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NeilPorter

Low Energy Levels

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Hello Ironstrongers....

I have found myself with really low energy levels lately, just one poor nights sleep or lack of food at work and its a wasted gym session for me - cannot lift anything like I can on top form.

I have a very hectic job, I.T networking and support, mostly at our largest client so I am constantly under pressure as based at their site and have a stream of people knocking the server room door seeking assistance.

I am looking for ideas that meet the following criteria, mainly for lunch idea's but I am also looking for snack ideas, as I try and eat something at 10/12/2 through the day.

  • Simple to make as I am both plain lazy and pretty crap in the kitchen
  • Very filling, salads just dont cut it
  • Packed with energy to fuel a gym session and fight tiredness (I always assume carbs the best fuel?)
  • Can be cold or able to be reheated (got microwaves at work)
  • Cheap. Dont want lobster or fillet steaks, they are just too pricey

Its a hard criteria to meet - but am sure there are some people on here who are very good with nutrition, perhaps just ideas as to what you other busy people do for lunches?

For the most part I either have sandwiches off the delivery van, or go to the jacket potato stand down the road on gym days. I also have an unhealthy amount of energy drinks, these need to go really.

Macros, calories, etc just don't interest me - I am not on a cut nor a bulk, and don't monitor or track these things. I know I will be better off eating home made foods than shop/van bought stuff so will be benefiting from this anyway.

Cheers

Neil

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I'm far from being good with nutrition Neil but I have a couple of suggestions about food, as long as you don't mind calories and stuff.

Pasta is easy to cook and is a good source of energy, specially if you eat it with meat like bolognese style. You could make a lot of sauce and save it in your freezer for few meals. Same for rice and beans, quinoa or lentils, no special cooking skills needed. Potato salad with tuna is also easy to make. I posted a chili recipe in the food forum that is very simple and there is another one for liver that can suit your kitchen level.

Some days I'm jammed and have to settle for a sandwich at lunch but , if possible, I try to avoid the cold cuts and go for chicken breast, meatballs, cheesesteak or burgers. Anything that pays off when I'm under the bar.

As for the snacks, mixed nuts, peanut butter and celery, boiled eggs and cheese are good and will get you thru the day.

Not big on energy drinks but I heard these drinks could make you crash pretty hard.

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One of the best meals in my arsenal is what my family calls "meat & macaroni". We have it almost every week because it's such an easy meal, kids are guaranteed to eat it and I will always have leftovers for lunch.

  • In a frying pan, cook mince (ground) beef with some onion, garlic. Cook till meat is starting to get crispy
  • Once cooked, add some cans of tomatoes and tomato paste. My ratio is about 1 can tomatoes per 4-500g (~1 lbs) of meat. We buy some 'savoury' tomatoes, with some spices in it, which makes it tastier and even easier. Leave to simmer for a bit
  • Throw in some cooked macaroni once you're done and serve

Kids love it, easy, cheap, heats up nicely, high in protein. You can add some more veg to it if you like i.e. frozen stuff. Great post-WO meal and, for a non-WO day, I don't eat the pasta. I always make extra to have the next day for lunch.

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I also say pasta, I eat it a few times a week coz its easy,cheap and quick to make and it can be beef/chicken/salmon and you can add some vegetables as well - and can easily be stored and reheated the next day. lol cant give any recipes coz I'm not that great of a cook myself and mostly my girlfriend makes dinner.

I have also struggled with low energy the past few months, I'm a student and usually study till late at night with about 5-6hours of sleep, so last month I decided to get some multi-vitamins and omega 3,6,9 supplements and that has really helped me a lot and I dont feel nearly as tired as I usually did. Lol dont know maybe you are already taking those supplements??

And also with regards to the energy drinks, I used to drink alot of those Monster energy drinks but it makes me crash so hard I decided to rather stop drinking it. So now whenever I really feel tired I rather drink an espresso just before working out and works very well with no crash afterwards.

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Sounds like you have a lot of stress on your job, make sure you make time to relax and sleep enough first. But I probably sound like your mom right now.

In my mind, more calories = more energy, so a salad won't help you much. Pasta is a nutritional and tasty meal and quick to prepare. Also, there's a lot of sugar and even cafeine in dark chocolate (not milk or white), so eating lots of that might help.

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Thanks guys - so far key is

Drop energy drinks

Make pasta salads and pack out with meat or tuna and veggies (peppers/sweetcorn an obvious choice)

Snack on

Mixed nuts

Dark chocolate

Cheese

Have Got multivitamins and cod liver oil and glucosamine, but no omega 3/6/9

I will be tracking diet to be sure I am getting enough each day - I said I wasn't but it is clear that to do this properly I have to do so...

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Thanks for recipe Bluestreak - looks easy enough for even me...

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You can make your own trail mix in a big ziplock bag. Dump in almonds (roasted & salted being the best of course), raisins/dried cranberries (or any dried fruit), granola, puumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. Maybe a little less protein than you'd like but definitely easy and packed with energy.

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Tuna/prawns with veggies is great for lunch, that's normally what I have, along with 2 boiled eggs and half an avocado.

I snack on 50g of unsalted nuts which is an easy 300 cals, bananas are also great an hour or so before workout.

Dinner wise, if I'm having a heavy lifting day I'll often pop a jacket potato in the oven before the gym and have it with tuna and cheese when I get in, that gives a good post workout meal and is dead easy.

I hope this might help mate

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Don't supplement with Omega-6, as there is plenty in your daily food. Omega-3 is what you need.

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I like rice cakes and oat cakes for a convient source of carbs. I basically use them instead of bread. Lunch might be chicken, salad and a bunch of rice cakes and fruit.

Also what about protein powders or meal replacement powders. They only take a minute to prepare if you are busy at work.

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@Scott- great idea actually, would make a much more energy packed snack and cheaper than buying it or things like flapjacks

@ Rich - thanks mate, Jacket spuds are something I should make more of at home after training

@Kakty3 - cheers, and I will also get some of this supplements as you mentioned in my log

@ Mark - rice and oat cakes sounds good...fruit I need to get more of.

Hadn't even thought of making a meal rep or protein shake...I will start taking some powder to work

Cheers all. :D

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