So – what do I know about boosting our natural body energy? It all started after my first two years of university, when I decided to leave school to train and compete around the world as part of the Canadian Windsurfing Team. It was during these travels that I learned about the training practices of Olympic athletes and saw into the lives of many peak performers.
By Dr. Ian D.D. Brown Illustration: Dave Barnes
My first lesson emphasized how fundamental and important was rest. I was used to being on the go. Watching Olympic athletes I learned that they lounge around most of the day cooking healthy meals, taking naps, and relaxing until performance/training time. Then they’d spring into action and unleash the energy of a dedicated peak performer. It was much like watching a lion. If you’ve ever watched a lion on a typical day, you’d believe they’re the laziest creatures. When the time is right, however, they’re one of the world’s deadliest and most powerful performers.
After graduating university, I spent the next six years studying naturopathic medicine. Although the focus was not always on performance, I made it a point to learn as much as I could about it and what makes people perform at their best. My studies focused on physical health but I also realized the importance of the powers of the mind. In fact, when all performers reach a peak state of fitness, winning often comes down to a measure of who is best prepared mentally.
“When all performers reach a peak state of fitness, winning often comes down to a measure of who is best prepared mentally.”
Nothing gives you more energy than shuteye. Many studies show that around eight hours of sleep is optimal. Like the ancient Chinese physicians suggested, every hour of sleep before midnight is like two hours after midnight. So, go to bed early and wake up refreshed.
Eat food that is as fresh and vital as possible. Choose organic fruit and vegetables, and avoid processed or junk food. The temporary highs induced from sugary drinks will result in a quicker depletion of energy. A solid breakfast of foods like fruit, oatmeal, eggs, smoothies, or steamed greens will provide the sustained energy you need.
Magnesium and B Vitamins
Magnesium obtained from diet and supplements is important for over 300 different enzyme reactions in your body, including assisting ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for energy production, hormone mediation, and working with other nutrients. B vitamins are essential for energy production in every cell of your body. Take a sustained-release B complex in the morning. Should you need extra energy, consider B12 and folic acid.
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) increases mental and physical work capacity, strengthens the body’s immune response, and increases vitality. Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) reduces fatigue, and increases exercise capacity. Reishi (Ganoderma lucida) enhances immune function, strengthens nervous and digestive systems, and reduces fatigue.
Rest and Recovery
Have a nap. Take a short power walk. Try massage, acupuncture, and other therapies to balance your ch’i. All will help your body function optimally.
Mental preparations and meditation
Research continually supports the importance of mindfulness and meditation. It seems that the ancient sages of the East were really on the right path. In keeping with mental preparation, learning to tune into your breathing, and incorporating breathing techniques, can help your brain and body work together optimally.
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