Happy New Year!
Since 2005, we’ve all seen the 5 Hour Energy commercials that depict office workers needing an afternoon “jolt” to carry them from “Sluggish” Time to Quittin’ Time.
However, this past week, I’ve seen two different commercials where early risers are trying to get up the energy to workout and instead of eating a nutritious breakfast; they reach for a “shot” of 5 Hour Energy.
At first, I must admit I didn’t think much about it. Later, I even considered giving it a try and reporting back to you as to my experience. But, the more I thought about it, the more irritated I became. While the marketing strategy is genius, the intended application is ridiculous.
Yes, it’s true that caffeine can be a quick and immediate source of energy. In fact, there is no bigger advocate of a cup(s) of coffee in the morning than I. However, the energy needed to exercise is much different than the energy needed to perform “simple” brain function activities such as studying or concentrating during a meeting. Now, don’t go crazy! I am not, in any way, shape or form, minimizing the need for energy by those of you who need to do those types of activities on a regular basis or for hours at a time.
However, I am saying, that the body (muscles in particular) need to be “awake” as well as the brain when one exercises. And if one doesn’t provided them the energy they need (food; carbohydrates to be exact), no amount of caffeine will help in lifting weights (or even running) without increasing the risk of injury.
I know some of you are saying that you workout in the morning and there is no time to eat. But if you get up just 15 minutes earlier and eat a piece of fruit, by the time you get dressed and arrive at the gym, the sugar will actually be a more beneficial source of energy than the caffeine. Because, as you know, sugar (more specifically, glycogen) is what ultimately helps your muscles contract effectively. And don’t worry about the calories…you’ll burn them off soon after your workout begins.
But for sustainable energy, a real nutritious breakfast like oatmeal, fruit and a cup of non-fat milk provides best results. However, in order for that meal to convert into fuel, an additional 90 minutes is required from the first bite start of the first set.
So, can you use both? Sure! I think a perfect pre-workout combination is a “nutritious” meal consumed in conjunction with whatever gets your motivational engines goin’, whether it is 5 Hour Energy, a Cup of Joe or some other product (legal, of course) that helps you get “amped” before a workout.
The bottom line? A shot of 5 Hour Energy may be good for keeping your boss off your butt. However, for trying to keep inches off it, opt for Nature’s Energy…food.