3 Types of Energy

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

I visited Fresh Living (KUTV Channel 2 – Salt Lake City) yesterday to talk about how during the long hot summer days, it’s important to keep our energy levels high so we can get out there and enjoy everything that we can.

It’s easy to temporarily boost energy with sugar/caffeine as with a typical energy drink – but that energy boost is short-lived and almost always comes with a “crash” a few hours later. I joined the hosts on Fresh Living to discuss a better approach to deliver a more sustained THREE-way boost of energy (physical energy, mental energy, and mental awareness).

See the segment HERE


  • Physical Energy = with Matcha Green Tea that contains catechins, theanine, and natural caffeine


  • Mental Energy = with flavonoids from berries, apples, grapes, and New Zealand Pine Bark


  • Mental Awareness = with Guayusa Leaf – used by Amazon hunters to increase “connection with the universe”

Also – look for products with natural flavors and natural sweeteners – and low sugar content of around 5g which helps to enhance hydration much better than zero-calorie or full-sugar options like soda or energy drinks (afternoon dehydration is an important source of fatigue for many people)

ENERGY SPECIAL REPORT: Eight Easy Ways to Increase Energy and Boost Metabolism

Almost HALF of all Americans, or around 150 million people, report experiencing debilitating daily fatigue on a daily basis. Luckily, energy levels and overall metabolism tend to normalize with some attention to eating well, exercising appropriately, managing stress and getting enough sleep. In some cases, though, the prudent use of certain nutritional supplements may be the extra help you need to get the spring back in your step.

  1. Eat Frequent Small Meals (Beginning With Breakfast)

Spreading calorie intake outover several small meals, rather than stuffing it all into one or two big ones, results in a steady stream of nutrients, thus keeping your energy supply on an even keel as well. Another big benefit: Eating small frequent meals, or grazing as it’s commonly called, boosts metabolic rate thus helping to burn more calories. In fact, researchers have found that people consuming 2,000 calories a day via grazing tend to lose weight, while those eating the same number of calories at lunch and dinner only tend to gain weight. No doubt you’ve heard someone say, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s true – people who skip breakfast struggle more often with weight problems and low energy than do those who make time to eat. People who eat breakfast have a higher metabolic rate (meaning they burn more calories and fat) compared to those who miss it.

  1. Maintain Macronutrient Balance

Eating a balanced diet is still the best nutritional strategy for maintaining energy. A “balanced” diet means that you’ve combined different types of wholesome foods in each of your small meals to obtain a healthy proportion of the macronutrients – protein (lean beef, poultry, fish, eggs or low fat dairy), carbohydrates (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and fats (nuts and seeds, fish oil, olive oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil). They’re all important because each macronutrient serves a different role in keeping energy constant. Protein is required for growth and repair of virtually every tissue in your body and serves an important role in the production of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that influence energy. Carbohydrates are your muscles’ and brain’s preferred source of fuel, and fats are used in the creation of cell membranes and hormone-like substances called eicosanoids that help regulate heart rate, blood pressure blood vessel constriction and the nervous system. Fats also moderate digestion to make you feel full longer.

  1. Limit Sugar

Since glucose is one of the primary raw materials used in producing energy for the muscles and the brain, you may think the more the merrier. But sugary foods and drinks actually belong on your what-not-to-eat list. Why? Because while high-sugar foods like candy, cookies or ice cream give your blood glucose a swift kick, it’s actually too much, too fast. Sudden peaks in blood sugar are quickly followed by sudden peaks in insulin, the hormone released by your pancreas to lower blood sugar by shuttling glucose out of circulation and into cells. What ensues after eating sugary foods is the infamous blood sugar roller coaster that wreaks havoc on your mental acuity, energy and moods. A better plan is to increase blood sugar gradually with several small meals daily containing a combination of protein (such as lean beef, fish, poultry soy, low fat dairy or eggs), healthy carbs (like whole grains and vegetables) and healthy fats (like nuts, seeds or avocadoes).

  1. Drink Enough Water

The human body is 60 to 70 percent water – and even a modest level of dehydration is sensed as “fatigue” by the body and brain. About two-thirds of our water is found inside cells where it’s required for all biochemical processes (especially fat burning), while the remainder is in bodily fluids like blood and the lymph system where it carries nutrients to cells and washes away toxic metabolism by-products. The age-old standby of eight cups or 64 ounces a day of water is still a pretty good rule of thumb as it represents the amount of fluid the average person loses in a day through sweat and urine, as well as the amount of water needed to fully metabolize the food you eat each day and the fat you want to lose from your body. Itmay sound like a lot, butthink of it like this: Drink one cup when you first get up, one with each of your four to five small, frequent meals, one after your workout, another before bed, and you’re there.

  1. Move it or Lose it (Exercise)

It’s a paradox: You need to expend energy to have energy. Exercise improves your strength, stamina, flexibility, coordination and balance, while being sedentary leads to muscle atrophy, fat accumulation, stiffness and fatigue. In fact, much of the decline in our ability to physically function as we grow older is due not to aging itself, but to inactivity. Certain kinds of exercise influence some aspects of fitness and energy more than others. For example, weight training particularly improves muscle tone, strength and endurance, while aerobic exercise like walking, hiking, jogging, cycling or swimming more greatly enhances cardiovascular capability. Yoga or Tai Chi improves flexibility, coordination, balance, and to a lesser extent muscle tone. Yet any movement is better than no movement and will enhance your energy supply – even “non-exercise” exercise like gardening, house cleaning or playing with your kids or dog in a park.

  1. Use Supplements Responsibly

Optimal nutrition, exercise and sleep are key for maintaining a healthy energy level, yet too many people look to dietary supplements to make up for poor lifestyle habits. Don’t fall into this trap because supplements can never fill those shoes. Do the best you can to live a life that honors the importance of nutrition, exercise, rest and managing stress. Then, once you’ve done that, you can consider how nutritional supplements may support these efforts. From a big-picture perspective, supplements play supportive energizing roles in a couple of ways. Some all-natural phytonutrients, like Guayusa Leaf, Matcha Green Tea, New Zealand Pine Bark, and Apple & Grape Polyphenols, can help your body help itself for long-term energy production, positive mental outlook (good mood), and a high-performance fat-burning metabolism. Be careful of becoming dependent on stimulants such as caffeine, as they only serve as short-term energetic band-aids, rather than addressing fundamental metabolic needs.

  1. Get Some Sleep

Like water, food and air, sleep is a foundational health factor, so if you’re one of the many sleep-deprived folks in this county, running low on energy shouldn’t surprise you. Your body perceives lack of sleep as a profound source of stress, and, as a result, increases release of the stress hormones adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol by as much as 80 percent. Sleep deprivation also slows cognitive processing, impairs memory, and can even lead to weight gain over time. The National Sleep Foundation says that the average adult requires about eight hours of high-quality sleep nightly, although you may find you need more or less.

  1. Manage Your Body’s Response to Stress

Your body’s reaction to stress, the fight-or-flight response, served our ancestors well. Back in the day, stress was intermittent and short-term. Things would be going along fine, then all of a sudden an enemy would enter the scene and people had the choice to either stay and fight or get the heck out of there. Either way, the adrenaline rush and resulting energy spike was used up in a hurry and peace returned. Not so today. The same flood of adrenal gland stress hormones –adrenaline and cortisol – that served our predecessors so well is killing us now. Why? Because our battles are continuous and are fought sitting in a car while stuck in traffic, or behind our desk counting to 10 in an effort to not strangle an inconsiderate boss. In other words, the stress hormones keep flowing but there’s no outlet for them, no way to put them to good use. So they keep building. As they do, what are life-saving short-term effects of the stress response become chronically debilitating, resulting, for example, in high blood pressure, ulcers, irritable bowels, increased fat deposits and diabetes. All of these conditions can have a negative effect on your energy level, yet perhaps the most direct impact comes when, over time, elevations in cortisol lead to lower metabolic efficiency, which means your body burns less energy and stores more of it (as fat around your midsection).


About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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