Creating a Caffeine Free Energy Boosting Routine
How to ditch the drive-thru line for more time and energy
A few years ago my sister made me some bumper stickers with my company’s logo and tagline on them. As an entrepreneur with a $0 marketing budget, but a lot of business pride, I thought they were the #bestgiftever. However, I didn’t put a Fit Armadillo bumper sticker on my car. This was partly because it was in dire need of a car wash, but mostly because of a personal habit I wanted to hide from my customers.
I was a personal trainer and fitness instructor, but no one would have guessed that, had they followed me around for a day.
Four years ago when I started my business, a fitness company, you could find my car in the drive-thru line of a fast food joint at least twice a day. And in between my noontime fitness class and post workday personal training clients? My car would often be parked in the same location for several hours.
Now, it’s not what you’re thinking — I didn’t make my McDonald’s runs for the fries or burgers — really!
Instead, this daily routine was focused on scoring my next hit of caffeine. At the time, most stores in this popular chain offered large sodas for just $1 and unlimited refills if you stayed in the store.
I definitely took full advantage of both offers.
However, I wasn’t proud of this habit. I did not want the Fit Armadillo mobile associated with something I would have encouraged my fitness clients to avoid.
But as I went from freelancer to full-time business owner, I always felt short on time, energy, and often both. Like so many caffeine addicts, I believed I needed to keep this routine to get me through my packed schedule.
3 Mindset Shifts that Helped Me Find Decaf Energy Boosts
About two years ago, I finally kicked my daily Diet Coke habit. I didn’t replace it with a coffee or drink that would give me wings habit. Instead, I found new solutions that have allowed me to have a lot more energy, time and money than my caffeine driven routine.
As I reflect on my journey, I’ve identified three mindset shifts that proved vital in my ability to make this change.
1. Sleep isn’t for sissies
I never really wanted to give up my Diet Coke habit. I rarely drink alcohol and have never smoked. Sure my Diet Coke addiction wasn’t the healthiest of habits, but it was my one vice and I didn’t think it was that bad. Plus, unlike drinking alcohol it helped perk me up when I was feeling tired.
And while I would have loved to take a cat nap or go to bed early, I thought who has time for a break or 8 hrs of sleep when they’re trying to build a business?
I believed that those who focused on getting enough zzz were pretty lame and hardly ambitious.
However, a surprising thing happen when I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages non-stop for most of my waking hours. I found that without the added caffeine in my system, I was able to get better quality sleep.
Also to my surprise, I found that getting 7–9 hours of sleep enabled me to be more effective and efficient during the hours I was awake.
If you haven’t tried to work on your sleep routine and aiming for 7–9 hours a night, I highly recommend giving it a try this week.
I know I wouldn’t have been had I read this a few years back, but I encourage you to try.
Plus, getting enough sleep has an added benefit-it’s helped a few of my personal training clients push past weight loss plateaus.
2. Routines don’t have to feel routine
As a new entrepreneur, I really enjoyed having the freedom to set my own hours. Beyond the time saving benefits of being able to run errands without having to fight traffic, I really enjoyed being able to work how and when I wanted.
Every day and hour was different and that made my schedule feel a lot more exciting than a 9–5 routine.
However, as my business changed and I took on additional roles, I realized that I actually get more done and am more effective when I use time-saving strategies that involve creating a routine.
By trying to avoid the mold of a 9–5 schedule, I was missing out on the benefits of having some structure to my busy days.
Realizing that routines don’t have to feel boring or constraining, but can actually be freeing, has been a real game changer for me and has undoubtedly given me more energy. When your to-do list never shrinks, it’s easy to lose focus and energy. However, when you use science based strategies to get more done, you can’t help but get excited and enjoy an added energy boost that will help you make it through the day.
Strategies such as time chunking, setting a day or a few hours a day for one type of task, i.e. personal training sessions, still allows me to have time freedom (I can change the days or hours I work with clients each week), however, it also ensures I’m more effective. When I set up my schedule so similar tasks are completed together, I don’t have to make the cognitive shift from thinking like a personal trainer to thinking like a social media manager from one hour to the next which results in time wasted.
When I’m more efficient and effective at the varied tasks I complete each week, I gain energy just by completing them.
3. Focusing on fitness breaks for added energy
As a personal trainer, fitness is an important part of my daily routine. However, until more recently, I didn’t take full advantage of the energy boosting powers of fitness.
A trip to Europe that had me walking everywhere changed the way I looked at the role fitness should play in my own life. In spite of my jet lag, I felt energized due to the many walks I took to tour the cities I visited. I became hooked on this feeling and decided to take this back to my then home, Houston, Texas.
This went pretty well until the heat and humidity of the summer kicked in!
So I started finding tasks I could do while enjoying light exercise. I brought my laptop with me to the treadmill. I took walk breaks where I kept my phone handy so I could take notes and prioritize my to-do list for the rest of the day.
Living out one of my favorite tips for new clients, to add in 10–15 minute walks throughout the day, has been a game-changer for me.
When I moved to California earlier this year, I made it a priority to find an apartment that would allow me to take frequent walk breaks as part of my day. I live within a mile of most of my Chamber of Commerce events, the post office, library, church, and many restaurants making it easy to find a reason to move for an energy boost.
As a former Houston, TX girl who grew up in Connecticut, I know I’m pretty lucky to be living in southern California, but you don’t need perfect weather to get up and get moving. A few minutes of laps around your office, a short yoga routine, or a walking meeting with a coworker can help you enjoy these benefits.
And if you’re having trouble finding your fitness motivation, you might want to check out Fit Armadillo. Our certified fitness professionals will meet you online for your private fitness sessions.
Finding the Motivation for Your First Caffeine Free Week
While I didn’t plan on finding these decaf energy boosters of regular sleep, a structured routine, or frequent fitness breaks, I’m glad that I have.
If you’re still lining up at the drive-thru before your daily commute and during your lunch break for a caffeine fix, I highly recommend trying to take a break for a week. See how you feel when you trade the drive-thru line for a ten minute walk. I’m willing to bet you’ll find you have more energy as well as more time and money.
Before embarking on this somewhat scary path, I encourage you to think about what you’d do with the time and money you’d save if you kicked your caffeine habit.
Being in touch with your WHY is important no matter what change you want to make in your life.
For additional tips for fitting in fitness for added productivity shared by high-powered women who work outside of the fitness industry, I invite you to check out my new book.
Have you swapped out caffeine for a decaf energy boost? I’d love to hear how you made the change! Share your insights in the comments to inspire another reader.
Catherine Basu, MEd is an ACE-Certified personal trainer, the owner of Fit Armadillo®, and author of Superwomen Secrets Revealed: Successful Women Talk About Fitting in Fitness and Dare You to Join Them. She has zero tolerance for diets, supplements, and detoxes and not just because she’s a huge fan of glutenFULL bread, but lots of love for those new to fitness. An avid runner, she has competed in races from the 1500m to the full marathon, and loves helping others start a running routine.