I see so many people around me who are tired and low on energy almost every single day. They want to work hard and chase their ambitions, yet they don’t have the energy to go at it with impact and consistency. And that’s a real shame…
I used to be one of them, and I know how much of a struggle it is to feel tired while you actually want to go after your goals and dreams. That’s why I decided to write this article, as I want you to experience that feeling of aliveness and energy every single day, and no longer let tiredness be a limiting factor in your life anymore.
A few years ago, I would basically fall asleep on my daily commute from and to university. every single day. I would only start to feel awake somewhere after 11:00 (when I loaded up on enough coffee) and the first 2–3 hours of my day were spend in zombie-mode as I was practically still asleep. I had a hard time focusing, and trying to study for exams after 17:00 felt like an uphill battle against Mike Tyson in his prime. In other words, I wasn’t exactly performing at my full potential..
Then, one day, I simply decided I would no longer let the lack of energy be a limiting factor in my life anymore and I took matters into my own hands by studying peak performance habits that would help me generate unstoppable amounts of energy.
Be Energetic, Or Be Left Behind..
It’s incredibly important to implement habits in your life that give you more energy and to stop doing those things that deplete your energy. The truth is, if you feel tired, sluggish and low on energy throughout the day, you’ll give in to distractions and bad decisions much quicker, you’ll be less creative, have more trouble focusing and your productivity will suffer immensely. In other words, if you have too many of those days, your tiredness and lack of energy will kill your goals and ambitions.
On the other hand, if you have high levels of energy throughout the day, you actually feel more motivated and ready to take action, you’ll be able to focus for longer periods of time, be more creative, you’ll find it easier to make the right decisions (aka, be more disciplined) and be a lot more productive. In other words, being able to generate unstoppable energy every single day is critical for peak performance.
And the good news is, you can (quite easily) learn how to do it. Let’s go over 8 habits that I personally use (almost every single day) in order to consistently generate high levels of energy.
Habit 1: Take Cold Showers
‘Cold showers, no freaking way I’m doing that’ is what I first thought when I read that cold showers help you to feel more energized.
Fortunately, one of my closest friends went on a Wim Hof expedition where he learned about the amazing psychological & physiological benefits of cold exposure (and breathwork, but more about that later), so he was able to convince me to give cold showers a try. And I’m extremely grateful that he did as cold showers are absolutely great for generating energy.
Nowadays, I end every shower with at least 30-seconds of cold water crashing onto my body. It may seem a little crazy at first, but it works wonders. In fact, it turns out that cold showers (and cold exposure of any type) have massive benefits, such as:
- Improved blood circulation
- Reduced stress levels
- Higher level of alertness
- Increased willpower
- Stronger immune system
- Stimulates weight loss
I have to admit, at first, taking cold showers sucks. Your body is actually going into a stress response as the cold water hits your skin, but the key is to stay calm, control your breath, breathe deeply and silence your mind. After 10–15 seconds you’ll start to notice that you can actually handle it and that it’s not as bad as you first thought it would be.
Try to stay for at least 30 seconds under the cold water and notice how awake, energized and on fire you feel when you leave the shower. This instant boost of energy feels amazing, and it’s totally worth the initial struggle.
Do this every single time you shower and you’ll start to experience more aliveness and energy, and you’ll definitely stop feeling tired and sluggish.
Tip: Check out Wim Hof (aka, The Iceman) if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of cold exposure and breathwork or check out my post ‘7 Ways Cold Showers Will Make You Mentally Strong‘
Habit 2: Meditate For At Least 10 Minutes Per Day
I have to admit, I was highly sceptical about meditation before I started doing it. I never really considered myself to be a highly spiritual person, and I definitely do not always resonate with some of the spiritual ‘woo woo’ that comes along with it. But, as I studied high performers across all kinds of different industries, I found that the biggest majority of them meditated every single day. Thus, I decided to give it a go.
A few years later, and I realize how wrong I was to be sceptical about meditation. Not only did I personally experience the life-changing benefits of meditation, but it has also been proven by hundreds of studies worldwide to be highly beneficial for your mental and physical health.
I’ve found that by meditating consistently for at least 10 minutes per day, I decrease the mental clutter in my mind, I have less negative self-talk and I experience less stress and anxiety during the day. Not only does this make my experience of life a lot more fun, but it also saves an incredible amount of energy.
When you experience a lot of stress, have a lot of negative self-talk, worry continuously or simply have a busy mind, energy is drained from your brain, which makes you feel tired, exhausted and overwhelmed. This is exactly why the majority of people who suffer from depression are also continuously tired and low on energy. Your brain can’t stop thinking and worrying and this consumes an incredible amount of energy.
Therefore, meditate for at least 10 minutes per day in order to get a calmer, more focused mind, which will help you preserve your valuable energy throughout the day.
Tip: If you want to learn more about the scientifically proven benefits of meditation, check out this study by Sara Lazar from Harvard University:
Habit 3: Fix Your Sleep Schedule
If you want to have long-lasting energy throughout the day, you absolutely NEED to fix your sleep schedule. When you don’t get enough high-quality, deep sleep, you will feel more tired the next day, which usually leads to drinking more coffee in order to feel more energized. Unfortunately, this increase in caffeine intake will lead to disrupted sleeping patterns (sometimes without even realizing it), which makes you more tired the next day. This, in turn, will stimulate you to drink more and more coffee. All in all, you find yourself in a never-ending cycle of tiredness.
Therefore, aim to get a solid night of high-quality, deep sleep (keep in mind, it’s not just about the amount of sleep you get, it’s about the quality of your sleep). During workdays, make it a habit to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, and get at least 6–8 hours of sleep. Doing so will have enormous effects on your energy levels the next day.
Some tips to get high-quality, deep sleep:
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible
- Avoid screens one hour before going to bed (because of the blue-light)
- Limit your coffee intake and avoid caffeine after 17:00
- Exercise regularly
- Journal before going to bed in order to declutter your mind
- Cool down your room
If you want to learn more about getting high-quality, deep sleep, check out my post ‘7 Tips To Sleep Like A Baby And Feel Incredibly Rested & Energized‘
Habit 4: Do Breathwork Exercises
One of the most recent findings in the bio-hacking field is that your breath has an immense influence on your health, energy and mental wellbeing. It turns out that, by using only your breath, you can influence anything from your immune system to your creativity. When I first stumbled on the different type of breathwork exercises (and it’s benefits) I was truly blown away and surprised that not that many people know about this yet.
But for now, let’s just focus on how your breath can help you to stop feeling tired and generate energy instead..
By taking a few deep breaths through the belly, you inhale a lot more oxygen than you normally do when you breathe on autopilot (in fact, the way most people breathe on autopilot is one of the leading causes of low energy and diseases). In a nutshell, more oxygen equals more energy. Your body experiences change on a micro level when you start to change the way you breathe, which makes you feel more energized right away.
In all honesty, I am not the right person to talk about how this exactly works, as it’s a very delicate and precise process. The best things I can do are (1) share an exercise that you can do yourself so you can experience the effects right away, and (2) direct you towards other sources that are better equipped to explain the science behind breathwork.
So, if you want to experience the energy-generating benefits of breathwork right away, you can try the following exercise, which I do on a regular basis if I want to get into a peak state instantly:
For 10–30 seconds, inhale and exhale strongly through your mouth, without any pauses in between the breaths — and breathe through your belly instead of through your chest.
Important: you will probably start to feel light-headed, which is completely normal. Always make sure you do this exercise in a safe environment and never do it while driving or while swimming.
Now notice how you feel. You might even feel tingling sensations in your body, and you probably feel a bit more lightheaded. But overall, you feel energized. You have flooded your body with oxygen, and that means that you have generated a ton of energy. If you’re like me, you feel hyped and ready to tackle whatever is in your way.
Tip: If you’re interested in learning more about how breathwork can help you gain more energy (and tons of other benefits), I recommend you check out Wim Hof and the books ‘Just Breathe’ and ‘Headstrong’.
Habit 5: Healthy Nutrition
When it comes to your energy level, a very large part of how you feel is determined by your nutrition. I vividly remember the days in which I indulged in sweets and snacks and overdosed on coffee every single day. My mind wouldn’t stop racing with thoughts, I started getting jittery and I would have hard energy crashes multiple times per day. On top of that, I completely messed up my sleep quality as the sugars and caffeine continued to work in my body late at night. In other words, I destroyed my energy levels completely through my nutrition habits.
As soon as I started to heavily cut down on sugars and limit my caffeine intake (by not drinking coffee after 17:00 and limiting myself to 2 cups per day), I started to notice that I no longer fell asleep during my daily commute, and I no longer had energy crashes during the day. It felt like my energy levels were more sustainable and equally spread out over the day, instead of coming in strong peaks and hard crashes.
That’s why, if you want to stop feeling tired and generate unstoppable energy, you need to have a healthy nutrition plan. Avoid consuming too much sugar and caffeine, and make sure you get enough healthy fats, green vegetables and proteins. This will help you feel more energized consistently throughout the day — and avoid those nasty energy crashes.
Habit 6: Supplement Strategically
One of the habits I’ve been looking more and more into lately is strategic supplementation. I’m not a big fan of people who look for the easy way out by just taking a supplement and then neglect their nutrition.. That’s simply not how it works. However, I am a big believer in getting your nutrition right, and then strategically supplementing those vitamins and minerals (from a high-quality source) that are hard to get consistently in your diet.
Supplements stack the odds in your favour. You will survive without them. But will you thrive without them? Will you be your very best possible? Probably not. You’re likely leaving some level of performance on the table. That’s why I supplement these vitamins and minerals on daily basis:
B-Vitamins: Well known for improving energy, focus, and alertness. Essentially, B-vitamins are involved in everything, from the conversion of nutrients into neurotransmitters like serotonin to proper mitochondrial function. In other words, you’ll have more energy, more resilience and better cognitive capabilities such as better concentration and improved memory. People with a deficiency in B vitamins have demonstrated to have slower learning abilities, a decrease in energy and are more prone to distractions. You need to especially make sure you’re getting enough B-3 (Niacin), B-9 (Folate) and B-12 vitamins in order to boost your focus, concentration and productivity to the optimal level.
I get my B-Vitamins from Onnit, as they are a trustworthy, high-quality brand used by many high performing athletes, entrepreneurs and other high achievers.
Magnesium: An essential mineral that I take as a supplement on a daily basis. In clinical research, magnesium supplementation has shown to assist with healthy bone mass, higher performance during exercise and improving blood sugar regulation. Furthermore, magnesium is involved in thousands of chemical reactions in the body, making it an essential connection to everything in your body.
Again, I get my Magnesium from Onnit, as they are a trustworthy, high-quality brand.
Caffeine: Yes, caffeine. The thing I warned you about earlier can actually be a great source of energy when used strategically. If you drink 1–2 cups of coffee at the start of your day, this can actually have great energy benefits as it fires up your cortisol hormones, making you feel more alive and awake. However, it’s important that you don’t overdo it with caffeine (like most people do). Limit your intake to 2 cups of coffee per day and preferably don’t consume any caffeine after 17:00, as this will mess with your sleep quality.
Habit 7: Exercise Consistently
Exercise is the king of all energy-generating habits. Study after study has shown that consistent exercise (whether it’s yoga, weight lifting or kickboxing) has tremendous benefits ranging from higher quality sleep to more energy and an overall improvement in your mood & wellbeing.
Therefore, aim to exercise at least 4x per week. It doesn’t have to be a full-workout per se. As long as you move with your body and elevate your heartbeat just a little bit, you’ll already reap a lot of the benefits.
Personally, I like to go for hikes in nature and I follow my kettlebell workout routine multiple times per week. I clearly notice that when I don’t exercise for a while, I have much more trouble sleeping and I feel more sluggish during the day.
Habit 8: Follow An Empowering Morning Routine
If you follow an empowering morning routine with at least some (or all, if you’re hardcore) of the earlier mentioned habits, you’ll start to generate energy on a consistent basis. The problem for most people is that they know what to do, but they simply don’t do it. Creating and following a morning routine is the perfect antidote to this problem, as you make sure you do everything at the start of day, when you still have the time, mind-space and energy to actually do these habits and exercises.
Furthermore, by following a morning routine in which you implement these type of habits, you start your day energized and on fire, and there’s nothing more powerful than that. When you start your day by doing some peak performance habits, you reap the benefits from it throughout the entire day. You’ll have high levels of energy from the start, and you’ll be able to crush it from the moment you wake up!
Now Do It
As I mentioned before, most people know what to do, but they simply don’t do it. Don’t be one of those people. Be an action taker, and resolve to try out at least 3 of these habits yourself as soon as possible!
When you’re able to generate energy at your command, you’ll be able to do so much more, impact more people and make faster progress towards your goals — and do it all with a smile on your face instead of it feeling like a drag.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
Ps. Generating energy is a key part of my morning routine, and it helps me to consistently generate highly focused and productive days. If you want to learn more about generating energy, raising your performance to the next level and have incredibly focussed & productive mornings, I recommend you check out Morning Ritual Mastery by my friend and mentor Stefan James!