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Archive for January, 2009

I’m someone who regularly performs demanding intellectual work six days a week–sometimes seven–for upwards of ten hours a day.

My daily routine generally looks like this:  I work at home, so once I’ve watched a little morning news–Sportscenter, that is–my work day starts at around 5:30 AM. That gives me a three to four hour head start on my son, who is a great sleeper, but then he wakes up and forces me (quite happily, I must add) to take a morning break.  After his breakfast, I turn him over to mom, and it’s back to work for me.

Another hour of reading and research and lecture prep are followed by a couple hours of classes–I teach “distance learning” programs from home–and another hour of some administrative work and I’m ready for lunch.  By this point, I’ve already put in a seven hour work day.

Then, after lunch and a little play time my son goes down for his two to three-hour nap (bless his soul!) and it’s back to work for me.  On days when my wife is home from work and she can take care of him, that can mean until 7:00 PM, if I’ve got enough in the tank.  If not, then I get off at 5:00 PM, like most other folks.  So I usually put in a ten hour day.  And at least once a week it’s more like 12-14 hours.  Some days, I even deliver an evening lecture until 10:00 PM!

I don’t mind admitting that to maintain this schedule I ingest a fair amount of coffee and (sugar-free) Red Bull.  But there’s a limit to how much of Java I can drink without it being unhealthy.  (Quite a few would argue that the 2-3 cups I drink daily are already too much, but I don’t see them trying to do what I’m doing.)  I find that Red Bull or Sugar-Free Monster–both are acquired tastes, to be sure–do provide some variety and a good kick, when you don’t want any more coffee.

Still, there’s only so much of the “hard stuff” you can take without it making you jittery and intellectually unproductive.  If you’re going for a hard work out and you need a jolt, then an energy drink can help you pump out a few extra reps, but too many caffeine-based stimulants just don’t help you think.  At a certain point, no amount of it helps because you’ve reached a certain kind of fatigue that can’t be overcome, except by taking a nap or otherwise resting.

Or so I thought, until I tried FRS Healthy Energy, which is being touted by Lance Armstrong as part of his comeback regimen as a professional cyclist.  FRS does have caffeine, but very little compared to a typical energy drink.  The energy boost that it provides comes from its patented blend of antioxidants, including the magical substance Quercetin.

What is so great about FRS is that it doesn’t help you pretend you’re not tired, it actually fights the cellular damage that’s making you tired.  So when you take it, you’re actually giving your body a shot of vitamin goodness and other healthful stuff, not more “battery acid” that just makes you more tired in the end.  Although FRS–like almost all energy products–is promoted for athletes, it is the closest thing I’ve experienced to actual “brain juice.”

My favorite FRS product is the Pomegranate-Blueberry Chews, although they also come in Orange and Lemon-Lime.  The chews are a good bang for your buck, compared to the other forms of the product.  I also like the low cal Berry-flavored drink, but it’s more expensive.  It also comes in concentrates and powders, which might be the most economical option. (I haven’t run the numbers.)

If, like me, you put your mind through the kind of regular workouts that Lance Armstrong puts his body through, then FRS may just be the greatest supplement you ever take! Give it a try, and let me know.

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Death to all Juice?  No it’s not a rally against poor nutritional choices.  :-)

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