9Round Fitness Blog
Dump the Afternoon Slump
We’ve all been there, you’re sitting at your desk, or worse, driving in the car, and it hits you - the dreaded afternoon slump. It usually manifests in drowsiness, inability to focus, or even cravings for junk food. And, if we’re being totally honest, sometimes it’s all three. So, what do you do? You react by grabbing a cup of coffee or a soda, or hit the vending machine up for a Snickers (because you’re not you when you’re hungry.) But what if, instead of being reactive, you could be proactive and prevent the afternoon slump from happening in the first place?
A healthy, unprocessed diet that contains foods like raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins, coupled with a great exercise program, is a recipe for an energized day. But there are many other factors that can make you feel sleepy — a bad night’s sleep, stressful work situations, hormonal imbalances, just to name a few. These factors can influence how you feel at different times of the day. However, the most likely culprit of your after-lunch sleepiness is your digestive system.
When you eat, your blood rushes to your digestive system to pick up nutrients and aid in digestion. This natural process limits the amount of fresh blood and oxygen previously used to keep you alert, resulting in a sleepy feeling. Your body is too busy digesting food to give you energy. But what can you do about that? You have to eat, right? Right. That’s why the food with which you’re choosing to fuel your body, and the frequency in which you eat are so important, if you want to be on top of your game all day long.
Here are a few tips from the 9Round Nutrition Manual to help you fuel your body for success and dump the afternoon slump:
1. Watch what you eat — Fresh raw vegetables and easily digestible protein (fish, beans, nuts and seeds) are your best choices. Avoid sugary foods like cakes and pastries that will give you a quick sugar rush and have you crashing 20 minutes later.
2. Size and frequency matters — Instead of fueling your body with three large meals a day, or worse – skipping breakfast, eat several smaller, well-balanced meals throughout the course of the day. In order to help stabilize your blood sugar and prevent the afternoon slump, it’s best to eat within one hour of waking, and every three hours after that.
3. Be active— Regular exercise has so many benefits, including boosting your energy levels. If you think that working out is just going to make you more tired, it’s actually just the opposite. In addition to releasing feel-good endorphins, exercise actually boosts your metabolism and aids in digestion. All you need is 30 minutes, three times a week at 9Round and you’ll be on your way to beating the slump.
4. Stay hydrated — We’ve talked about the importance of hydration before, and it bears repeating. Especially since 75% of the American population suffers from chronic dehydration! Drinking a gallon of water each day is ideal for your system to function optimally. And remember that both alcoholic and caffeinated drinks are diuretics, so drink plenty of water should you choose to indulge.
Breaking up is never an easy thing to do. “It’s not you, it’s me.” “I feel like we’re growing apart.” However you say it, it’s time to dump the afternoon slump. You deserve better.