I try and simplify training and nutrition theory to basic units of action and time.
I find complex theories, if left unchecked, often result in confusion, inactivity and ‘if onlys’.
Instead, I look at the critical elements that contribute to performance and physical longevity, and optimize my time and energy accordingly to get the best out of my body.
It can be as easy as understanding and adapting the ratio of training, recovery and nutrition.
If you think about it – most training sessions go anywhere from 1-2 hours. That leaves approximately 22 hours of eating and recovery — with usually 7-8 of those hours allocated to sleep.
Nutrition is arguably the most important variable — what we eat may determine our training intensity, our recovery and our ability to fall to and have a deep sleep.
At Spartan we encourage you to train hard and get after it, but there are times when you just need to follow 3 rules to ensure your living your healthy values every single day:
- Move more,
- Recover smarter, and
- Eat cleaner and greener.
Result: lower level of complexity leads to immediate action.
Rule #1: Move More
Elaborate workout plans are great and we all use them, but this is about immediate action and living a life with purpose every day.
Push and pull your body any chance you have during the day (this doesn’t need to be at the gym).
Run whatever/wherever and then back home.
Take the stairs instead of elevator.
Walk to walking-distance stuff. Discover what’s in running-distance.
Pick up heavy object and pace.
And, when you can, do burpees.
If I need a formal workout I do this one:
- 0.5 mi run, hard
- 20 burpees
- 5 pull ups
- Repeat as needed
Rule #2: Recover Smarter
Sleep like you mean it. That is structured time that needs to be optimally practiced. Respect it. Observe the ritual by doing your part. Think of leaving out sleep as leaving out training. If plans change and you somehow have a free 30 minute or 1 hour interval, learn to power nap on the spot. It’s skill to be cultivated.
Stretch like you care. Not just like you have to. Aspire to be more flexible. Aspire to be more mobile. Take it as serious as you take your miles and your reps.
When in doubt, leave it out. You should be hungry to train. That means your rested and ready. Know when an any training at all is too much. If have a really negative feeling or suspicion that you are overtrained, you probably are overtrained.
Rule #3: Eat Cleaner and Greener
Eat your greens.
That’s my approach to nutrition. I try and eat a lot of green vegetables. More colors the better, but by focusing on green, I’ve noticed good things happen.
But eating fresh green vegetables is freakin’ tough.
It’s frustrating buying expensive, organic fruit and vegetables and then having them go off before I even get to eating them. I’ve also previously been in the habit of spending a fortune on expensive juice bars and drinks, which are often loaded with sugar.
Worst yet – it’s a gamble as to whether those ingredients and vegetables being used and sold are 100% reliable and fresh.
Now – I am 100% whole foods first, but to ensure I’m getting the most bioavailable nutrients every day I have a daily routine that I use to keep nutrition simple and cover my basis if need be.
Every morning, I wake. I pull out my pack of Athletic Greens from the fridge and drink 500 ml of water. It’s got a ton of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals and it’s a great way to get Rule #3 done first thing in the morning.
Not only that but I love that it includes prebiotics and probiotics so I’m supporting my gut and enhancing the absorption of whole foods throughout the day.
Athletic Greens also includes adaptogens and the antioxidant equivalent of 12 servings of fruit and vegetable, which supports my recovery from training, manages stress on the body and gives me a sustainable boost in energy.
This is my ultimate hack to optimize my time and deliver a spectrum of nutrients to my body every day.
The big thing I’ve learned is focusing on your nutrition first, so it enhances the rest of the equation.
But keep ALL elements simple and achievable, so you minimize those times you live outside your healthy values.