Most of us have been to a conference or two at some point in our careers. We all flock to huge convention centres or hotels to hear all about the latest advancements and meet the newest industry hot shots who entertain us with career anecdotes and inspire us to innovate and excel. What could be better?
Unfortunately, while these fantastic learning opportunities are often a welcome escape from our day to day schedule they inevitably lead to long days sitting in windowless rooms consuming endless rounds of the same coffee and baked goods (unless they know the Value of Menu Tasting) . Staying energized in these settings can be next to impossible but I’ve been told it can be done!
In an effort to find ways to keep my own energy up during these long days, I’ve enlisted the advice of a rock star nutritionist who has made it her mission to teach her clients how to successfully adapt their diet and make the best choices to stay at peak performance – no matter the environment.
Angie Olsen runs the Bliss Project and Active Education – an online resource for those looking to improve their overall well being. She specializes in nutrition coaching and has graciously provided us with a realistic game plan to help anyone make it through the maze of conference style meals in the healthiest way possible.
- Tip #1: Drink LOTS of Water
Water is a huge part of living a healthy life and the amount you consume on a daily basis has a direct impact on your energy levels. Dehydration leads to fatigue because it impacts the flow of oxygen to the brain. When the oxygen in our bodies isn’t flowing well, our heart has to work harder to pump oxygen to our organs, making us tired and less present to properly process all that amazing conference material. Basically, water is a must so pack your favourite water bottle and refill it as often as you can.
- Tip #2: Pack Some Protein
Unfortunately, healthy snacks aren’t always an option at conferences. Pastries, loafs, and treats are everywhere but sadly don’t offer the best source of energy. Finding or even bringing good sources of protein, fats, and carbs is key to making it through any long day. Consider packing some treats like a protein bar and some fresh veggies to keep your energy up and healthy fats like nuts and seeds to help improve your brain function and keep you alert.
- Tip #3: Eat a Big Breakfast
Starting your day off right is guaranteed to help you have a great conference filled with energy. Eat breakfast! Specifically one that is higher in protein as it takes longer to break down. Something like an egg white omelet filled with veggies and cheese will help you feel satisfied for longer. Adding carbs like toast or oatmeal will also help boost your energy.
- Tip #4: Make Smart Choices
When you’re looking at a table of the standard conference fare, choose the healthiest options available to you – veggies whenever possible, some protein like meat or cheese and a healthy fat to ensure a well-balanced meal. Often the pickings are slim which is why being mindful is key. Bring your own snacks, have lunch off site and don’t indulge on something you’ll regret later in the day.
- Tip #5: Get moving!
If you are feeling a little drowsy and finding yourself zoning out, get up and move! This will increase blood flow in your body and circulate oxygen which in return, will give you energy. Don’t be shy to get up and stretch or go for a quick walk. Your body will thank you.
- Tip #6: Take a Break
It is important to listen to your body and recognize when it’s time to take a break. Don’t wait till it’s too late. Sometimes we get worried about missing something during a presentation, but you’ll miss so much more if you’re not able to retain what is said because the brain fog has set in. Take your break, move, have a snack, and drink your water for best retention.
The best overall advice is to BE PREPARED. Don’t rely on what MIGHT be available. Instead, set yourself up for success by starting your day off with a good breakfast, drink plenty of water, bring snacks and, most importantly listen to your body. What it’s telling you can be just as vital as the conference materials themselves.