A recurring theme as the weather shifts and students approach their first, second, or even third anniversary at Fit Club is burn out. Form suffers, moods swing, and fatigue sets in. The first, the absolute FIRST, thing I want you to focus on when this starts to happen? Your recovery.
Sleep, to be more precise.
Sleep is one of those things that either eludes many students or is an afterthought to those who find they are so exhausted they simply pass out at the end of the day. Quality sleep is so important to hastening recovery. No matter how big or little trouble you may have with your sleep, I will argue that it can always be improved. Here are my top three performance-boosting strategies for improving the quality of your recovery.
Shut the screens off earlier. And by earlier, I am speaking in relative terms. Some of us are looking at our blue and white screens until the moment the lights go out. Others have learned to shut it down a little earlier. Today, set a curfew that is around 15 minutes earlier than usual. Small, manageable, but significant. Replace screen time with some light reading, preferably of fiction. Reading periodicals and non-fiction stimulates recall. Ever been diverted with a thought of how a reference, even in a historical fiction piece, fits into the context of the story or presentation and found yourself 30 clicks deep into a Google search? Yeah. That! Turn that off 15 minutes earlier tonight.
Replace early morning 'screen time' with movement. Using your mobile device as an alarm clock? Yeah. Me, too. But let that be the only function upon waking, if you must wake with an alarm. Before checking all the alerts and notifications, get your body up and moving. Start with a few high knee marches on the spot or on the way to the bathroom. While brushing your teeth, prop your elbows on the edge of the sink and move your spine in small cat-cow waves. While getting breakfast ready or hydrating, do a couple leg raises and ankle rolls. While getting dressed, lift your arms up and down, roll your shoulders, tilt your head from one side to the other. Before hitting the road, do a couple side stretches or torso rolls.
Add five minutes of meditation to your day. Again, this is relative. Some students are already meditating regularly, for others this is an entirely new exercise. And an exercise, it most certainly is! To add five minutes of quiet to your day (without falling asleep!) is a challenge for most. So, if you need some guidance, download Insight Timer or another mobile app. Set the timer for 5 minutes or add 5 minutes to your regular time. But wait, do this in the middle of the day. Again, relative to your schedule. Up at 5am daily? Bring that 5 minutes of quiet in by noon. Late riser? Move your 5 minutes closer to 3pm.
Give these three exercises a solid week's effort and see how your form, mood, and energy levels improve. Not there yet, add five more minutes in each exercise, most importantly your 'screen time' replacements.
Let me know how it goes.
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.