Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Other 22 Hours in the Day

By: Joel Luedke

The 'other 22 hours' of the day is a conversation that AJ and I have quite frequently when we talk about ideas of how we can make a bigger impact in someone's life when it comes to wellness, nutrition and performance.  We agree that your training program needs to be top notch in order to help you achieve your optimal goals but when you really break it down that only accounts for a hour or two of your day and maybe only 6-8 hours of your week (out of 168). 

Now don't get us wrong you can make huge changes in your life in just that amount of time during the week but what else could you accomplish with the other 22 hours of the day.  We take a look at some of the big things that you can change below and we do not list them in any particular order of importance (hence no numbers).  Trying to make the changes doesn't have to be instant and they most definitely don't come easy, it takes time like anything else good.  Check out some of our ideas below.

Position and Posture
Position and posture have always been a point of importance and I personally have tried to work on my own personal posture on my own.  After attending a Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) course this weekend it confirmed what I knew about the importance of it and also the breathing but had no idea how important it was and how wrong I had been standing for, well, most of my life.

It is incredible how important your breath is and how you take that breath.  If you don't use yourentire abdomen when you are breathing you rob yourself of 30% of your potential tidal volume (meaning a lot less air gets in).  You can imagine how that can affect your performance but also you daily life.  You can also then when taking your breath into account you get the right muscles working to help you with your posture (both sitting and standing) which takes the stress off your low back muscles that shouldn't be doing all the work or your neck extensors which also shouldn't.  

Pay attention to your posture during the day and work to correct your breathing patterns and help your muscles recover and work in their proper function outside of your workout.

Nutrition is always important and I'm not going to dive into exactly what it should be but the argument of "I worked out today so I can eat what I want" just doesn't quite cut it (I've used it more than I will ever admit).  A lot of people will get the post workout nutrition part down and put in their protein shake and get the process going for muscle regeneration and growth.  But your work is not done.  You have to be able to maintain this throughout the day and not throw it all away with pizza and beer later that night (which is ok from time to time). 

Eating smart throughout the day will continue to help you with repair, recovery and enhancement.  Protein is going to be key throughout the day along with 'good' carbs and 'good' fats.  This will not only help in recovery in terms of feeding your muscles but to help modulate the inflammation that comes along with working out.  We want that inflammation up to a point for adaptation but focusing on colorful vegetables and good fats (omega-3s) from fish and/or coconut oil will be hugely beneficial to you.  If you want to make huge progress in your 22 hours nutrition is a big one, choose wisely.

Sleep and Wellness
This is also not a surprise about how important it is but we still overlook much more than we should. Most people think they are the exception that they can run on 5-6 hours of sleep while slamming coffee and caffeine throughout the day.  This doesn't work out well in the long run for most people and can crush all the good things you are doing throughout the day and with you training.  8 hours is the recommendation and it hasn't changed but so many great things happen when you sleep.  The resetting of hormones, the change over of fuel sources (an extended period of fasting) and generally letting your body get ready for the next day.

You can drastically improve your quality of sleep by some very simple 'hacks' to get the most bang for your buck.  The first one is working on your soft tissues before you go to bed.  Hop on your foam roller or ball and do 10 minutes of soft tissue work before bed.  It puts your body into a great state from a nervous system perspective to help you fall asleep and get a deeper sleep.  Next black out your room.  Get it as dark as you can and get rid of any screens (even across the room while you sleep).  You'd be amazed on how much that little bit of light can affect you while your sleep.  Lastly try and get it as cold as you can.  Turn the AC down or get a fan on you to help your body get into a better rested state and a deeper sleep.

Don't just count your time in the gym as the only health related part of your day.  Take advantage of all the other options you have throughout the day to make the most of it all.  

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