Need energy? Get it here

November 16, 2012

With all the attention focused on the multi-billion dollar energy business, I think we need to keep things in a certain perspective. Many people, especially women, are constantly suffering from a lack of energy.

Fatigue can be caused by a number of different factors, but for many people, poor nutrition is to blame. Because food is the body's fuel, how well you're able to perform during the day may be directly related to what foods you fill up with during meal and snack time. When it comes to energy levels, foods and drinks that play the biggest role are carbohydrates, protein, and water.

Here's how to include them in your day:

Carbs for energy — Your body needs some carbs. Yes, you heard it right. Carbs!

A combination of complex and simple carbs is what to aim for to get maximum benefit. Complex carbs are slower to burn and include foods such as whole grains and starchy vegetables (squash, potatoes, carrots and pumpkin). Whole grains, which are higher in fiber, are what you need for sustained, long-lasting energy. Look for bread that contains two to three grams of fiber per slice.

For a healthy dose of simple carbs, stick with fresh, whole fruits.

Protein for stamina — While carbs supply energy, protein is responsible for releasing the energy.

Protein is also essential for cell growth, the transport of nutrients and hormones through the body, healthy muscles, and a properly working immune system.

Be sure to eat a source of protein at each meal, whether lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, eggs, soy, nuts or low-fat dairy.

 Water for refreshment — Essential to survival, water is also essential for energy.

When you consider that two-thirds of your body is made of water, you're reminded how important water is to health and wellness. Water helps to control your temperature, helps you digest food, lubricates your organs, and plays a major role in creating energy molecules.

If you're depleted of water, you probably feel depleted of energy. If you're dehydrated, you'll feel completely dragged out. Without enough water, your body will work overtime to re-hydrate itself instead of producing energy.

You don't need to down a pot of coffee or five cans of Red Bull to get wings. In fact, too much of these drinks can do more harm than good. Get your energy through proper eating, hard training and quality sleep, and you'll be able to kick the can to the curb.

Chad Smith is a Hagers-town personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to for more information.

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