Use these three easy steps to maximize your energy (in other words, how to pick the RIGHT energy drink for your current situation)
Step One: Assess your true fatigue level.
Are you tired but not sleepy, or are you just bored? Are you in need of energy that cannot be provided by a brisk walk, a few jumping jacks and a tall glass of water? Have you been up for more than 12 hours (and is it TRULY necessary that you are up for at least 6 more)?
By answering these questions, you should get a better sense of how tired you really are.
*If you are just bored, try to wake up naturally: take a brisk walk, do some plyometrics in the hallway or restroom, climb a flight of stairs or eat something if you haven’t eaten in more than 3 hours.
*If you are feeling like a zombie and you have been up for more than 16 hours, understand that there are probably no energy drinks that can help you as much as a 20 minute or 6 hour nap.
Step Two: Pick the drink that matches your fatigue level.
In increasing order of potency, here is a scale of energy drink classifications to help you pick the one that will provide you with just enough energy to get by. Note: if you frequently pick and use an energy drink that is stronger than the one that you really need, you may develop a tolerance and then you’ll REALLY be in trouble – try to get by with the weakest one that you think will do the job of making you awake and alert:
1. Tea or coffee-based (like the wonderful amazing Starbucks Refreshers or Monster/Rockstar’s coffee-flavored drinks)
2. Non-carbonated, with juice
3. Non-carbonated, no juice
4. Carbonated, with juice
5. Carbonated, no juice, “sugar-free”
6. Carbonated, with sugar (warning: only use these in dire situations because the sugar in a certain green energy drink can make a lot of people too jittery, not to mention, cutting down on simple sugar intake is recommended by almost every doctor I’ve ever met)
Step Three: Drink it over several hours.
Challenge yourself to drink only half a serving every three hours. Keep in mind that it will take AT LEAST 20 minutes for you to “feel” the energy drink working. It takes 30 minutes for the first sips of an energy drink to reach maximum concentration levels in your blood. If you think this is too long, think about this: only alcohol, aspirin and caffeine get absorbed through the stomach, everything else has to wait until it enters the small intestine to get absorbed. (Which reminds me, if you have an empty stomach as you sip that energy drink, your stomach may get a bit irritated. Time your energy drink consumption accordingly.) Give the caffeine some time to get to work before you decide you need another dose.
The bottom line is choose your drink wisely, try to do without as much as possible, and NEVER, EVER EVER CHUG AN ENERGY DRINK!