It seems all of us want more energy to do more stuff.
But what does this really mean? What is ‘energy’ from a physiological human-metabolism perspective? What does it mean to have “more energy”, and can we augment our human energy?
And even if we have more energy — towards which ends do we desire to channel this energy into?
Let me essay some of my thoughts:
Putting our muscles in motion
It seems we want to do more, become more, and exert more of our physical energy and force.
Thus the first thing is this:
We desire to MOVE MORE, act more, lift more, and exert more of our physiological strength and power.
What exhausts us?
Before we can talk about augmenting human energy, let us talk about what SAPS our energy.
Sleep deprivation is bad.
If you want maximal energy, you need lots of sleep. Optimally for myself, I prefer 10-12 hours a night. The harder I go, the harder I must sleep.
Consider, if you want to augment your human energy, you MUST sleep to your personal maximum. If you only slept 2 hours the prior night, of course you cannot accomplish as much today. I find the naive attempt to minimize the amount of sleep is insane. Many people claim to only sleep 5-6 hours a night. That is fine. But if you can sleep more, why not?
Limited metabolic energy
In a given day, we only have a certain amount of metabolic and human energy we can expend.
Thus part of our human energy is this:
Once we expend some energy during the day, we will have less and less energy as the day goes on.
I think human energy is like a smartphone battery. You start the day with 100%. But as the day goes on, your battery will drain.
So perhaps another thought:
Don’t do anything or engage in certain activities during the day which you don’t care about (because these activities will drain your human battery power percentage).
Most of us think about stimulants to “get more energy”. For example, drinking caffeine, coffee, tea, cocoa powder, etc.
How does a stimulant work? Well, the theory behind how coffee/tea/caffeine works is this:
Caffeine is a natural pesticide that coffee plants and tea plants have. When predators (bugs) try to consume the plants, the caffeine kills them. But when humans consume (a small dosage of this caffeine poison), it stimulates us.
So the basic notion of stimulants is this:
A small dose of poison stimulates us, energizes us, and hypes us up.
Thus if you want to augment your human energy during the day, consume some types of poison during the day which increases your adrenaline response.
Avoid food coma
Have you ever had a huge bowl of pasta or a massive pizza for lunch, then fall into “food coma” for the next 2-3 hours? Yes. This is the infamous “insulin secretion” which our body does:
When we consume a lot of sugar or carbohydrates, our body injects insulin into our bloodstream, which causes us to “crash” afterwards.
In praise of intermittent fasting
Also– I have personally discovered intermittent fasting as the ultimate way to gain energy during the day.
Why? When you fast during the day, you prevent getting food coma. Also, your energy-levels are more stable throughout the day. Of course you still get some hunger pangs during the day, but I actually find that hunger stimulates me — hunger sharpens me, hunger sharpens my mind, hunger makes my muscles stronger (I never eat anything before lifting weights — I believe in ‘fasting powerlifting’), and I actually have a motivation to move (hunger as a motivator towards movement).
Consider — does a lion eat a granola bar before hunting a gazelle? No. The hunger MOTIVATES the lion to hunt the gazelle. And once the lion hunts and kills the gazelle, and feasts on the gazelle, the lion falls victim to ‘food coma’ for the next 8 hours, and sleeps the rest of the day.
Thus for myself, I strive to eat as little food as humanly possible during the day. I personally strive to break my fast at around 6-8pm, when I consume a MASSIVE MEAL with TONS OF MEAT, tons of greens (kale, collard greens), fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut). Then I get a nice “food coma”, then I go straight to sleep (ideally I would sleep at around 9-10pm).
Intermittent fasting tips
What to do if you want to fast during the day? Some tips:
- Drink lots of black coffee (no sugar, no cream, no milk or weird almond/soy/oatmilk substitutes).
- To conquer a hunger pang, the irony is to go to the gym and lift some weights. When I’m very hungry, and I go to the gym and lift weights, I actually become less hungry, and can extend my fast.
- Drink 100% cocoa powder: It is like hot chocolate. Just mix it with hot water. And the great thing about cocoa powder — it is also a stimulant (similar to coffee/caffeine).
- Eat 100% dark chocolate, with zero grams of sugar: Another way to extend your intermittent fasting — just eat a (very bitter) 100% dark chocolate, with 0 grams of sugar.
Music is good.
It is obvious that music is good at hyping us up, amping us up, and augmenting our human energy. I generally prefer high-intensity hip hop. Eminem, JAY Z, Kanye West, Dr. Dre, DaBaby, 6ix9ine, Pusha T, Meek Mill, Kendrick Lamar are some of my favorites.
How do you know if music is good or not? For me:
If your music motivates you to dance, bob, shake your head, and move — it is good!
What are the best headphones? For myself, I prefer ‘in-ear monitors’. Maximally small, great bass response, and they isolate noise from outside.
If we consider human energy is physiological (comes from our body), what is a good way to hype ourselves up?
Take an icy-cold shower.
When I wake up, the first thing I do is an icy cold shower. If I want another energy boost during the mid-day, I will take a cold shower. I also take a cold shower before sleeping at night.
Why cold showers?
When you take a cold shower, consider your body’s physiological response. Your body must react by producing heat. Your muscles start to shiver in order to produce heat. Your body starts to burn the “brown adipose tissue” (body fat) in order to heat up your body. Your heart rate increases. Your pupils (probably) dilate. To me, having an icy cold shower is almost equivalent to taking a triple-shot of espresso.
Thus if you want to maximize your human energy during the day, take more cold showers.
Another very practical tip:
To maximize your energy, don’t sit.
Either stand, or if you want to sleep or take a nap (lie on your back).
For example, I am a devotee of a ‘standing desk’. I am far more focused and productive when standing and using my laptop, or even standing while using my iPad.
If your legs are tired, go for a walk. Or if you’re really tired, lie on your back and take a nap.
Whenever possible, stand. Even better than standing — move, walk, and skip and dance around!
This is one thing I have discovered:
After working out, I actually get a MASSIVE BOOST of energy (instead of becoming more tired).
This seems a bit counter-intuitive, because to exercise requires energy. But at the same time, when we exercise, we stimulate certain human growth hormones, we hype ourselves up, etc. Therefore if your goal is to augment your human energy in a single day, it seems that to exercise at least once a day is a good one.
I personally discovered that working out later in the day is beneficial to me. I prefer to wakeup fresh, and use my mornings to directly do creative work. When I get “stir crazy” at home, I then walk to the gym and workout (usually anywhere between 2-4pm).
What are the best exercises to get us hyped up?
I don’t think you should do any exercises you don’t enjoy. If exercising feels more like torture than pleasure, experiment with different workouts or forms of exercise until you find one you really really enjoy, and you find insanely fun!
For me, I prefer powerlifting. To me, it is the combination of zen-focus and meditation, physical exertion, which is maximally interesting and non-boring. For me, these lifts include deadlift, squat, and heavy dumbbell press (or benchpress).
What is “health”? To me, it is having maximal physical and physiological energy during the day, to maximize your creative and artistic output.
Now a question I still got on my mind:
Can we increase our capacity for energy? For example, let us say that our energy levels is like a 1,000 MAH battery. Can we train ourselves to become like a 10,000 MAH battery?
This will be the topic of a future essay.
Anyways in the meanwhile, never stop augmenting your human energy!