I’ve had low energy for most of my life.
No energy to exercise. No energy to socialize. No energy to go on romantic dates, and zero energy left over for naughty time if things go well.
Over time I’ve fixed my energy levels. There’s no magic pill and everyone is different. But a few of these ideas will likely help you head in the direction of high energy if you try them.
The reason you want high energy is it makes everything else in life easier. And reality looks different. You’re less frustrated and generally happier.
I describe the feeling to friends like being a virgin and knowing you’re about to “do it” for the first time. Take from that what you will.
These are the lifestyle habits I’ve experimented with.
Most people have a financial budget but not an energy budget
The energy we have for the day isn’t unlimited.
(Despite what the gym bros tell you.) That’s why I have an energy budget. I allocate the f*cks (hat-tilt Mark Manson) I want to use in a given day to the most important tasks.
Think of it like an energy budget. Where are you going to invest the most energy and for how long?
If you don’t plan the day with energy in mind, then you’ll end up doing hard tasks when energy is the lowest. That can lead to frustration and crazy blow-ups.
Energy management makes the day easier.
The point of a diet is experimentation
When I tell people I’m vegan they throw their meat pies at me.
I get it. Vegans can be preachy. What we eat determines how we feel and you probably already knew that. So it goes without saying that changing up what you eat can unlock new levels of energy.
I like what blogger Nat Eliason said on the topic. He says it doesn’t matter whether you eat the carnivore, atkins, vegan, paleo, or slow-carb diet.
What matters is you experiment and see what different diets do to you. Go a step further and try ice baths, yoga, cold showers, or waking up early.
See if any of these activities have an effect on your energy. It’s likely one of them will.
We have to periodically mess with our status quo. To shake up the snow globe. If someone says some new way of living changed their life, just try it — Nat
For me, when I tried the vegan diet it gave me the most energy, so I’ve stuck with it. There are drawbacks, like challenges with iron and B12, but you just learn to find a workaround and get regular blood tests.
A different perspective on walking
Waking 10,000 steps is common advice.
The problem is when I have a minimum number of steps to walk each day it gives me anxiety. Some days I meet the target and other days I don’t.
Recently, I couldn’t bend my left knee properly. I was in pain and thought I may have slept on it wrong. If I sat at my desk all day it made my leg worse. So I was forced to walk more to try and fix the issue.
Every 24 hours I’ve walked at least three times in a day. It’s helped to alleviate my leg pain.
The bizarre thing that happened is I fell in love with walking.
When I came back from walks my energy was higher. It helped me clear my head of all the toxic thoughts, like a landscaper that took my money and skipped town.
It also helped me get some sun on my pale skin and walk in nature more. I used the time to listen to David Senra’s book summary podcast, Founders. On these walks I learned why Henry Ford thought the way he did, or why Tiger Woods became a golf psychopath because of his wild dad Earl.
Walking doesn’t just give you more energy, new ideas do too.
The book that uplifted my energy to new levels
One of the best books I’ve read is called “Stealing Fire.”
It’s the book that helped me discover how the highest performers in the world use flow states to reach new heights of success.
One of the big insights from the book is that our posture, the way we move our bodies, and our voice all contribute to how we feel. Other people feed off the energy our bodies give off.
If we change posture, body language, or our voice then it can make us feel more energetic. This was fascinating to me. It aligns with what Tony Robbins taught me in 2013 about the power of state.
Change how you move, and change how you feel
— Tony Robbins
Giving the body a rest the right way
Sleep helps you recover. That produces energy.
The challenge is modern life can destroy our sleep. Fitness guru Dan Go taught me to follow the 10–3–2–1 method:
10 hours before bed stop drinking coffee.
3 hours before bed stop eating.
2 hours before bed stop drinking water.
1 hour before bed stop looking at screens.
This method has had a profound effect on my energy levels. Giving my stomach a break from processing food had the best results for me. Not eating before bed introduced a form of forced intermittent fasting.
Delaying when I eat in the morning helped to prolong the fasting effects.
People can feel the energy you put in
If you want more energy, you have to bring more energy.
Energy is something people pick up on. If you do work you hate for a job, then people can feel it even if you don’t. Writer Dan Koe went a step further and said this:
Good writing isn’t about being professional. It’s about energy transfer.
You will be excited to sit down and write every day and that energy will show in your writing.
So think about the energy you put into activities.
And if you find you never have the energy for a certain activity (like a job), then maybe you shouldn’t do it anymore and do a 360.
The solution for mid-afternoon sluggishness
I don’t care if you’re Rocky Balboa himself, we all have sluggishness.
The point isn’t to run from the feeling but to deal with it. When I feel tired or low on energy I either do some exercise or have a nap — or both. Something as simple as jumping on a trampoline is all I need to bounce back.
“Every hour you spend in the gym is one less day in the hospital”
By far the habit that’s given me the most energy is a regular trip to the gym.
I’m no 6-pack Buffman by a long shot. But you don’t need to be to hit the gym. The point of the gym is to move, not show off. What you look like doesn’t matter. If you’re overweight or a skinny bloke like me, it doesn’t make a difference.
You might fear people are judging you at the gym.
Honestly, most of the time they’re focused on themselves. Or proud of you for taking control of your health and energy and showing up.
If you don’t go to the gym then as you get older you will lose muscle. According to Harvard research this can cause all sorts of issues.
Energy is a compass
Let’s finish here.
Some people give you energy. Some drain energy and make you feel like crap. What helped me manage my energy was paying attention to this.
If someone made me lose energy, I spent less time with them. If someone gave me energy, I spent more time with them. If an activity like writing online gave me more energy … then I did it more.
In the last 9 years, this simple habit of paying attention to energy enhancers and energy drainers has helped me shift my energy.
I no longer feel so tired every damn day. It’s not one factor that did it. It’s a combination of all the methods above.
Don’t put up with low energy. Fight back. Experiment.