Thursday, September 23, 2004

'Energy Addict' puts positive spin on life with nutrition and exercise

By Peggy O'Farrell
Enquirer staff writer

Jon Gordon is not hyper, he says gently but emphatically.

"I'm enthusiastic," he says.

And he is, talking a mile a minute about how to bring more positive energy into your life, his cheerful banter and sweeping gestures a marked contrast to the hushed lunchtime enclave of the Palace restaurant at the Cincinnatian.

Gordon visited Cincinnati Tuesday to promote his new book, Energy Addict: 101 Physical, Mental and Spiritual Ways to Energize Your Life (Penguin; $13.95). For those in need of more guidance, Gordon, 33, offers free energy coaching through his Web site,

He shared his energy over lunch:

Question: What's the biggest mistake people make when they want more energy?

Answer: They go after the quick fix. They think they can get their energy in a can or a pill or a double latte. You can't replace sleep with a double latte. We've gotten away from the basics, sleeping and eating well and exercising, and moved toward a life where we use so much energy all the time, but we never restock, and when we do we use the wrong things.

Q: So why are we all so tired?

A: Because we expend so much energy not recharging. We pick the wrong fuel. We deal with a lot of negativity in the world these days, and the media contribute to it. We don't use our energy wisely. And human beings were not meant to sit at computers all day. We should be chopping wood and walking and hunting and working for food. We really have to find new habits and new ways of living.

Q: In the book, you talk a lot about using nutrition to keep your energy levels high. How does that work?

A: Eat five or six small meals throughout the day. A lot of people don't eat breakfast. They eat a tiny lunch. And then they have a huge dinner and fall asleep on the couch. You should have a big breakfast and a big lunch and a small dinner. There's a saying you should breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper. I say you should breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a college student with a maxed-out credit card. You need to mix protein and fiber to release energy throughout the day. And eat real food. Your body knows how to handle a banana. It knows how to handle water. It doesn't know how to handle a Diet Coke or a Krispy Kreme.

Q: What's your favorite strategy for upping your energy level?

A: Just one? I'd have to say it's a 10-minute "thank you" walk. While you're walking, you say what you're thankful for. My job, even though it drives me crazy. My kids, even though they make me nuts. You're activating the areas of the brain associated with positive mood and de-activating the part of the brain where you store your stress and depression and bad energy. I take three walks a day: A morning walk of prayer where I connect with myself and everything around me and my higher power, and then walks after lunch and dinner. I'm fueling up with spiritual energy as well. But I don't care if you pray all day, you still need to eat healthy food or you won't be able to get out of bed.

Q: You mention "energy vampires" in the book, those people who always make you tired and depressed. How do you kill an "energy vampire?"

A: With kindness. You shine your light on them so much that they either shrink away because they don't like the like or maybe you teach them how to change their life. Energy vampires are like germs. We're all exposed to them. If you a strong enough immune system, germs can't infect you. If you have enough positive energy, energy vampires can't infect you. When they complain and yell, just tell them you know they're upset, but let's try this. By being positive, you defuse their energy.


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