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Energy



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Energy is defined to be the ability to do work. We need energy for everything, and we seek ways to be more energetic to be more efficient and feel better. We all know that when we are full of energy, we can perform better and enjoy our daily lives more. The lack of energy leads to a lower mood and challenges our performance level. We all love to be energetic rather than tired and drained.

As a well-being coach energy from the perspective of performance has always interested me. Not only regarding sports performance but in business and daily life, whatever activities personal life is required. Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz (2001) have presented the “High performance pyramid” which presents how to achieve a high-performance level from the perspective of energy (Tamati 2016). High performance pyramid (TOP performance Pyramid) has been presented in PICTURE 1 below:

High performance pyramid is built in the following way:

 

Foundation level: Physical Energy

At the base of the pyramid is physical energy. This includes aspects such as sleep, nutrition, exercise, and overall physical well-being. Maintaining and enhancing physical energy is crucial for sustained high performance.

Second Level: Emotional energy

Emotional energy represents the ability to manage emotions effectively. This includes self-awareness, emotional resilience, and the capacity to create positive emotions. The authors argue that understanding and channelling emotions constructively is vital for optimal performance.

Third Level: Mental Energy

Mental energy involves the ability to focus and manage one’s cognitive resources. This level includes skills such as goal-setting, time management, and the ability to concentrate. The importance of mental energy for sustained productivity.

Top-level: Spiritual Energy

At the peak of the pyramid is spiritual energy. This doesn’t necessarily refer to religious or spiritual beliefs but instead to a sense of purpose, meaning, and alignment with one’s values. The authors contend that having a clear sense of purpose provides a powerful source of motivation and energy.

The Performance Pyramid by Loehr and Schwartz is a model that suggests that optimizing each level of energy contributes to overall well-being and sustained high performance. 

(Harward Business Review 2001 and Tamati 2016.)

 

The core of the TOP performance comes from physical energy

As presented in the high-performance pyramid, the ability to perform at the top level requires the base of energy, physical energy. The foundation and base of our physical energy comes from the basics of physical well-being: rest (sleep), nutrition (food) and activity (exercise). This trio is known as the saint trinity of physical well-being (PICTURE 2). 

Well-being and wellness are based on physical, mental and social aspects. These three compose the triangle of well-being that covers all aspects of our lives. 

Now, we focus on the foundation of energy and physical well-being: sleep, nutrition and activity. If you want to be more energetic, I recommend you to take a look at these three things and think would there be some space for improvement, especially, if you feel that you have been lacking some energy or you feel you would benefit from some upgrading of your habits regarding of wellness. 

Sleep is the priority number one!

Sleep has a magical power, and it is a main resource for energy, cognitive functions, emotional management, physical power and overall development. It is not a coincidence that babies are sleeping all the time, and they are growing fast! Additionally, when we are sick, we need to rest to recover and get healthy. No wonder why, sleep is the core of our well-being and energy.

However, something strange happens to us when we are growing up and start to manage our own lives: We cut our sleeping hours to be able to do something else. Even though we know all (or mainly) those benefits that sleep gives to us and how important it is for memory, health in general and for example learning skills. Still, I hear continuously how people lack their sleeping hours and there are just a few people who sleep 8 hours per night. Hopefully, you do. 

(By the way, if you think that you manage it less than 8 hours, it has been researched that the amount of people that need less than 7 hours sleep at night is approximately 0%).

Hence, first things first when you lack energy and you want to perform better: sleep more! If your habit has been to pinch from your sleep to do something else, ponder carefully if it is the right place to cut. Changing the habit of sleeping routines and night routines can be exhausting at first when you learn about new habits, but it is worth it. My tips for better sleeping habits are:

  • Set your phone to night or flight mood for example, at 9 pm every night. That way you teach yourself to start to get to a sleeping mood. This is recommended to apply to any electronic devices. 
  • Calm your nights by having relaxing music, avoiding working or using social media or watching TV late. Even though exercising is very recommended, a tough workout can affect negatively your sleep by putting adrenaline kick into your body. Easy workouts like walking outside or some stretching can improve sleep and help to relax the body to fall asleep.
  • Reduce caffeine! Sorry for us all caffeine and coffee lovers: Coffee is not a friend of sleep. If you have challenges getting sleep and calming yourself at night, check when and how much you have caffeine during the day. Because of the period of decay of caffeine, it can be the case that there is still caffeine in your body to disturb your sleeping routines. Avoid caffeine after 4 pm and if that does not work, try 2 pm. For me, for example, noon is the latest time to have coffee or other high-caffeine products if I want to go to sleep at 10 pm. This is personal and part of our genetics: Some people are more sensitive to caffeine and some can have a night coffee and still sleep properly. One more thing about caffeine: If you cannot wake up without your cup of coffee, there is a chance that you just don’t get enough sleep. 

Nutrition and food

Nutrition is important to physical energy because it provides the necessary fuel, supports metabolic processes, regulates blood sugar levels, supplies essential nutrients, and contributes to overall health and well-being. A balanced and varied diet is key to ensuring the body receives the nutrients it needs to sustain optimal physical energy levels. 

Healthy food that supports your well-being is vegetable-based, rich in vitamins and fibre, and includes a suitable level of energy regarding your body’s needs. For the majority of people, four or five meals per day are suggested to keep energy levels in a good state and also support stable blood sugar as well as a hunger-fill effect. 

In summary, adding vegetables and fibre are things to try to improve healthy nutrition habits. Regarding researchers, people do not eat the recommended amount of vegetables per day (500-800g), so that might be your case as well. In addition, just reminding you about water: Check that you get 1,5-2 litres of water per day. 

Physical activity and exercise

Humanbeing’s body is meant to be moved and that is why it requires exercising or any physical activation to be healthy and energetic. It is important to understand that physical activity does not necessarily mean working out or fitness, but something to activate your body. That can be walking or doing some daily activities to get steps and muscle activation during the day. Even some basic stretching during the day and simply standing up from the bench are important. 

Seated positions make hip flexors tight as well as weaken glute muscles which can cause problems in the hip area in the long term. Additionally, statistical upper body positions like working with a computer cause easily tight pectoral muscles and can negatively to posture and lead to back problems, for example. 

Besides of physical effects of inactivity, there are also other functions of movement. As stated, the human body is meant to move and therefore it is used to that. If we work just with our brains and do thinking work all day long, energy is packed in our heads. This can cause over-activity and feelings of restlessness or even anxiety. Physical activation and exercising is an efficient way to release that over-activity when energy and focus go to the body, not to the brain and thinking. For example, during the thesis process, I recognised many times that energy is too much in my head when writing all day long and some days not even exiting from home. Tightness in the body can be felt on a mental level as well when there isn’t a physical activity that is used to do.

Think, what would be the physical activity you would enjoy and execute continuously to be your daily routine.

Towards to your TOP performance

Take a look at your routines and define, what would be those steps to improve your performance regarding energy. Start with your physical energy and then move towards the top of the pyramid of high performance. It is important to remember that all things require a good base and foundation for success.

 

 

References:

Tamati, L. 2016. The high performance pyramid management theory and how it can apply to athletes as well. Blog article. Released 18.6.2016. Read 1.12.2023. https://www.lisatamati.com/blog/post/35787/The-high-performance-pyramid-management-theory-and-how-it-can-apply-to-athletes-as-well/

Harward Business Review. 2001. The Making of a Corporate Athlete by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
From the Magazine: January 2001. https://hbr.org/2001/01/the-making-of-a-corporate-athlete

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