Maintaining High Performance Includes Sunday Afternoon Chill

The secret sauce to creating a higher performing YOU lies in three little words …. Eat. Play. Sleep.

This #SundayFunday is about these three little words. Together they define your lifestyle and it’s your lifestyle that can turn you into a high performing machine. This isn’t going to be one of those ‘eat clean’ posts, although I’ve been known to eat ‘clean’. Yeah, I’ve been known to clean a plate of chicken fried steak with potatoes and gravy. This post is about finding the right balance and it is largely a math equation: Calories In minus Calories Out = You. ‘Calories In’ is what you eat. ‘Calories Out’ is what you burn via exercise/activity. Quite possibly the most important enabler is the third pillar, sleep. Its this Sunday Chill coupled with sleep that creates a reset button. More about sleep below.

The following is the research I did to build a foundation that changed my life but I wasn’t just changing my life. Nope, I was changing and creating a new lifestyle. Hope this finds you on your journey of finding your balance of Eat. Play. Sleep.

Eat: Nutrition is Critical – “You are what you eat”

I’m not a nutritionist but clearly its common sense that your nutrition sets the baseline for everything you can expect to deliver over the course of a day. It’s the fuel for your body and when high octane goes in, high octane and performance can be the output. Eat small and frequent meals. Maintain great blood sugar levels. Not bloated and slow but always ready and nimble.

Use caffeine to your advantage but judiciously. It will cause insomnia. The product that I’ve become completely attached to is ‘Click Active’, the perfect blend of coffee and protein. It preps me for my morning workout and also helps in the muscle recovery after a killer HIIT or CrossFit session. Combining caffeine and protein, brilliant. Find more on ‘Click Active’ here: CLICK Active Protein Powder | Performance Nutrition

Limit alcohol and drink water, lots of water. No one loves a glass a wine more than me. One is actually helpful in many physical (and for me, mental) ways. Two however starts a slippery slope for some of us. Enough said.

Water delivers nutrients to your cells as well as whisking away waste. 8 ounces every 30-60 minutes during an 8 hour day is key, especially if you are exercising.

In the end, we need to be delivering nutrients and water to our cells to function at the top of their game. This is something that you can COMPLETELY control starting tomorrow morning.

Play: Exercise is the differentiator.

I believe the biggest difference between the executive that is always ready and has the energy to challenge and the executive that runs short on stamina at the end of the day is exercise. I speak from personal experience……

Yep, I’m a twenty year smoker. Correction, I WAS a twenty year smoker until the day in the late 90’s that I woke up…literally and figuratively. The best hour of my day was 15 minutes after I opened my eyes in morning, sipped the first cup of ‘go juice’ (Starbucks, of course) and lit that first Marlboro. In reality, it was all downhill from there. I get it now. I needed a change and thats when I laced up the running shoes and started…1/2 mile at first, increasing distance over the next 6 months. Within a year I was competing in my first Olympic distance triathlon. Ever heard about the guy that quit smoking and lost 25 pounds? Now you have. My story and journey is another much longer post for later days….If you smoke, stop lying to yourself and quit, NOW!

Look, exercise and increasing your activity early in the day is going to build your fuel and energy bank for the entire day.

1. You are going to boost your brain power and mental acuity. Yep, exercise can improve your focus and mental acuity for ten hours post workout.

2. Combined with the right nutrition, morning exercise is going to reduce strong cravings and increase your metabolic rate and calorie burn throughout the day.

3. Next, you are going to release feel good endorphins that improve your mood and energy levels getting your day off to a great start. How important is getting off to a great start to you?

4. Finally, exercise is going to help with your sleep cycles. Is sleep important? You bet! That is covered next.

For more about the benefits of morning exercise see:

Sleep: or the lack thereof….

1. Dumbs you Down: First, lack of 7-8 hours sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.

Second, during the night, various sleep cycles play a role in “consolidating” memories in the mind. If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.

2. Makes you Forgetful: In 2009, American and French researchers determined that brain events called “sharp wave ripples” are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.

3. Puts you on a Slow Decline: Studies show that over time, people who are getting six hours of sleep, instead of seven or eight, begin to feel that they’ve adapted to that sleep deprivation — they’ve gotten used to it, If you look at how they do on tests of alertness and performance, they continue to go down a very slippery downhill slope. Scientists tell us there’s a point in sleep deprivation when we lose touch with how impaired we are.

See WebMD’s overview on the effects of the lack of sleep:

In Summary:

There are many traps for you along the way. The biggest mistake a young manager can make is not recognizing the opportunity to differentiate. It takes Discipline to make sure you are prepped to compete and win. Ever notice some of today’s top performing weekend athletes are already in their forties? Know why? Discipline. It’s science and your roadmap is common sense. A well balanced diet fuels your body and brain. Exercise shifts your gears taking you from plough horse to thoroughbred. Finally, sleep is your daily ‘record and reset’ button. You need seven hours.

I have made all the mistakes. I lived on McDonald’s super-sized #2’s and chased it down with Marlboros, Starbuck’s double-shot espresso and Diet Cokes. I’ve also survived for years on a restless 4-6 hours sleep a night. If you aren’t spending time focused on how to build the foundation to succeed, there is no way you can compete and win. I can honestly say that the best, most productive and successful years of my career have come after I recognized how to leverage diet, exercise and sleep. There is still plenty of opportunity for improvement (I’m still not a good sleeper, might be FOMO) and there are other attributes which I will cover in later posts.

The Keys to your Success:

  1. Preparation and Focus. Dr Gurner’s keynote nails eight helpfuls tips to set you up for high performance.
  2. Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep. These three elements are foundational.
  3. Discipline, Grit, Determination. You will be tempted to stray and it will take perseverance.

So in the end, it doesn’t really matter whether you are the lion or the gazelle if you wake up and hit the ground running. One will survive and grow, the other will perish and it will completely depend upon which has the energy to compete and win when the sun comes up…….

you can find this article and much more from The MBAR Group and TalentBlcd founder at: Mike McNamara

About Mike McNamara: 

Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.

Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services. Today he coaches a number of high profile media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.

Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.

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