Everybody knows that an important part of a weight loss plan and of a healthy lifestyle in general is exercise. But sometimes (a lot of the time!) exercise can feel like the last thing you want to do. Even a walk to work or a game with the kids can feel like a chore.
Of course, the irony of this situation is that we want to work out to lose weight, but being overweight sometimes means we don’t have the energy to exercise. In every dieter’s life there comes that awkward-to-nearly-impossible phase in which it takes more energy to work out than we have.
In order to get through the misty realms of obesity-related fatigue and depression, and into the land of natural energy and vitality, we may become interested in the enlightening world of supplements.
Everywhere we turn we see ads and claims that an assortment of herbs, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes can give us the much-needed energy we are looking for. And some supplements can be a good choice as long as we understand what we are taking.
Supplements have a wide range of benefits, including:
- Weight loss
- Lowered cholesterol
- Regulated blood pressure
- Regulated blood sugar
- More energy
- Better sleep patterns
- Clearer thinking
- Better appearance
- Stronger immune system
- And much, much more
Energy and sport supplements often come in the form of bars or drinks. More often than not, these food replacement supplements give you energy by hitting your body with large amounts of carbohydrates or sugar.
These supplement types work great if you are a super-athlete training for the Olympics. However, if you’re not burning thousands of calories a day, they are a very expensive way of getting food energy you can easily get from natural foods like bananas, legumes, or even chocolate. The fact is that these products will give you a short energy boost of about a half hour, but will do little to improve your overall level of vitality.
Other supplements claim to offer increased energy and exercise performance because they flood your body with caffeine or ephedra. These naturally occurring chemicals will give you a hard, fast energy boost, but it won’t last.
Caffeine and ephedra, although potentially helpful for short-term weight loss, are generally more addictive and damaging to your body than helpful. Always read supplement labels carefully, and if the ingredients mention caffeine or ephedra, then it may be best to stay away.
There are also some vitamins and enzymes that our bodies may get just enough of when on a restrictive weight loss diet, however, a little daily boost can do a lot to improve our energy, alertness, and overall physical and mental performance.
B vitamins are one of these. A compound supplement containing vitamins such as B12, Biotin, and Folic Acid can potentially help our bodies burn fuel and produce increased levels of red blood cells, factors which play a major role in improving our energy level.
In the world of energy-beneficial enzymes, NADH is the star of the moment. NADH is the active form of the B3 vitamin. It works to convert the food you eat into energy, something your body does naturally, but which can be significantly increased by the use of a NADH supplement.
As with all supplements, it is important to consult your doctor and get all the facts before starting on a regular treatment program. The same is true for herbal energy supplements. Although herbs are often treated more as food than medicine, they can be surprisingly powerful.
Herbal formulas containing substances such as ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and bee pollen are all popular natural energy boosters with some evidence supporting their beneficial properties.
The key to benefiting from these supplements is to be sure that you are buying a very high quality product. Because herbs are so trendy these days, it is easy to get sucked in by cheaply made products. Unfortunately, these are generally low quality, and may even contain toxins.
Once you know what to look out for, you can start looking for a healthful supplement that will work for you. The first thing you might want to find out is if you are experiencing any deficiencies.
Many people experience mental tiredness, poor coordination, and other symptoms of fatigue due to a deficiency of iron or magnesium in their bodies. Generally speaking, a small increase in daily intake of iron or magnesium, such as can be had from a multivitamin, may help to improve the overall energy level.
Other vitamin deficiencies can be made up with the right supplements. Before you buy vitamin supplements, however, make sure you’re shopping at a reputable location and are selecting all-natural supplements without any fillers.