Picture this; perhaps you had a rotten night’s sleep or you’re fast approaching that mid-afternoon slump, either way, you’re in desperate need of an energy fix. Don’t reach for your favourite sugar-laden energy drink, check out my top 15 go to healthier options that are better for you in providing that much-needed energy boost.
All food, even junk food will give you energy, but there are some foods that are simply in a league of their own when you need your ‘A-game’ firing on all cylinders. So, try eating and in some cases drinking my personal trainer top 15 go to energy boosting favourites.
Yes, water is my number 1! Past studies have found that dehydration is the main culprit as to why we feel so tired all of the time or the reason we think we’re hungry enough to eat the entire contents of the fridge in a single sitting. So, the next time you’re feeling particularly sluggish or ravenously hungry, guzzle down some cool tap water or even your favourite fancy mineral water for that much needed energy boost. You can always add a little fruit squash for flavour if the thought of drinking only water bores you. Aim for 6-8 glasses each day!
Yogurt is a great source of high-quality protein to not only fill you up but provide basic energy for your brain. For me, the best part about yogurt is that it pairs well with pretty much everything. Add some granola, muesli, nuts, sliced banana or handful of blueberries to max up its flavour. My nearest and dearest often refers to me as ‘the yogurt monster’. There’s a good reason why this food features at the number 2 slot!
They’re the nation’s top breakfast food (as part of a full English) for a good reason! Eggs provide you with high-quality protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that combine to help you stay energised. And there are ways you can cook a healthier full English breakfast too, check this option out: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5820/the-ultimate-makeover-full-english-breakfast. Scrambled eggs on a slice of wholemeal bread toast is how I take this energy boosting, personal trainer power meal for lunch.
4. Whole Grain Cereal
In my humble personal trainer opinion, there’s nothing bland about whole grain cereal and I invariably start my day with a nice big bowl of the stuff, topped with some sliced banana. Eating this in the morning is a great way to pump up your energy levels. The high-fibre whole grain cereals slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream which translates to more consistent energy levels throughout your day.
Not only will beans keep you feeling full and satisfied, but they can also prevent you from feeling sluggish during the middle of your day. Protein helps keep blood sugar levels steady to keep you feeling energised, plus the complex carbohydrate provides energy for your body and brain.
Loaded with protein and vitamin B eating this type of fish can provide you with a great source of energy. I go for the canned in brine water variety which is a great option for weight loss too. Eating tuna for lunch can perk up your energy levels no end. Add a green salad and a hard-boiled egg for the perfect energy power lunch as is my personal trainer favourite dish!
We all know about eating your five-a-day fruit and veg. One of the easiest and cheapest foods for an instant pick-me-up at any point in your day is the banana. They contain glucose which provides a great energy boost to help you murder your high intensity interval training workout. This personal trainer has at least one of these a day!
Snacking on these powerful berries can help you beat that post-lunch slump. They’re low in sugar, but high in fibre, a powerful combination to keep your body running with energy. The best part is that you can throw them into pretty much anything: salads, yogurt, smoothies, or just enjoy them on their own. They also possess powerful antioxidant properties. Try them with some fat-free Greek yogurt and a little honey! My personal trainer favourite healthy dessert!
Known the world over for their high levels of vitamin C, oranges can make you feel less tired just two hours after eating them. A small glass of orange juice will do exactly the same job. As a personal trainer I couldn’t get through my busy week without a few oranges to keep me energised.
With their high abundance of vitamins and minerals, an apple is basically the poster child for healthy food. It’s made up of simple carbohydrates, which can offer a quick burst of fuel at any time of the day. I rarely leave my home without a few apples in my sports bag. This personal trainer always eats an apple (or two!) a day.
Most nuts like almonds, walnuts, brazil and cashews are brimming with trace nutrients, healthy fats, as well as being an excellent source of protein. Past studies have found that their nutrition content can help sustain energy levels. Plus, they’re easy to take wherever you go. Another staple food carried in my sports bag, great for a quick snack between personal training clients.
Honestly, there is nothing fishy about this entry in my top 15 list! Not only is salmon great for muscle development it’s also a rich source for omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which can help you maintain high energy levels during even your most hectic days. I make sure this, along with tuna steaks or smoked haddock features in my evening meals during the week. A staple personal trainer dinner!
13. Dark Chocolate
Of course, I’ve read that researchers found that eating dark chocolate increases both alertness and attentiveness. Sadly, their findings don’t give either you or me the green light to devour the entire large chocolate bar in one go (yeah, you got me banged to rights!). However, a small piece (do as I say and not as I do!) is just enough to get you going when you feel that you’re flagging. Remember to choose a dark chocolate with at least 70 per cent cocoa!
Early morning starts are part of my daily routine as a personal trainer. We all know that caffeine can provide a much-needed pick-me-up to get through a busy day and is a feature of how I start my day. But a study also found that drinking coffee before your workout can improve your ability to exercise. Men who drank about 2-3 cups of coffee found that they were able to complete more reps of bench presses and leg presses than workout days that were devoid of coffee.
Packed with more protein than any other grain and rich in amino acids quinoa is the perfect food for your midday energy boost. It’s high in folate, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese, making it a nutrient-packed source of carbohydrates for long-lasting energy levels. I admit this is a fairly new addition to my diet, and I’m continuing to experiment to adding flavour to liven it up. A new addition to my personal trainer diet.
As an older personal trainer these go to foods keep my energy levels up day in, day out as I travel tirelessly across Brighton and Hove to train my clients in their home, office, or out doors in one of the many exhilarating parks and sea front locations. So, the next time you feel like you’re running of energy, try these energising foods to boost your energy levels.
Resources for Healthy Eating
The Eatwell Guide
- The Eatwell Guide shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.
The British Nutrition Foundation
- Provides impartial, evidence-based information on food and nutrition.
Age UK Healthy Eating
- Eating a healthy diet shouldn’t be difficult or expensive. Read Age UK’s information and advice on how to eat a healthy diet.
Caution: Food Allergies I’m among one of the lucky ones, a personal trainer who can eat pretty much anything without suffering any unpleasant allergic reactions. Dairy products, cereals and nuts don’t pose any problem to my health. While these are my top 15 energy foods and drinks, they may not be suitable for everyone. Always read the food label!