What is your fitness philosophy?
In other words: why do you train and exercise? What is it that you hope to achieve by being physically active?
Many of us train because we want to look better. Some of us train because we want to be healthier and stave off disease. Others train because they want to perform better at a particular sport or activity they enjoy.
But I have a different reason for training: I train because I want to change the way I feel and because I want to change my mindset. And this is also one of the driving factors behind my diet choices.
One of the biggest limiting factors in most of our lives – one of the things that most prevents us from achieving all that we want to achieve – is tiredness. You wake up in the morning and instead of leaping out of bed filled with enthusiasm, you instead struggle to drag yourself up and to actually start being productive. Then you get home and instead of doing something fun, interesting or productive, you instead just crash on the sofa and watch day time TV. Sound familiar?
Everything you do is less enjoyable when you’re tired. All of your decisions are worse. All of your challenges are harder. And I’m not talking about physical tiredness – I’m talking about mental tiredness. And that’s what you can actually fix with the right training program and diet, unbeknownst to many.
How to Increase Brain Energy
So how can you increase energy in your brain? One method is to increase the strength of your heart. If you do this, then you’ll be able to pump more blood, oxygen and nutrients to your brain, thus allowing it to perform more optimally. How do we do this? With steady state cardio. This means the kind of cardiovascular exercise that involves long durations of exercise. A good example is running a few miles twice a week, which can help to enlarge the left ventricle in your heart. This also reduces stress by helping you to lower your resting heartrate and thus produce less cortisol.
Also important is to increase the efficiency of mitochondria. These are the parts of the cells that turn glucose into usable energy and the more you have and better they function, the less tired you will feel. You can increase these with a combination of HIIT training and foods/supplements that are known to support them such as CoQ10, PQQ, l-carnitine and others.
Studies suggest the quality of the foods consumed over the lifetime affects the structure and function of the brain. For instance, the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish provides structural material to maintain neurons. Studies also suggest omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the transmission of information between brain cells. In contrast, foods that are rich in sugars and saturated fats have been found to promote oxidative stress, which leads to damage of cell membranes.
The food you eat also affects molecules in the brain that support cognition. Some foods, such as those with turmeric, support cognition by helping to maintain molecular events related to energy metabolism.
Recent studies suggest lifestyle choices that affect the metabolism of nerve cells, such as diet and exercise, may in some cases provide a noninvasive and effective strategy to counteract neurological and cognitive disorders.