Folks, we are tired. This is probably not a (yawn!) news flash to most of us. The average American gets less sleep than 20 years ago, and one-third of us report sleeping less than seven hours a night. And this does not include moms with young kids, for whom anything approaching seven hours sounds like nirvana. Add increasing levels of stress to chronic sleep deprivation, and you get a national fatigue nightmare. No wonder that some 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men confessed to low energy and being “very tired or exhausted” most days of the week, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control a few years ago.

While there are numerous valid medical reasons for fatigue and exhaustion (thyroid issues, clinical depression, poor nutrition, heart conditions, medicine side effects, to name just a few), many of us otherwise healthy Americans still feel like we’re running on fumes. So we reach for dark chocolate and caffeine (dropping $2.24 billion on cans of Red Bull in 2016 alone), trying to prime the pump. Instead, what we really need is a tune up.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

So often, our approach to exercise and energy is focused on one thing: burning calories and expending energy. The more, the better, right? Work out longer and harder and get better results, yes? Well, not exactly. Sometimes, you just get left behind. I’ve learned the hard way—on a 40-mile bike ride when my quads were spent and I “bonked” (as we say in cycling), which meant I couldn’t keep up with the group and faced a long, lonely, painful trek home. I was far from energized after that ride—and humiliated to boot.

The trick is to exercise your muscles and body in a way that doesn’t leave you zapped and listless, but leaves you pumped, and energized. But how?

Related: Your Workouts Really Don’t Need to Be That Long

Elev8d Fitness: A Natural Energy Boost

Created by the experts at Sonima, 
Elev8d Fitness workouts are designed to reset postural alignment and balance muscle engagement. The dynamic, multi-directional movements align the body and fire the larger, deeper muscles in your body, not just the smaller, surface ones. When your body is aligned, your core muscle groups can fully turn on and work at 100 percent capacity.

Here’s another common example: you sit all day at a desk with your back rounded and your shoulders slumped. After work, you head out for a long run. You are, more likely than not, running with dysfunctional posture—running with that same rounded back and slumped shoulders. Exercising from a place of postural dysfunction means that you’re effort is coming from the wrong muscles. 

When you use your deeper, core muscles (for example: the hip flexors and the psoas), your body burns more energy in a shorter amount of time. This requires more oxygen—the fuel for our muscles—for those bigger muscle groups. When these large, foundational muscles are oxygenated, you burn energy more efficiently and feel more energetic. Working these larger muscle groups with proper alignment actually recharges your body.

Endurance athletes such as long distance runners and cyclists tend to overuse one or two muscle groups, and are typically lean and frequently exhausted. Studies have shown that sustained effort over long periods of time can raise cortisol (stress hormone) to unhealthy levels (all exercise induces a stress-response, pumping up cortisol which then goes back down), and when cortisol gets out of whack, fatigue can result. But shorter, low-intensity intervals, like the Elev8d Fitness workouts, engage the deeper core muscles to keep cortisol in check.

Related: Low Intensity Interval Training: Better Results by Doing Less 

So, work smarter when it comes to exercise. There is a place for building endurance and many athletes, myself included, enjoy the mental and physical benefits of a long bike ride or run. But to be more efficiently energized, engage your deep, larger muscles in shorter, more focused workouts. The goal should be to get more out of your day and your life, not just your workout.


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