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Energy? Where??

Today ended up being the sort of day where I had a lot of things to do, and the mental energy to work on them, but somehow, my body just didn’t want to keep up. I’ve been having a lot of those sorts of days lately, since I got sick with some sort of stubborn cold on my birthday—the type of illness that isn’t bad enough to keep you at home in bed, but has a habit of draining your energy by the time 4 PM rolls around, and forcing you to take NyQuil by 8 PM.

In any case, since I wanted to boost my energy level and work toward being as productive during the day as I have been during the hours prior to lunchtime or after midnight, I decided to give 5-Hour Energy Shot a try. Honestly, I’m fairly skeptical when it comes to the results of energy drinks; my body seems to have an atypical response to caffeine to begin with. I always reach for a Coke or find it necessary to stop at a Starbucks when I’m extra-stressed or anxious, and chocolate is a food group in my world. I think my body perceives caffeine the way some people use tobacco, as a perfectly legal, if not the healthiest, form of stress relief.

Recently, however, I’ve cut back on my caffeine consumption, limiting myself to one Coke per day, and even cutting back on the amount of chocolate I keep in the house. While I thought it would have a disastrous effect, after a month of this, I realised that limiting my beloved Coke and replacing it with water helped me keep my weight in check, and that I really wasn’t dependent on the pleasant side effects of caffeine. It was just a habit.

Prior to the shot, I’d received some bad, stressful news, and combined with my looming work deadline, was feeling very highly-strung and anxious. So, this seemed like the perfect time to test out the 5 Hour Energy Shot, and whether or not it had any result. Here’s what I discovered:

The Energy Shot did, in fact, have an effect, although not the one I anticipated. Rather than making me feel energised and ready to tackle my work, it actually made me feel more relaxed. The tension in my neck, back, and shoulders disappeared, and my mood improved immensely. The feeling was very similar to what you’d expect if you had a bad day at work, and then decided to unwind with a glass of wine or a beer.

In some ways, it did make me feel more energized, but not in a completely productive way. For instance, an hour after taking the shot, my brain felt a bit more clouded, and unable to focus on the task at hand. While I had far more energy to go outside for a walk, exercise, go out with friends, or clean the house, it actually made it less easy to sit at the computer and put out focused, quality creative work. While I did finish 5 articles in about 90 minutes, I did the same thing yesterday, after eating about one/fifth of a 4,000 calorie monstrosity at Champps called “The Mile High Cake”—- approximately 9 layers of chocolate, vanilla, and marble ice cream sandwich between a chocolate base, and topped with chocolate sauce, caramel, whipped cream, and a cherry. While it’s awesome that you get this concoction free on your birthday, it easily serves 6, and we’ve never been able to come close to finishing it. (Oddly enough, the scale actually went *down* today. I guess it’s true that birthday calories just don’t count.)

In the end, I think 5- Hour Energy Shots actually do have a positive effect, particularly if you need an extra boost to get you to the gym after work, to get you in the mood for going out when you’re tempted to stay home and watch TV, when you’re taking on a long project like moving or painting, or if you work a physically tiring, repetitive job such as waiting tables or working retail. However, if you need the boost for a long night of studying, reading, or creative/mental work, there are better options, as the Energy Shot seems to make it more challenging to focus on the task at hand. (it is possible that’s just my experience, since I sometimes struggle with that, anyhow.) It is also a good pick-me-up when you’re feeling stressed out, run-down, or “blah”, since (at least for me) it had a mild anti-anxiety effect.

True to the advertising, I didn’t experience any “crash” as the effects wore off. However, the 5-Hour Energy Shot was more like a 4 Hour Energy Shot, at least for me. Maybe they should add a little *more* caffeine to the mix. ;)

A friend of mine, who has been using them to help her get through working the night shift, also told me that when she takes the Energy Shot, it keeps her from feeling hungry, although she hasn’t lost any weight in the process. During the 4 or 5 hours following the shot, I did not feel the desire to snack or even to eat dinner. I typically am a snacker, because I have been trying to keep my lunch and dinner under 400 calories, and I find myself eating snacks when I start to feel low on energy. With the Energy Shot, I did not feel the desire to eat, even though both healthy and “junk food” snacks were nearby, possibly because my body didn’t really need the energy. Thus, I can see how, as an appetite suppressant, they’d be effective.

I’ll probably try it again in the near future, just to see if the experience is the same. I do feel, overall, much better after using it. Any thoughts/experiences on the 5-Hour Energy Shot? I’d love to hear them!

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