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Will splurging on this 7 Day Energy Surge really surge your energy levels?
Maybe… if you're lucky and if you have the discipline of a monk. For all others, expect a moderate bump. The 7 Day Energy Surge by Cynthia Cohen and Jim Karas is a great book. None of the chapters by themselves are revolutionary, but the combination of seven ideas: losing weight, eating right, drinking right, exercising right, breathing right, sleeping right, and appreciating music towards the common goal of increasing energy is both novel and useful.
Why only maybe?
Before we jump into the great information this book has to offer, lets get practical. You won't see me following all of the authors' advice for three reasons:
- The citing and sourcing in this book is poor. While I've confirmed most of their main points with other sources, I shouldn't have to – that's the author's job!
- Many of the authors' claims are wrong or misleading. Sometimes that doesn't matter – that deep breathing is beneficial is a fact, regardless if you believe that's because of yogic energy or low CO2 levels in the blood. Claiming that people slept 10 hours a night before the lightbulb was invented is misleading and potentially harmful. People slept the same 7-8 hours, but woke up for a break in the middle: Segmented Sleep.
- It's hard to implement so many changes in just 7 days! Props for providing a 7 day plan, but we're talking dozens of changes in just a week. Making just one or two changes is hard enough in a few weeks, forget about dozens in a single week.
Show me the good stuff!
Okay, reservations aside lets get to some of the sound suggestions that you can implement, and that I've already integrated with my life. This book is more an encyclopedia of energy than a book or guide – there is something for everyone. I'm already fit, so the Lose Weight chapter didn't apply to me, but you may find some helpful tips there for you.
- Add balsamic vinegar to my meals. [Done: easy and effective]
- Eat apples every day. [Sort of done: I've chosen an assortment of fruits and vegetables to eat every day]
- Drink tea instead of coffee. [Done]
- Strength training. [Done: The research is really piling up that strength training is more beneficial than aerobic exercise, so I'm doing both now]
- Meditate regularly. [Fail: still trying to get into the habit]
- Breath deeply as often as possible. [Still working on it]
- Take cold showers. [Done: The mood boosting impact has been amazing!]
- Laugh more. [Fail: still trying to get into the habit]
- Practice yoga. [Fail: No excuses]
- Have (more) sex. [No comment…]
- Get good sleep. [Sort of done: I have incorporated the book's suggestions, but my sleep issues go deeper than superficial physical fixes.]
Unless you're really looking to focus on your energy level's I can't recommend this book. Instead, jump through my notes of the book below, and pick a few things to work on:
- Buy a scale.
- Set a realistic goal.
- Buy and use smaller plates and glasses.
- Keep a food diary.
- Go public.
- Get a food accountability buddy.
- Add protein to each meal.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Use more balsamic vinegar.
- Eat breakfast.
- Eat consistently.
- Eat more whole grains.
- Follow a restricted calorie diet (1200 for women and 1400 for men).
- The author argues that this will not lower metabolism, but given that he also argues participants should exercise at the same time, this is unlikely, as there will be a severe caloric deficit.
- Avoid milk, coffee, juice, and soda.
- Drink more water and tea.
- The author cites a number of studies which purport to show the benefits or drinking more water, like eating less, improving strength gain, and improving metabolism.
- The author cites a number of studies which purport to show the benefits of drinking tea, such as: lose weight, keep off lost weight, improve metabolism, recover faster from workouts, boost brain power, and prevent Parkinson's disease.
- Drink wheatgrass juice.
- The author claims wheatgrass juice stimulates metabolism, enhances mental concentration, balanced blood sugar levels, and alkalinizes the body.
- Drink Brieler's Broth, which is supposed to restore the pH balance of the body.
- One contradiction is that the author assaults caffeine while telling readers to avoid coffee, but makes no mention of it while propping up the power of tea (which also contains caffeine, albeit in smaller amounts).
The author recommends interval strength training and yoga, while suggesting that other forms of exercise are energy-negative. Many other exercise books and bloggers agree with this assessment.
- Interval strength training purportedly improves heart health, increases lean muscle mass, burns calories, burns fat, enhances flexibility, reduces back pain, reduces neck pain, increases testosterone levels, relieves depression, and is much faster than other forms of exercise.
- Cardiovascular exercise purportedly harms our joints, harms our immune systems, causes adrenal fatigue, and does not burn as many calories as expected due to a reduction in metabolism.
- The author recommends exercise over sleep – she mentions one study which showed that sleep-deprived people that exercised reported an increase of 20% in their perceived energy, and a reduction of their fatigue by 65%. Unmentioned by the author, exercise also improves the quality of our sleep, unless done right before bed.
The author argues that shallow breaths are causing the level of carbon dioxide in our blood to increase, which increases our stress levels and de-energizes us. The author purports that deep breathing reduces the risk of developing cancer, of having heart attacks, reducing stress, and reducing caloric intake.
Her recommendations are nothing revolutionary – go to bed and wake up at around the same time, turn off all lights, and so on.
One key component of sleeping well the author ignores is the emotional one highlighted in Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through the Night, that most people have micro-awakenings throughout the night because of unresolved emotional stress.
The author lists many benefits to listening to music, but provides only one poor source for all of them. Nevertheless, the right music can be energizing.
“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”
- Practice yoga.
- Take cold showers.
- Laugh more.
- Have more, better sex.