A Few Ideas on Maximizing Energy and Output

A lot of times, business comes down to who is left standing.  A good plan only goes anywhere when its carried out, and the physical demands of carrying out a good plan can leave anyone exhausted.

So, since I still can’t put more hours in the day, I can offer a few bits of advice regarding how I try to fit as much as possible into those hours.  The human body is a machine, and you’ll have to treat it right to maximize energy and your potential work output.


We are what we eat.  Put garbage in, and expect to get garbage for output.

These cliches actually mean something.  If you want to be energetic and alert, you have to start with your diet.  Nothing will give you a productive and legal buzz that lasts all day like good food does.  People wonder why I worry about diet despite a heavy smoking habit, but I really eat well and smoke for the exact same reason:  It feels good, it helps me deal with stress, and it helps me get more done.

Breakfast – still the most important meal of the day

I’m not a big breakfast fan.  I’m not hungry when I wake up and if I waited until my stomach told me to eat I wouldn’t have anything until a late lunch.  That doesn’t stop me from gobbling up some steak and eggs every morning. It doesn’t matter how hungry I think I am when I crack open the egg, whats important is the awesome feeling I get when the meal is done.

Think a bagel or bowl of cereal is a healthy breakfast?  Think again.  If you want to feel real good and productive, try something high in protein and fat instead.  Starches are the things you should look out for, these can really be a drag on your metabolism in the early morning.

So think Irish and try an Irish breakfast:  One of these each morning got me up to go happily walking around in 50 degree rain.


Yes, that’s fried pork rashers (its like a meatier version of bacon), pork sausage, some fried eggs, and some kind of pudding made from pig’s blood.  A meal like this will get you out of bed and you won’t worry too much about food again until dinner time. Yum.

Sugar – its brain food

The human brain is an electrical machine made up of fat.  The preferred fuel source is sugar, so you can’t always ignore the craving of your sweet tooth.  Simple sugars can help you think quickly and clearly, but its important to mind the source of these sugars.  Ideally, the best way to load up on simple sugars is fruit and berries.  Its a hundred times better than a soda or a chocolate cookie, because its attached to the vitamins and minerals you need to fully process your meals.

Yes, Eat those Vegetables

Dinner isn’t quite right without some meat and green veggies.  Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of broccoli and brussel sprouts.  Don’t like it?  Eat it for a while and you’ll probably fall in love like I did.  Once your mind gets used to the energy rush that comes from combining a protein source with sprouting veggies it will tell your taste buds to shut up and enjoy the meal.  If you’re still having trouble with the green veggies, try out a lemon-butter dressing.  And never underestimate what pork fat or bacon can do for spinach.


I’m not the most active or athletic person in the world, but I know the importance of setting aside at least fifteen minutes a day for exercise.  Just a few pushups and situps each day can help jump start your metabolism, giving you more energy to do whatever needs to get done.  A short daily regimen can also help you need less sleep.  Spend the fifteen minutes a day, and you may find yourself sleeping as much as an hour less than before – and feeling better about it at the same time.

Train the Brain, too

Ok, technically the brain isn’t a muscle.  But it still needs training like one.  Get some books or a puzzle solving video game.  I’m a big fan of the Civilization series because building a global empire out of a single town requires some effort of thought.

And don’t just read books in the topic or niche you’re specializing in.  Spend some time looking at math and science.  The kind of thinking and the level of comprehension these subjects require can help train your brain for all kinds of tasks and problems.

Ok, I woke up late and my breakfast is just now ready.  Its time to grub and get on with the day!


  1. hey John,
    I really need to stop having only coffee for breakfast. Unfortunately I wait until I’m hungry, which is around lunch…
    That Irish breakfast looks fantastic! Is that a picture you took of one of your breakfasts, or a random web pic?
    It’s amazing how well the human body (machine) does with the way most of us treat it… we could do even better if we just took better care of it.
    Great post… I’ll try to eat breakfast tomorrow… 🙂
    Steve, aka “trade show mensa”

  2. Hey Steve, how’s it goin?

    The coffee breakfast is the exact habit I’m trying to break! When I wait until I’m hungry, I end up REALLY HUNGRY, REALLY FAST about 6-8 hrs after waking up. Then, if I miss that “lunch window” too, I’ve noticed that it can totally wreck a day. Its really hard, or maybe impossible, to catch up on meals or sleep that you missed out on.

    The pic is one I found on Wikipedia in the public domain that fit closest to my experience. When we were in Ireland, we stayed with my girlfriend’s family and had a big traditional meal each morning. The major component is fried pork and eggs, but then there might also be some baked beans, fried potato, friend mushroom, or possibly fried tomato.

    I couldn’t try the pudding because its got a little bit of wheat in it and my immune system is kind of fascist about that. Coagulated blood is a little intimidating so I didn’t go out of my way to find a gluten-free version. Then again, I’ve tried weirder things and ended up liking them, so maybe I missed out 🙂

  3. hey John,
    I’m doing good!
    I’ve got to change my ways too. I usually skip breakfast, eat a regular lunch, and am then starving at dinner and overeat, so I’m not hungry the next morning… repeat cycle.
    It should be the other way around. But it seems to be easier said then done. 🙂
    I spent some time in England many, many years ago and have fond memories of breakfast there, especially the bangers and the fried tomato halves. The wiki pic brings back good memories…
    By the way, you mentioned broccoli in your post. At least that’s one thing I can brag about… I eat a LOT of broccoli. 🙂 ~ Steve, the trade show mensa

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