I still find it startling how many athletes out there struggle to achieve the positive yield of energy due to subconscious sabotage via basic habits. Of all the athletes out there, I feel as though ‘we’ (Squaddies) do a much better job of correcting and managing energy levels, mostly due to the incessant education and reminders we pile on you all. With this said, before you dance around the room in celebration, I seldom go without seeing stark improvements from almost every athlete I work with at Purple Patch.
I believe we are collectively guilty of slanting our focus toward intervals, as well as the modalities such as foam roller, massage, and more. We also think plenty about hydration during sessions or whether to throw down a gel in a session, but the time-starved tend to miss the things that are so simple, yet critical, to basic energy. I hear so many comments such as, “I am so tired from training,” which are often partially true, but often amplified by forgetting some really simple things to improve.
Here are some really critical basics which you should know, but I am going to bubble us to the surface once again. Please - dial this in. Nail it. Do it daily. It will really really help.
- Post-workout fuel and breakfast: Calories in the morning, including carbohydrates, to energize your day, are important and allow the stability of energy, proper food choices, and smart caloric management in the middle of the day. If you fail with this simple habit, you are much more likely to get drawn to a bigger lunch, often more carb-centric, creating the afternoon fog and a cascade of other poor habits.
- Hydration: Many performance-minded athletes have been indoctrinated with in-training hydration, but do an incredibly poor job outside. Restoring your hydration status between workouts is incredibly important, but the water is your free energy-juice. Seriously. Beyond feeling more vibrant and reducing hunger signals, it also supports your immune system. Dehydration makes you hungry and sleepy -- you don’t want that do you? Drink up!
- Time-Outs: In a positive way that is! Seldom a day passes that I don’t take a 7-12 min nap. A short time-out, or period of quiet, is proven to be highly restorative. It might be meditation or classed as a nap, but a screen-free and eyes closed time of restoration is massively valuable for energy, as well as optimizing adaptations from training. No, I am not talking about climbing into your pajamas. The effects are immediate and always positive on the net: a vastly more productive 3-4 hours following. People claim they have no time, or it isn’t the company culture, but there is always a way. Always. The time-excuse doesn’t work. Integrate this habit instead of slogging through two hours with the afternoon lethargy and being vastly less effective. Clear thinking and focus make high quality work. Oh, and before you ask, it doesn’t disrupt night-time sleep as long as it is under twenty minutes.
Three simple and actionable steps. You are busy, but you cannot afford to skip these while in a training-focused approach within a time-starved life. It is the hub of resilience and effectiveness - well beyond simply working hard. Remember that we consistently say nail the basics? Well, this is your daily habit script to lean into. Pro or otherwise.