The Best Energy Drink
Yesterday in the gym, I saw a girl drinking a sugar-free Red Bull. All in the name of "energy", I bet.
But is Red Bull really an energy drink? What about coffee? Tea? Gatorade? Milk? Protein powders?
Technically, some of those are and some aren't. By definition, an 'energy' drink really should contain energy - and by that I mean, calories. So tea, coffee, sugar-free Red Bull, and diet soda are not energy drinks, by that definition.
But really, when people talk about energy levels, they are really referring to their level of mental alertness or mental arousal. (And find out how exercise can increase your alertness below...)
And when people generally think about energy drinks, they are referring to products that contain caffeine.
The problem with many energy drinks is that they contain too much sugar or too much caffeine. So while the short-term effects are huge increases in energy (i.e. feeling wired or even jittery), the longer term effects can be a crash and burn in your energy.
Everybody's suffered the "energy crash" after having too much caffeine or sugar. One minute you are bouncing around getting things done, and the next, you just want to slump into a chair and zonk out.
That's why my vote for the best energy drink goes to Green Tea. With smaller amounts of caffeine than coffee, and no sugar, Green Tea tends to give you a more sustained and less dramatic increase in mental alertness (also known as energy for our purposes).
Plus, the list of health benefits of Green Tea is getting longer every day. I have at least 3 cups of Green Tea each day. It's a great replacement for coffee, soda, and diet sodas. After all, you never know what the 'scientific study of the day' is going to say about sodas and coffee, but you always know that the Green Tea research is going to be positive.
(You can also choose decaf Green Tea, but depending on the decaffenation process, you could lose some of the health benefits).
Two other 'energy-supporting' drinks are protein shakes and good old water. Neither of these will boost your energy levels dramatically, but more importantly, they won't sap your energy levels either.
Plus, everyone should know by now the importance of getting enough protein and enough water each day.
So if you are slumping mid-morning or late in the afternoon, here's what I would use as my energy-boosting, increased productivity snack.
1 cup of Green Tea (organic if possible)
2 cups of ice-cold water (I have to have it cold!)
1 scoop of protein powder in 1.5 cups of water
1oz of almonds
That will get you through your meeting, your commute to the gym, or through the last phases of whatever project you are working on. I guarantee it, it works for me, or at least it does according to the readers...
And exercise can also give you a boost. The next time you need an instant 'pick me up', try going through a 5-minute bodyweight circuit one time instead of ordering up a coffee. I guarantee you'll be wide-eyed and ready to rock thanks to these bodyweight exercises. And you'll have a sustained energy boost without the crash and burn.
Use a healthy lifestyle to increase your energy.
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Mens Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com.