Despite plates adorned with plant-based superfoods, daily yoga practices, zen-like meditation moments, and successfully sleeping for the recommended eight hours, you are still tired. This is something that I have fallen victim to numerous times, and remains one of the top complaints I hear from clients. And why? Because energy production is complicated, involving more than the reduction of stress, and the implementation of exercise and good eating habits. That is why I am going to give you natural ways to boost energy.
Fatigue is that elusive symptom that continuously manages to creep up despite our best efforts, and never ceases to ruin the moment. Unfortunately, the answer to how to boost your energy permanently is never as easy as your next shot of espresso, because your energy levels are a direct reflection of so many things going on in the body.
I have had more experience in this area than I would like, but the good news is that I have mastered numerous techniques for boosting energy naturally. Because sure, we could all habitually live from coffee cup to energy drink, but we would soon find out that this only seems to make the fatigue worse in the long run. That is because the adrenal glands (our energy producers – hello adrenaline!) can only give so much, and when running at full speed for long periods of time, they run out of gas. So instead of trying to push our body to the limits, squeezing every last drop of energy out of it, let’s give it what it needs to perform the way it was designed to. Let’s be honest, this body was designed to kick some major ass (we did manage to build pyramids by hand after all) so let’s get back to it!
Good bye fatigue! Here are 20 natural ways to boost energy effectively and permanently. Keep in mind that there are many you may have never heard of, so start by implementing one by one. Each body is different, so some that work for you may not work for others. Give each a good run of it though, because it can take up to a month or so to see a change.
Fatigue: 20 Natural Ways to Boost Energy
(that you haven’t heard of)
1. Ease off Coffee
I am not saying that you have to be coffee-free, but in order to allow the adrenal glands to do their job, we must support them not drain them. This means easing off the coffee. My best suggestion is to first start by switching to a light roast made with Arabica beans. Arabica beans contains less caffeine than any other commercially cultivated species of coffee, making it the perfect coffee to wean off with. Once you have made the switch, then start drinking less and less every few days. Concurrently you may add in a natural energizer to supplement your body until it has caught up with its own adrenaline production. I personally love Vega’s Sugar-free Energizer pack. Made with yerba mate, devils claw, green tea and ginseng, it really helps to give the body the energy boost it needs. These saved me when coming off of coffee, especially during the times I needed to be extremely productive. Once you have restored normal energy production, meaning you feel energized without caffeine, you can start adding a small cup of coffee back into your routine if you so choose. This is my first and one of my favorite natural ways to boost energy.
2. Drink more Water
I am sure you have heard this before, but unless you actually put it into action you will never know how effective this is. One of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue. You will feel a drop in energy even before you actually feel thirsty, so drink up! The best guideline is to drink half your weight in ounces of water a day. If you drink any caffeinated (dehydrating) beverage then add one more cup of water to the daily total.
3. Boost your Mineral Intake
Minerals are the currency that our body uses to produce energy. They are required for almost every basic function in the body, and without proper mineralization, the body cannot work. It is simple as that, and as essential as drinking water. It is really easy to become mineral deficient, especially if you are a caffeine drinker, work out, sweat often, stress out, or like to indulge in alcoholic beverages. The best way to boost your minerals is by drinking coconut water (raw, like Harmless Harvest is best), adding unrefined sea salt (this contains trace minerals) into your diet, or by adding a mineral powder to your water daily (this works the fastest). I personally use Electrolyte Energy Formula by Pure Encapsulations.
* Note: if you are using a water filtration system at home, find out if it takes the minerals out of the water. If so, you will need to supplement or add minerals back into the water to make sure you are meeting your daily requirements.
4. Balance your Diet
Don’t forget that the reason were designed to eat food is to produce energy. What we eat is broken down and utilized to fuel the body. Therefore, what we are putting in matters… matters a lot. If you are like me, I am sure there have been times when you have played around with cutting out certain foods – all carbohydrates, all fats, and all animal-based proteins. Now the problem with this is that you may be cutting out a food that your body NEEDS. While some people can run on no carbs, others on no animal protein, and some on no fat, others cannot. I have tried to do all three. I have done an intense ketogenic diet (no carbs), vegan diet (no animal protein), and what I call the “girl-quick fix” diet (no fats). My experience was that each one was only sustainable for a period of time, until I crashed. The goal then is to be mindful of your body. You may NEED carbohydrates, or fat, or even animal protein. Don’t ignore what your body is telling you because this could easily be the reason you are tired. That and the fact that you may not be eating enough food. Yes, all you women out there, you must actually eat food to make energy, so if you are tired all the time, make sure its not because you are not eating food. You must be at least eating 1,200 a day.
*If you are anemic, you must be careful about eliminating animal protein from the diet. While you can get iron from non-animal based foods, it is much more difficult. As for B12, this is even harder. I have also seen that certain people only fully recover from anemia by reintroducing animal products. If you are vegan, consider working with a nutritionist to ensure that you are meeting your needs.
5. Bach Flower Essences: Olive
This is one of my favorite tricks. Bach Flower Essences are extreme dilutions of flowers that are created to target a particular emotional or spiritual imbalance, or condition. They are considered vibrational medicine, working on the energetic frequencies of the body much like homeopathics. While it may seem a bit crazy, they work unlike anything else I have seen, and quickly. The one that is particularly helpful for fatigue is the Bach Flower, Olive. Olive is directed to those who are mentally or physically exhausted, so much so that there are no reserves of strength or energy. All you do is put a few droppers into your water a day and watch it work its magic! I always keep this on hand because I can usually feel it work within a couple of days.
6. Build your Chi or Qi
Based on Chinese Medicine, Chi, also known as Qi, is translated to vitality. It is your life energy – that which all things are governed by. We acquire it through breathing and eating. It manifests as our day-to-day energy, our ability to function. This energy can become suppressed or weakened, which can be an underlying root cause of fatigue. Therefore, the goal is to build the chi and to make sure that it is flowing properly, much like the blood in your veins. My favorite way to build and move chi is with a practice called Microcosmic Orbit. This is a practice I do twice a day, once in the morning after I wake up, and once in the evening before I go to bed. It’s actually a great way to move into a meditation if you do happen to practice. Other ways to build chi are acupuncture, Tai Chi, and Qigong.
7. Open your Chakras with Yoga
There are seven chakras in the body that serve as energy points. They are arranged vertically from the base of the spine to the top of the head, each at major plexuses of arteries, veins and nerves. They are meeting points for the energy channels that run through the body, transmitting your chi. Chakras can become blocked easily since they are influenced by everything we do from stress, and blocked emotions. Therefore, in order to have proper energy, the chakras must be open. There are many ways to open the chakras from the use of essential oils to the clearance of emotions, but my favorite way is with yoga. Yoga helps to open the chakras, and while there are specific poses for each chakra, you will most likely cover all of them in a basic vinyasa flow class. If you don’t have access to a yoga class, follow the poses in this article, or perform the The 5 Tibetan Rites.
8. Adapt with Ginseng
Ginseng is one of the most prized roots in Chinese Tonic Herbalism. It is an adaptogenic herb meaning that it helps the body to adapt to any stress whether physical, or mental. It is a tonic herb that promotes health, longevity, mental and sexual health and physical vigor. Most importantly though, it gives you energy. It is a chi tonic, meaning that it helps to build the chi, much like the microcosmic orbit practice or Tai Chi. Ginseng enhances endurance and resilience under challenging conditions, reducing the wear and tear on the body that results from stress. The good news is that it not only energizes, but it has the ability to inhibit aging, boost immunity, while improving mood and concentration. It is an herb I always take and have found to be profound in terms of results (you can usually feel it immediately). It is one that I invest a lot into, so much so I even bought this one... yikes! If you can get your hands on some of the more concentrated tinctures, like Ginseng Sublime from Dragon Herbs, you will notice a burst of energy as soon as it touches your tongue. There is a big difference in quality of ginseng, so make sure to purchase one of high quality. The good news is that some people only need a drop a day, which makes the price worth it. Pretty amazing!
9. Take a Detox Bath
Oftentimes our fatigue is due to an overly toxic body. The more toxins that we have flowing through our system, the more energy the body needs to direct towards neutralizing and clearing them. As a result, we feel tired constantly despite the hours slept at night. One of the easiest ways to clear the body of toxins is with a detox bath. These are a combination of volcanic clay, peat magma, crystalline minerals, bath salts and detoxifying herbs that support the safe clearance of toxins from the body. Concurrently they help to re-mineralize the body, rejuvenating the cells – both natural ways to boost energy. There are many to choose from, but I find that Medi Body Bath is the most therapeutic. These baths also help to recover from exercise, to ease pain and soreness.
10. Breathe, really Breathe…
Take a long deep breathe. One, two, three, four. Exhale….
Now, how many times have you done that today? I bet none. Most of us hold in our breathe throughout the day, preventing our body from receiving the oxygen it needs. As a result, you feel tired. I know, a really simple explanation, but one that holds true for so many. Instead of telling you to start breathing, (because I know most of you most), I am going to suggest that you incorporate a breathing practice into your day. The best times are either when you wake up, to tell your mind to start working, when you are practicing yoga or microcosmic orbit, or when you go to bed. A breathing practice can both stimulate and energize, while also calm and relax at the same time. To start, try Pranayama. Pranayama not only brings more oxygen and blood to the brain, but it also helps to move chi… there is that word again! The more we move our chi, our life energy, the more energized we feel.
11. Balance Hormones, Eat Maca
Another common reason we are feeling fatigued and tired all the time is because our hormones our out of whack. Even if you do not have a diagnosable condition, your hormones could still be out of balance. Therefore, taking Maca is a simple and beneficial way to optimize them. Men and women can both benefit from maca since it is a natural root that is an adaptogen much like ginseng. The good news is that even if your hormones are in balance, it will still give you more energy and a boost in libido. How cool is that!? I personally use Gelatinized Maca by Navitas Naturals in my morning green smoothie, and also take 2 caps of Femmenessence. The reason I also take the supplement is because it is much more concentrated than the powder, and therefore is more therapeutic. Depending on your energy levels and state of your body, you may feel enough from the powder. If not, try the supplement. Femmenessence has under gone many clinical trials and is a patented concentration that is 10-20x stronger than the raw powder. Plus, they also have a version that can help with PMS, menopause and other hormone conditions. Go HERE for a great article on Femmenessence.
12. Cut the Crap: eliminate the junk and food allergens
Let’s get one thing straight, crappy food is going to make you feel tired and crappy. Regardless if its chips, a fast food burger, a Starbucks muffin or a bowl of sugar cereal, eating these foods can easily make you feel tired. For one, they are void of any real nutrients that fuel the body. Secondly, they contain processed white sugar and high fructose corn syrup that crash your blood sugar. And finally, they contain a slew of chemicals and preservatives that your body needs to spend time figuring out how to digest and get rid of. So bottom line, cut the crap.
The next thing to think about is food allergies. There are many foods such as dairy, gluten (wheat), and soy that your body may have developed an allergy to. As a result, every time you eat that food you feel tired. Therefore, the best thing to do is to do an elimination diet. Eliminate all potential food allergens from your diet for two weeks, and then introduce each back in one by one every three days. You have to make sure to keep a journal, making notes throughout the day of how you feel. You can then look back and pinpoint a certain food to a bad feeling. Once you determine that, you continue to avoid it. This is an easy way to get to the root cause of low energy. Here is a great overview to get you started.
13. Sunlight Therapy and Vitamin D
There is nothing quite like soaking up the sun’s rays for improving your mood and energy. It is ingrained in our very DNA to respond to sunlight. Much like a plant will become revived as soon as the sun comes out (that and a bit of water of course – #2 on the list!), so do we. Therefore, get your butt out of the home or office at least once a day to soak up some sun. The double benefit is that it will also help to boost vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown in research to directly improve mitochondria function. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell in charge of making ATP, the very currency your body uses for energy. If you are unable to get in some sunbathing, try using a vitamin D supplement. I personally use D3 Serum because its very affordable, easy to bring with me, and is in an olive oil base for optimal absorption.
14. Take your Bs!
Most of us have heard that B12 improves energy levels, which is why B12 injections have become so popular lately. The thing is that B12 is not the only B vitamin that helps to improve energy. The other B vitamins play an important role as well, especially in supporting the adrenal glands and liver detoxification. B vitamins are a basic fuel for the adrenal glands as well as for Phase 1 and Phase 2 liver detoxification. Without proper vitamin B levels in the body, we can’t make adequate adrenaline and the liver cannot neutralize toxins. Therefore, for so many people the simple addition of a B vitamin complex into the diet can improve energy. I personally use Max B ND because of its form. It is made by probiotics who pre-digest all of the B vitamins. As a result, they bypass digestion and liver processing completely, and go right to work in the cell. This is one product my clients never ever want to stop using. B vitamins also help quell anxiety and depression, manage stress and improve concentration. Win, win.
15. Support Exercise Recovery
If you are like me, exercise is an essential part of the day. From walking to bike riding, to hiking, yoga, and pilates, my only problem is that I don’t have enough time and energy to do them all! This is where nutrition comes in. Even if you are not a power lifter, competing body builder or cross fit aficionado, you need to be mindful of supporting your recovery process from exercise. Exercise makes micro tears in your muscles and expends a slew of nutrients. Therefore, you must make sure to rest, eat enough protein, and take extra supplements if necessary. And why? Because if you are pushing yourself too hard and not respecting the recovery process you will exhaust the body. This could be an underlying cause of your fatigue.
16. Cleanse the Kidneys
Remember chi? This life energy, chi, is reliant on the health and strength of the kidneys. The kidneys are often referred to in Chinese Medicine as “the Root of Life” – the foundation for a healthy life full of vitality and longevity. They hold onto and distribute our energy at the most basic and primal level. From there the functioning of the rest of the body is determined. The kidneys are so important for the overall energy and strength of the body that they help control the growth, development and reproductive processes. They are also needed for healthy bones, brain function, strong hair and nail growth, willpower, motivation and sexual vigor. Yes, I did say hair and nails! They are so important, I even wrote a whole book on them!
Unfortunately the kidneys are very delicate, and can easily be damaged by poor eating, stress, and feelings of fear. As a result most of us are in need of a kidney cleanse, even if we do not have any outward expressions of poor kidney health other than fatigue. My recommendation is to do my The Miracle Kidney Cleanse. The reason being that the number one result is improved energy. It is quite simple actually and incorporates many of the other recommendations on this energy list. Check out my book page to learn more about it.
17. Blood Sugar Care
What is one of the main things we search for when in need of an energy boost? Sugar. Pastries, dark chocolate, a candy bar, or soda are all quite appealing when your starting to nod off. The bad news is that these sweets crash our blood sugar levels about as quickly as they raise them. As a result, the fall from your high is a harsh awakening, leaving you feeling more fatigued than when you started. That is why avoiding refined sugar, or sugar-laden foods and drinks is key to preventing fatigue.
For those of us with sensitive blood sugar, or blood sugar issues, this is going to be even more relevant. You will have to make sure to avoid foods that quickly raise your blood sugar since you can feel the crash that much more acutely. It is also vital to keep blood sugar stable throughout the day, in order to prevent yourself from feeling tired. This means eating smaller meals during the day, but eating them more frequently. Always have a snack on hand and always always be prepared. You should focus on eating whole foods (nothing from a box), that have a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates and fats. Think organic vegetables, raw nuts/seeds, grains like quinoa or brown rice, legumes, organic wild fish, and avocado. Do not avoid any of these major food groups. The simple act of balancing your blood sugar goes a long long way in improving energy and mood.
18. Take a Break
Guess what? We were not meant to sit in an office all day typing away on a computer or pounding through endless monotonous tasks. We were meant to be working in a physical nature, outdoors, putting our body to use. So forgive our body from tiring after five hours or more of high intensity, stress-producing work with unabated concentration. It is no wonder we crash at 4 pm and start looking for our next coffee. Instead of sitting there wondering why you are unable to work with the force that you started the day with, honor your body and take a break. Walk outside, breathe some fresh air, take a 5-10 minute stroll and be quiet with yourself. No phone calls, no emails, no cell phone games, news reading, T.V or any other applications. Allow your mind to unwind, calm down, discharge and relax. Sound simple enough? Try it and see how it improves your energy. You never know… you may just have kicked that afternoon coffee habit.
19. Eat Thyroid Foods
Another piece of the energy puzzle is the thyroid. The function of the thyroid gland is to take the mineral iodine, and convert it into the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are then used to control metabolism, which is the conversion of oxygen and calories to energy. Every cell in the body depends on these hormones for the regulation of their metabolism. Therefore, without the proper functioning of the thyroid, our cells are at a loss, unable to produce the energy they were designed to do. The goal then is to eat enough natural iodine. After all, the thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. The best way to get iodine is from food, or from a natural food-based supplement, I personally use Sealogica. The Make sure to eat iodine-rich foods multiple times a week, especially if you drink fluoridated water (lowers iodine). The good news is that iodine also protects against radiation too. Here is a list of the foods that are the highest in iodine:
1. Sea Vegetables – think seaweed!
3. Wild Caught Cod fish
5. Wild Caught Salmon
6. Organic Eggs
20. Chiropractic Care
One last thing to address when trying to improve energy long-term is the spine. The life energy, chi, moves along the nervous system from the brain down the spinal cord. It moves inside of the nerves, in and out of every tissue, cell, and organ of the entire body system. Every cell is dependent on its connection to the flow of this life energy, and without it, we cannot function, let alone feel energized. Your spine is the protective housing, that which provides the structure from which the chi moves. Therefore, the proper alignment of the spine is essential to the flow of chi. Unfortunately, the flow of chi through your spine and nervous system can get disrupted. The stagnation in the flow of chi is called subluxation. Subluxation is when the nervous system becomes stuck in it’s functioning as the subluxations put pressure on the spinal nerves. This decreases the flow of nerve energy to all of your important body parts and internal systems. As a result, you can feel chronically fatigued, unable to concentrate, left with a foggy brain, and unmotivated. In order to restore normal movement, chiropractic treatment is needed. By simple adjustments (they do not have to be forceful), the brain can be reconnected to body, and the flow of energy can be returned. For me personally, chiropractic treatment was a necessity. While I practice all the points above, without the proper alignment of my spine I could not achieve full resolution.
*Make sure to find a chiropractor that comes highly regarded and always get X-rays done before treatment. It is best to work with one that does not use forceful manipulation, as to avoid any mistreatment.