Low energy + focus issues: How to naturally boost your energy levels

afitmess
March 23, 2017
A Fit Mess

Hey there. How’s it going today? Happy almost-Friday-almost-the-weekend. I hope you are doing well.

 

I’m not sure what it is, but lately I have been feeling out of sorts. Maybe it’s adjusting to Daylight Savings, maybe it’s work, or maybe I’m just feeling worn out (seriously, vacation can’t come soon enough!). Whatever the reasons, I’ve been feeling low—both mentally and physically—and that’s just not me.

 

I don’t know about you, but when I feel my energy and mood drop I tend to reach for two things: coffee and sugar. And while I’m a big (BIG) fan of coffee, I find that if I have more than three cups per day I get the shakes and have trouble sleeping at night. And I’m sure I’m alone in my habit of reaching for M&Ms and trail mix when I start feeling a bit blah. That temporary sugar high inevitably leaves me feeling crappy and low.

 

In order to combat some of the sluggishness I’ve been feeling lately I’ve rounded up a list of all the natural ways I like to boost my energy levels. These may be especially helpful if you work in an office setting (cube-dweller right here!) and often find yourself in the mid-afternoon funk. I hope you find these beneficial, friends!

A Fit Mess

 

Citrus and peppermint

Citrus is great for revitalizing energy. I keep a small bottle of sweet orange essential oil on my desk and put a few drops on my wrists when I need a quick pick-me-up. You can also rub it between your hands (the heat releases the oil) and take a few deep breaths. It’s a bright and fresh scent that really gives me some extra energy. I also love this Tuscan Blood Orange body lotion by Pacifica.

Peppermint can also be used to recharge and can be found in items like oils, diffusers, candles.

 

Rosewater spray 

One of my favorite ways to wake-up is with this Nourishing Rosewater Mist by Beautycounter. It’s light, refreshing and just delightful. I spray it a few times over my face whenever I need a little energy or want to boost my complexion. I especially love to use it after the work day or when I’m travelling and have been stuck in an airplane or car. It smells amazing, too.

 

Green tea

Green tea is a great alternative to coffee. I’ve been sipping on this honey lemon ginseng one by Celestial Seasonings and it’s by FAR my favorite. I do not consider myself a tea person by any stretch of the word, but I make an exception with this one because it’s very mild and slightly sweet. Green tea contains a small amount of caffeine as well as other health benefits (such as increased metabolism and better body composition). I enjoy a cup at my desk a few times per week.

 

Get outside

If you’ve hit that mid-day energy slump, get up from your desk and head outside. Even a 10 minute walk around your office building (or neighborhood) will do your body some good. The sun is a natural energy booster. On top of that, fresh air and a change of scenery are extremely beneficial. If I’m facing a mental block or need to generate some ideas, taking a short stroll always get my creative juices flowing.

Drink water!

One of the biggest causes of feeling sluggish is often dehydration. This feeling is typically accompanied by a headache, muscle tension, and mental fog. It’s hard to remember to drink water (I struggle with this myself), but keeping a water bottle on you at all times is a simple way to remember to drink up. Plus, there are about a million other reasons to drink more water.

 

Talk to someone

Usually a quick call to my sister or a friend will bring me back up to normalcy. If my energy is low at work then I’ll take a walk around the office and chat with a few colleagues. The simple act of engaging in a conversation with another person is a great way to get my spirits up. Most of my conversations include a bit of laughter (what can I say, I love humor!) so I really enjoy connecting with others.

 

Break a sweat

Getting a quick workout in recharges my battery like nothing else. Breaking a sweat, lifting heavy things, even just stretching is an excellent way to bring energy levels back up and set you on the right path. Of course, it may take some extra motivation to get you out the door, but when I’m feeling low I tell myself to just run for 20 minutes or stretch for 10 minutes. Often I end up doing more because once I’ve started to move I feel better and keep going.

Need some quick workout ideas? Check out my Workouts page.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for reading!

 

 

Leave a Reply

5 ingredient protein pancake (gluten and dairy free)

afitmess
March 21, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’ve been enjoying protein pancakes quite a bit lately. Today I’m sharing my favorite way to prepare a simple and tasty breakfast that’s packed with protein and healthy fats plus just the right amount of sweet!

 

This five ingredient pancake it easy to whip up (especially if you haven’t been to the grocery store) and is a great way to start your day or refuel after a workout. You may also like that it’s gluten and dairy free and low in sugar. I’ve included the nutrition breakdown below in case that’s helpful. I hope you enjoy it!

 

A Fit Mess

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin
  • 1.5 tablespoon of vanilla protein powder (I use SunWarrior)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • cinnamon (a few shakes)
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup

 

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Coat a medium-sized skillet with non-stick spray (or coconut oil) and place over medium heat.
  3. Pour batter into the skillet and cook for approximately 2 minutes per side (watch so that it does not burn).
  4. Top with nut butter and fruit or whatever else you’d enjoy.

 

A Fit Mess

 

Nutrition breakdown (without sweetner):

190 calories (26 grams of protein / 6  grams of fat / 5 grams of carbohydrates)

 

Leave a Reply

Last week’s workouts + CrossFit update

afitmess
March 20, 2017

Hello there. Did your weekend go well? Whatever you did, I hope you enjoyed yourself. My workouts were on point this week. I had five days of hard training and two days of complete rest. On Tuesday, I kind of tweaked a muscle in my hamstring (ugh…lazily putting my sneakers on!) and so I took an unplanned rest day and was cautious while running in Orangetheory on Wednesday. I included a lot of foam rolling, rolling on a tennis ball, and stretching. It feels A LOT better now and I’m just glad I didn’t push it and make it worse.

 

So here’s a rundown of last week’s workouts and my thoughts on CrossFit so far. As always, I’d love to know what your workouts looked like, what kind of fitness groove you are in (or not) and what’s going on with you in general.

Last week’s workouts

 

Monday 

CrossFit SS

WOD

1) 2 back squats EMOM for 10 minutes (I used 95#)

2) 4 rounds for reps:

  • 30 ME power cleans 55#
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds wall balls
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds burpees
  • 30 seconds rest

 

Total work time = 22 minutes

 

Tuesday

REST

*I planned to do a quick upper body workout, but my hamstring was not feeling great so I just rested. I spent a lot of time stretching out my hips and hamstrings which seemed to help a lot.

 

Wednesday 

Orangetheory – Power Day (10 minuts of 30 second sprints)

 

Thursday 

CrossFit SS

WOD

1) 4 rounds for reps:

  • 1 minute strict pull ups (my best count in 1 minute was 7 pull ups)
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 1 minute L-sit holds (best unbroken time was 30 seconds)
  • 30 seconds rest
  • 1 minute double unders

 

2) 15 minute AMRAP

  • 20 hand-release push ups
  • 100 meter right arm kettlebell front rack carry (30# KB)
  • 20 kettlebell swings
  • 100 meter left arm kettlebell front rack carry

 

I completed almost 3 rounds

 

Friday

REST

 

Saturday 

Orangetheory

 

Sunday 

Orangetheory

Thoughts on CrossFit

I’m going on my second month of CrossFit and I’m definitely enjoying it. I still get a bit nervous before class, especially if we’re doing a movement that is new to me or one that is particularly challenging (I’m looking at you, snatches!). But each time I get to the box, I’m greeted with warm smiles, friendly people, and laughter which all help me relax. There are usually at least two coaches nearby to watch your form, answer questions, and offer suggestions. I always learn something new or a tip in each class.

 

The membership I initially signed up for includes two classes per week. I’m sure I could attend additional classes for a small fee, but I haven’t looked into that yet. I do think it might be more effective to attend at least three classes per week in order to pick up the movements quicker and get more out of the program, but I’m still debating on whether I want to put even more money into gyms/exercise at this point. It adds up fast!

 

If you are considering trying CrossFit then I would encourage you to check it out. It seems intimidating at first, but once you get out of your own head you see that CrossFit is for all abilities and fitness levels. I would also recommend moving slowly and cautiously at first. If you start to focus on your time, your weight, and intensity too soon then you might not learn the movement properly and you could end up hurting yourself. Slow it down and work on actually performing the movement the right way before adding speed and power.

 

Anyone have some especially good workouts last week? Any seasoned CrossFitters have some advice on starting CF?

 

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Friday faves 23 (on a Sunday)

afitmess
March 19, 2017

Hey, hey! Happy weekend to YOU! I know I’m late getting my Fridays Faves posted. It’s been a busy week. We can just go ahead and pretend today is Friday (wouldn’t that be lovely?) or you can accept my tardiness. Anywho, I have some fun things to share in this post. I would love to hear what you are enjoying these days.

 

Friday (errr…Sunday) faves 23

 

Larabar bites mint chocolate truffle – Oh my word, these are delicious! I cannot stop snacking on them. They definitely satisfy my sweet tooth.

Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars – the chocolate chip cookie dough ones are my favorite!

A Fit Mess

Did you know that wine now comes in cans? Union Wine Co. sells cans of its Underwood wine in select local stores. I have not tried these yet, but I am super curious. Anyone have these?

My new glasses – I’ve decided I like them (even if I had a bad experience buying them). You can’t really see it, but there is a faint green on the inside and arms.

Vanilla almond overnight oats – I’ve had this almost every day this week. Soooo good.

ThredUP – Shopping just got easier (and cheaper!). ThredUp carries secondhand clothes that look like new. I’ve had such a great time buying and selling with ThredUP. And I love that they show you how much you’ve saved in each shopping trip!

Survival and Cross jump rope – Double unders may end up being the death of me. They take sooooo much coordination and I get frustrated when I can’t do them. I manage to string a few together, but I think I just need to practice them more. I’m going to buy this jump rope to try to work on it outside of CrossFit. Anyone have any good tips to share?

 

Great Lakes collagen – I’ve been enjoying this in my coffee each morning. It’s nearly tasteless and is a great way to increase joint health and up your protein intake.

From around the web:

This visual coffee guide so you always know what to order. Love.

Three cheers for almond flour (these recipes look divine).

I love this total body med ball workout!

I will be making this next week for dinner.

 

Enjoy your Sunday! 

 

2 Comments

Leave a Reply