Lately, there was a period of several weeks where I was feeling drained and down all the time and I wasn’t sure why. I had been staying active but my energy was waning. Playing a tennis match and strength training on the same day used to be normal, but that was feeling too challenging. I needed to figure out what was going on. So, I decided to audit my life from the last few weeks to see if I could find the issue. I wasn’t super stressed out, no major issues in my life. I was still active, it was just far more difficult that before.
That’s when it dawned on me. I was going into my day unprepared for the rush of work and life. Many of my days involved lots of physical activity, but hardly any quality fuel to help my body recover. I was eating poorly and relying on junk food to satiate my appetite during busy days. Even when I had good food in the fridge to heat up, I would go hours beyond when I was supposed to eat. This combination of skipping meals or filling in with junk was taking a huge toll on me.
Maybe you have experienced something similar. Maybe you end up eating sweets or fast food instead of a healthier home cooked meal. Maybe you end up going hungry and irritated when your plans for the day change. It happens… we live in a fast paced world where our plans can change on a dime. You can get stuck at work for longer than you expected. You could be asked to sub for a tennis match and spend much more time out on the court than you had anticipated. We must remember that living an active lifestyle demands that you prioritize how you are fueling your body to stay energized and recover well… especially in a busy world.
My solution was to start stocking my locker and backpack with food that I could rely on being there if my plans changed or my day got extra busy. It worked out so well! Whenever my day was changed I didn’t have to go hungry for hours waiting for the next meal. I had an array of nutrient and protein packed options to keep me from feeling tired and burnt out. Within the first two days I noticed a big difference in my mindset and energy level.
Quality is important here just like with big meals. Lots of ‘health’ bars really should be in the candy bar section. Make sure to look over the ingredient list to avoid products with tons of added processed sugars, modified fats, and preservatives. I stock fruits, protein bars and a vitamin protein drink mix in my bag at all times. My favorites right now being apples, bananas, RX bar, and Quick Vita Kick for quick protein + essential nutrients. It is a great way to know I am getting the nutrition I need especially on days when I end up skipping meals or eating out a lot.
This change made such a huge difference in my day to day life! By having a quick post workout option and a midday healthy snack I set myself up for success. Having the right tools in your arsenal is key to your fitness success. Part of that means having access to nutritious on the go fuel to stay energized and make sure your body can recover to keep up with your active lifestyle. Try keeping some protein powder in your locker, some fruit in your bag, and some protein bars in your car and you will be impressed with how often they come in clutch to keep you fueled and ready for action!