5 FAT BLASTING TIPS
These are the ones you’re really interested in, right? Let’s get on with it then!
- Limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks per week for a month or two. That’s one on Friday night, one on Saturday and plenty of water in between. Better yet, just shelf the booze completely for a bit. Alcohol literally switches off fat burning while it’s in your body, so just about everything you eat after a glass of your favourite red goes into storage. And if you’re having a few glasses every night, you’re storing extra calories as fat every, single, night. Stop indulging and you’ll turn into a fat burning machine! Worth it to get back on track? Yep.
- Avoid sugar wherever possible. Your body burns sugar fast and stores it fast too, which is why you go a bit hyper when you eat it, then come crashing down. To pick you back up again, your body sends out signals of hunger and cravings, encouraging you to hunt for another quick energy boost. Not only is your energy now on a rollercoaster, your body will be storing fat all day long. No thanks.
- Eat fat to fry fat. Not too much, just a little at each meal. A few nuts with your breakfast, avocado at lunch, coconut oil and cacao stirred into a paste for a pick-me-up snack, oily fish or grass-fed beef/lamb with dinner. The presence of healthy fats in your diet encourages your body to shift the stored fat you’re carrying, while also keeping your energy levels and appetite stable. A lean body, all thanks to eating a fat? You betcha! Just don’t eat those fats on TOP of loads of carbs. Bad move. Go for protein and salad/veggies instead.
- Do a short cardio session after your weights workouts. After a 30-minute weights session, your body is primed to burn fat, so take advantage of that with 5 to 15 minutes of cardio or metabolic conditioning. Sprints, burpees, plyometrics, skipping, even a cheeky jog ‘round the block will do the trick, particularly if you sprint the final stretch home.
- This last one is an advanced tip for those who have no serious health issues on the table, so proceed with caution! Try leaving a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, on most days. This tip works even better if you can squeeze a cardio, circuit, or yoga-style workout in before you break your fast in the morning. It doesn’t matter how you incorporate the fast – whether you finish eating at 7pm and have breakfast sometime after 7am the next morning, or wrap up a late night feast at 11pm and hold off eating again until 11am, it still works incredibly well either way. Once you’re comfortable with this routine, try increasing your fast period once or twice a week, to between 14-16 hours. Drink plenty of fresh water and herbal teas during this period to flush your body out and help your body burn fat.
BONUS TIP: If you have dodgy digestion, that one little factor alone could be holding you back from seeing results. Your gut health affects your immune system, hormones, the inflammation levels in your body and of course, your appetite response and fat storage pathways. Seek out a good doctor who’s passionate about digestive health as a starting point and ask them to test your good and bad gut bacteria balance, test for parasites and do a general check-up.