It’s not rocket science: how you treat your body impacts how your body treats you. If you fuel your body properly, you will operate optimally. If you fuel it poorly, you can expect to be sluggish, foggy, and possibly even sick or in pain throughout the day.
Fueling your body can mean a lot of things––what you feed it, how you move it, and what steps you take to reset your system every now and again. Because we’re all looking for ways to feel and be better, we reached out to the experts for their top tips on keeping your body fueled up with extra extreme premium gas.
Want to know how to keep yourself feeling your very best? Here are 11 unexpected ways you could be fueling your body better, according to the experts:
1. Keep an eye on your hunger.
Not paying attention to your hunger can often lead to fatigue and an overall lack of fuel for your body. Think about hunger and fullness on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being starving and 10 being extremely stuffed. The goal is to stay somewhere in the middle.
When you first notice hunger cues, such as your stomach growling, your energy lacking, or feeling irritable, it’s probably time to eat something. Ignoring hunger for too long can lead to missing your daily caloric needs and underfueling your body.
Mackenzie Burgess, Registered Dietitian, Be Cheerful
When your go-to energy booster is a morning cup of coffee, an energy drink, or even a prepackaged green smoothie from the convenience store, you’re relying on artificial stimulants that almost always end in a big energy crash later in the day.
Sugar-packed energy drinks with artificial stimulants can mess with your normal hormonal balance. Instead, you should focus on natural energy-fixes. Coconut oil, for instance, is a great source of natural energy and can be added to just about any recipe.
Instead of reaching for a caffeinated cup of Joe, try a low-caffeine green tea for your morning shot of energy. By swapping out artificial stimulants with more natural ones, you'll balance out your hormones, experience fewer mood-swings, and sleep better at night.
Ashlee Van Buskirk, Founder, Whole Intent
Starchy vegetables, like potatoes and sweet potatoes, are staples for athletes, which is how you know they’re so good for you too. These delicious root vegetables are packed with potassium (for replacing electrolytes lost throughout the day) and Vitamin C (for immunity defense).
You can always fortify your potatoes with quick added protein. Try pairing your baked potato with a can of tuna or chicken, or for a sweeter snack, top a sweet potato with nut butter, cinnamon, and antioxidant-packed dark chocolate.
Lacy Ngo, MS, RDN, Be Mindful
4. It’s time to get moving.
Movement is the medicine our bodies need to maintain health and longevity. In fact, most systems in the body require motion to work optimally. We should all find ways to get moving and stay active in our day-to-day lives. Remember: the best fitness routine is the one that works for you in the long term.
Cathy Spencer-Browning, VP of Programming and Training at MOSSA
One of the best ways to fuel your body is to start adding more fiber to your meals. The World Health Organization suggests including 30 different plants a week in your meals. Not only will this fuel your body, but it will also encourage healthy gut bacteria! Increasing fiber in your diet will help you avoid constipation, bloating, and sugar cravings throughout the day.
Alexandra Soare, Registered Dietitian, Food On Mars
If you don’t have time to fill up on veggies, KOR Shot’s Gut Check can help you build the healthy bacteria you need to encourage optimal gut health. With 1 billion CFU probiotics (and the mother included), this healthy blend of apple cider vinegar and fresh California lemons will help fuel your brain and body through better digestion.
6. Be a creative cook.
The best tip to fuel your body is to be a creative cook. Feeding your body healthy foods, enriched with vitamins and minerals, boosts function and fitness. When you prepare your own foods, you’re more mindful of the ingredients, such as including lots of fresh fruits and veggies and swapping out butter for health-healthy olive oil. Cooking from scratch ensures your meals are fresh and preservative–free. You can even modify your meals in response to your body’s needs at the moment, such as adding grains when you need extra recovery.
Darryl Higgins, Founder, Athlete Desk
7. Protein boosts recovery before bed.
Consuming 40 grams of quality whey or casein protein before bed can promote lean muscle growth, increase strength, reduce recovery time, and improve metabolic rate––all while you sleep. During your precious REM cycles, protein keeps fat metabolism high to prevent you from gaining weight; it also helps decrease hunger in the morning. A win-win!
Garret Seacat, C.S.C.S., Owner of Absolute Endurance
Get the most out of your sleep recovery with KOR Shot’s Sweet Dreams. Containing 1 mg of melatonin and 400 mg chamomile, this dreamy elixir can help deepen your sleep, so your body can repair and metabolize to the fullest.
One of the most effective ways to fuel your body and improve overall energy is to do a mini cleanse. You don’t have to starve yourself––simply avoid dairy, wheat, refined sugar, alcohol and excessive fat for five to ten days. Your liver will thank you!
Jonathan Glass, M.Ac. Ayurvedic Practitioner, Healing Essence Center
Of course, the best body-fueling protein options are the natural ones, like fish, chicken, turkey, and tofu. But when you don’t have time to prepare these ingredients, you can always turn to a protein shake.
Warning: not all protein shakes are created equal. The pre-packaged ones are typically packed with unnecessary sugars, that give you a quick burst of energy, but leave you struggling later.
The best lean protein shakes are the ones you make at home. Invest in a powerful blender like a Vitamix or Ninja blender and mix protein powder (I like pea powder) with either a fruit or vegetable and then a healthy source of fat, like avocado. Add some spices to boost the flavor, and you've got a great body-fueling shake you can drink at any time.
Rex Freiberger, CEO of Discuss Diets
When you don’t have time to bust out the Vitamix, our Restore shot can provide a quick boost of vitamins for recovery. This gorgeously pink blend of dragon fruit and pineapple was developed to help aid in restoring optimal health.
Many people focus on the 3-5 hours a week they spend using their body at the gym and ignore the 40-60 hours a week they spend slumping over a computer.
Unfortunately, your workday tension habits and forward head posture inevitably show up and affect your workouts, how you play with your kids, and how good you feel in the rest of your life. Getting an ergonomic work set-up with your screen raised to eye level, your keyboard low and close, and a firm flat chair is an important first step, but it won't magically stop you from slumping.
Start paying attention to how you hold yourself all day, especially your head and neck, and all the times you get drawn forward into your screen. Letting go of that tension and returning to your full height will have a huge impact on your stiffness, stress levels, and long-term joint health.
Kevin Munhall, Founder, Habit Disruption
11. Drink lots and lots of water.
We’ve been taught to drink eight glasses of water per day, but most bodies actually need more than that. On average, women should be drinking about 12 glasses of water per day, while men should consume about 15. This simple habit fuels circulation and boosts strength by relaxing muscles with increment water intake
- Focus Fuel for replacing artificial stimulants, like coffee and energy drinks
- Gut Check for fueling your body through better digestion
- Sweet Dreams for deeper sleep that encourages metabolism and repair
- Restore for a quick dose of recovery