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Dan & Hut discuss lack of energy, focus, concentration and drive…and why using caffeine for energy is just a band-aid and not a solution:
Hut: Today we’re going to talk about a huge topic. We actually sent out an email to our list, and we probably had the most open rates that we’ve ever had when we were just discussing energy. Energy is something that we all need to master to be able to handle everything that is coming at us.
Hut: So, what is it… how can you improve energy? And how can you get your energy to an optimal level so that you feel like you can live the life that you want to live and be as active and focused, et cetera, as you want to be?
Dan: Great question. When somebody asks me, “Hey, Dan, how can I improve my energy?” I always have to ask some more questions because, what does energy mean to you? Do you want to be awake in the boardroom and alert and on track? Do you want to be able to sit at your computer and have focus and attention span?
Do you want to be better in the gym? Are you just too tired to work out? Or do you want to have energy to play with your kids? Or to be able to go on vacation, but make it an active vacation? Have fun on a hike or a safari or surf, or whatever it is that you want to do. So energy is different as it pertains to you.
Because energy… the only thing that you can take for strict energy is caffeine. That’ll kind of just hike you up. But people don’t have deficiencies in caffeine. Your lack of energy isn’t because you don’t have enough caffeine. It’s a band-aid.
You’re not actually solving the root problem, you’re slapping a band-aid on it and then just get an artificial source of energy each and every day. But you’re not looking at the true root of what is going to improve your energy. To get a little bit technical, but to bring some light to the conversation here, let’s talk about focus and attention span.
There is something that is known as neurotransmitters inside the brain. Neurotransmitters are ways in which your body sends signals from one brain cell to the next, but also signals from the brain to the body and the body to the brain. These are neurotransmitters. It’s a huge topic, but one neurotransmitter, in specific, is known as dopamine.
Dopamine is responsible for things like focus, attention span, motivation and drive. It’s really an energy, one, that’s caffeine free, right? But the problem is, a lot of people have low dopamine. We have to look at things nutritionally and supplementally to increase dopamine so you’re not just medicating yourself with caffeine every single day. A lot of people also feel like crap on caffeine.
A lot of people don’t want to have three coffees a day because it affects their sleep at night. We kind of modulate the situation by looking at neurotransmitter status. Without making it too complicated, in order to make dopamine, you need your bricks and mortar, right? You need the raw material.
There’s a raw material, amino acids, known as l-tyrosine and phenylalanine. Both of these can make the neurotransmitter that gives you motivation, drive and attention span. But, you need folic acid, vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium in order to convert these amino acids into dopamine. My question for you would be, how much tyrosine are your getting in per day?
Dan: Probably don’t know. How many B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid… What’s all this looking like? Because that’s going to determine your natural production of energy. Low energy is really common, but that does not make it normal. Normal, healthy bodies should have energy throughout the day.
It really just comes down to a few things, but it really comes down to your hormone status, what you’re eating, and sometimes it’s as simple as how well you’re sleeping. When someone says, “I have low energy,” one of my first questions is, “Okay, how well did you sleep last night?” “Oh, I slept terrible.” “Well, let’s work on that first.”
Hut: It’s the sleep.
Dan: Yeah, exactly.
Hut: That’s probably why right now the energy drink business has exploded.
Dan: Yeah, everybody is exhausted.
Hut: They’re exhausted and they go get their Red Bulls, they go get their Monster drinks and they get hooked on that stuff. But they are always in a fatigued state.
Hut: In some cases, adrenal fatigue because of that.
Dan: Yeah for sure. It is a type of an artificial energy. When you are reaching for energy drinks really often, you’re having a lot of sugar too. And a lot times when people are reaching for coffee, well they throw their sugar in it too. It doesn’t seem like a lot right there, but if you are having two, three cups a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, it ends up being a lot of sugar across the board. It’s something we want to decrease.
I want to back pedal a little bit. I’m not saying caffeine is bad for you. You can healthily have your coffee every single day, one to two cups—that’s normal—but you shouldn’t rely on it for energy. You shouldn’t run into a huge crash by 3:00 PM.
There are ways in which to increase your natural production of energy so that you have vitality. You don’t need a coffee all the time so that you can go about your day and not worry about if you’re going to have energy for that afternoon meeting with your client.
Hut: We’ve got to look at the whole picture, you know, sleep to hormone to what micronutrients you’re not getting. All of that plays into it, and when you get that laid out and identify what your body needs, then we can start to resolve that energy problem.
Dan: Yeah, exactly. I mean, with what I do and with what Hut does… I mean, you have to look at the person. I would love to say that we’ve got a new miracle pill for you that’s going to do everything. It just doesn’t work.
Hut: And the thing is, everybody falls for that every single time. I wish!
Dan: I wish too! I wouldn’t have a job! But I look, you have to look at the whole picture because everybody is so different. Like I said, how many different things of energy did I just say? For example, for resistance training, in order for you to burn to energy that you need during resistance training, to actually turn a carbohydrate into a form of physical energy, requires magnesium at six different steps in the process.
Magnesium is required at six different conversion steps so you can turn a carb into a form of energy. Again, that’s why I say it’s so for the person. Because what kind of energy is important to you—do you want to focus and be able to sit at the computer and be good at the boardroom? Or do you want to be good at resistance training? Or do you want both?
That’s why these answers kind of go all around the place because it’s so dependent on what the person behind the camera is telling me.
Hut: Got it, got it. Which, we want both. Because we want to able to focus, work, but then go kill it when we’re trying to exercise.
Dan: Yeah, for sure.
Hut: Well great! I hope that sheds some light on energy, huge topic. Probably could talk about that for years.
Hut: But hopefully that sheds a little bit of light on the things that we need to start to do to become more efficient at improving our energy and being overall a better you.
P.S. from Hut: Make sure you open all the e-mails I send you on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. Central Standard Time, for more solid info about how our Lab-Based Nutrition program is the blueprint to your best body over 40!