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8 Ways to Be Your Best Self in 2018

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8 Ways to Be Your Best Self in 2018

Happy 2018! Here we are again at the beginning of another year. If you’re not the kind of person to make resolutions, maybe this list can change your mind. The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous year - a time to acknowledge your accomplishments and to begin working towards things that you still want to achieve. For me, the new year is a reset, and a time for appreciation and growth.

Below I’ve listed some guidelines on resetting your body and mind for 2018! (One could also argue that these are ranked by importance)

1. Drink Water.

This seems like an easy one, right? But have you ever truly reaped the many benefits that drinking enough water provides? A good friend of mine would tell me that the answer to all of your maladies is water. If you skin looks tired, drink water. If you’re feeling under the weather, drink water. If you feel a headache coming on, drink water. If you’re feeling lackluster, drink water - you get the point. It is recommended to drink half of your bodyweight in ounces of water daily. For example, a 180lb man or woman should drink 90oz water per day. Give it a go for clearer skin and a clearer mind!

2. Get Enough Sleep.

Here’s another favorite for resolution-ers. We often say that, with every new year, we’re going to sleep more and work less. But with another year gone, here it is again, making it to the top of the list. Sleep is just as crucial for peace of mind and productivity as drinking water. Without enough sleep, or without enough quality sleep, we enter the vicious cycle of relying on other substances to keep us awake, disrupting our natural sleep cycles and throwing our hormones out of whack. This creates a crabby, tired monster who never gets anything done. Let’s stray away from that in 2018.

3. Put Away Your Phone.

This one is tough. I get it. Our cellphones are our connection to the outside world, they’re our source of income, and they’re also part of our identities. Take this tip with a grain of salt - the more you’re looking at your phone, the less time you’re a part of the world around you. Start small and keep your phone away during dinner with friends. Focus your year on building solid social connections without the use of electronics - you’ll gain much more than you think.

4. Get Up and Move.

Notice how an exercise-related topic is 4th on the list? That’s because, in order to get the most out of exercise, you have to be hydrated and well rested. Now for this exercise goal, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy - just getting up and moving daily is all I ask of you. If you drink more water, you’ll also need to take more trips to the bathroom, which is more movement (see how i slipped that one in). If your movement is going for a walk at lunch, awesome! If its commiting to 3 days per week of strength training, amazing! Or even if it’s going to zumba with your mom every Saturday morning, even better! I hope to be less hard on myself in 2018 for missing a workout, and so should you!

5. Eat More Veggies and Less Donuts.

Now, here’s the food one. This year, I challenge you to have a more open mind when it comes to what you eat. I know it’s easy to fall into cycles: you eat poorly, then realize you’re eating poorly, so you eat really well for a week, only to have your flow disrupted when your coworker brings donuts into the office and you cave and eat three. Wow, can I relate to that. It’s tough to say no to sweets and treats, I know. But if you really want to eat the donut then eat it. Maybe don’t eat three donuts, and have an extra large serving of veggies during your next meal, but don’t be ashamed or discouraged if your diet hits a road bump.

6. Laugh More.

This one seems silly, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. This is just a friendly reminder to not take yourself too seriously. We’re all professionals here and we’ve worked hard to get to where we are, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t laugh until you cry every once in a while. When was the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe? If you don’t have an answer to that, it’s been too long.

7. Work Less.

Did you know that work days in Sweden are six hours? Can you imagine? That sounds amazing. They did this in order to allow employees to be more productive during each hour of work, and also to allow them to live fuller lives. Let’s take some advice from across the waters and start working less. If you can answer the question, “Will it make a difference if I do it tomorrow?” with a no, then it can wait until tomorrow. Just think of all of the time you’ll have if you actually stopped working when you left the office.

8. Learn Something New.

Lastly, there is evidence that continuing to learn may help prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Now if that isn’t enough motivation to learn more about a subject of interest, a new language, or even just read more, I don’t know what is. One of my personal goals for this year is to read one book per month. I used to love reading growing up but I’ve fallen off of the wagon. I want to use this year to learn as much as I can. What do you want to learn more about?

This list is a guideline to help you live a more fulfilling life in 2018. We aren’t getting any younger, so now is the time to stop with the excuses and stay dedicated. Who knows - maybe you’ll develop habits to continue these great behaviors forever, or at least inspire someone around you.

Happy New Year and let’s be our best selves this year!

perform-for-life-amber-movement-specialist

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Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin Z

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Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin Z

Sleep is positively correlated with everything  - mental clarity, hormonal balance, fat loss, muscle gain, and more.  It is free and, barring some unfortunate living and medical conditions, universally available to all.  Yet it is often a low priority for many athletes.  And they suffer for it.

City living can be a challenge to reasonable bed times.  Late night events such as concerts and dinners might keep us out late.  Living in an urban area often means traffic late into the evening. And in our homes, we have our TVs, tablets, and smartphones buzzing late into the evening with business and social notifications.

Optimally, we want our sleep pattern to mirror the sun.  As the sun goes down, we wind down. Sun comes up, we get up!  Not too difficult.  If you have to wake up exceptionally early, then guess what?  You get to go to bed early!

Optimum sleep times for most individuals is 9/10pm sleep time and 5:30/6:30 am wake time. This is going to vary from individual to individual.  Some people do great on 6 hours of sleep per night.  Others need 10-11.  Most people thrive on 8.5 hours.  You are going to have to find out what works for you.  But generally, if you (1) wake up and completely hate life and want NOTHING but to go back to bed or (2) feel tired ALL THE TIME you need to sleep more.  If you wake up every day, kill it all day and feeling great, you’re probably sleeping right for you.

So what can we do to help normalize our sleep patterns?

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

1. First thing is first – you need to prioritize your sleep!  

If you were working out to improve your physique, would you go down the street and eat a big fat ice cream sundae after each training session?  Probably not.  So WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU STAY UP UNTIL 1 AM BROWSING Facebook/Reddit/NYTimes/whatever.  Staying up late is going to increase your stress hormones, and make it literally harder to do EVERYTHING.  Do you want to negatively impact your sex drive? Your ability to lose fat and retain muscle?  Do you want less patience and reduced mental clarity?  Prioritize a better you.

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

2. Put down the smartphone!

Many of our athletes claim they cannot sleep, but they are on their electronic devices literally up until the minute they close their eyes.  This is not optimal.  You can put it on silent and set your alarm 15 minutes before you intend to sleep, and the world won’t explode.  The first thing tomorrow morning, you will be able to resume the rat race.  Give yourself 15 minutes.  After you graduate from the 15-minute program, try 30.  I promise you will thank yourself!

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

Photo Credit : www.unsplash.com

3. Minimize light exposure.

As the evening begins, try to reduce the lighting accordingly.  There are really awesome features built into Android and Apple iOS that allow you to reduce the brightness of the phones and tablets in the evening.  For the computer, you can download f.lux.  It will reduce the brightness of your laptop screen in the evening.  As for house lighting – less is more!  Try using a lower watt light bulbs in a lamp that gives more indirect light (versus using an overhead light).  Personally, I use a Himalayan salt lamp by my bed.  They are about $25 online and they give off a soothing warm light that is much less rich in the blue light that our body associates with day time.  You can read more on the dangers of blue light in this Harvard Health letter

Photo Cr

Photo Cr

4. It takes time, but it's worth it.

Don’t try to start going to bed tonight at 10 pm if you go to bed at 1 am.  I wouldn’t expect someone eating Twinkies for breakfast to immediately start cooking for themselves – I’d probably switch them from Twinkies to Pop Tarts, Pop Tarts to Lucky Charms, and maybe Lucky Charms to actual food.  Likewise, we do not do interval training on our first day out of knee surgery.  What time do you go to bed, on average?  Write that time down!  Good job!  Is that time 10 pm?  If not, then proceed to next step: take that time and subtract 30 minutes.  Congrats!  You have your new sleeping assignment!  Go get em!


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