The following article from business and personal coach Clare Evans is apt for several categories of articles -- it's good advice for all kinds of performance and it's good information for general fitness. As with any articles that relate to the realm of fitness, this is published with the reminder that it is information and education, not medical advice. Always consult your health care professional for advice on starting diet and exercise programs or on changes to your diet and exercise programs. -- Editor
How To Attain Your Peak Performance
by Clare Evans
If you want to operate at Peak Performance then you need to give your body what it needs to function effectively - nutrition and exercise. The better you feel the more effective you'll be and the more you'll be able to do.
1. Eat more Fast Food. Bet you never thought you'd hear me say that! By fast food I mean food that your body is able to deal with fast. Not junk food that turns into slow food as soon as it gets into your digestive system. This means fresh fruit and veg juice and the only way to get this is from a juice bar or make your own at home. Check out Jason Vale to hear from the man himself on all that is wonderful and good about juices.
2. Look at what you eat. Eat fresh fruit and veg and avoid processed food. Do you ever read labels? What exactly are you putting into your body - do you really want all those chemicals? Notice that sugar creeps into most processed foods. What replaces the fat in 'low-fat' and sugar in 'sugar-free'. And don't get me on the subject of what really goes into producing the food that we eat - that's a whole other can of worms! Concentrated on creating the habit of healthy eating and avoid yo-yo dieting to control your weight.
3. Drink more water. We all know we should be drinking more but how often do you manage it? Even slight dehydration can affect your performance, energy levels and efficiency. Have a large glass of water first thing each morning and last thing at night then make sure you sip water throughout the day - have a bottle at your desk, in the car and especially if your exercising. If you're thirsty you're already dehydrated!
4. Don't forget to Breathe! Most of us only use the top part of our lungs when we breathe. To breathe correctly, breathe in to your stomach for a count of two, then into your upper chest for two to fully inflate your lungs. Reverse the process and breathe out for four counts. Try this for a few minutes at a time throughout the day and revive your body. Use it as a warm-up when exercising - matching your breathing with your stride - it's a great fat-burner.
5. Stop the Bloat. Do you suffer from bloating after you eat? Keep a food diary of everything you eat and note how you feel throughout the day. Try going dairy and wheat free for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference. Apparently the vast majority of us don't even have the enzyme to digest cow's milk after the age of three! No wonder it doesn't agree with us!
6. Get enough sleep. Your body needs time to recover each day - if you're not getting the sleep you need, you're likely to reach for that cup of coffee every morning to keep you going. Set a regular time to go to bed and get up each day and stick to it. Our bodies like routine.
7. Exercise regularly. Have you noticed how when you feel tired and low on energy - actually getting out for some exercise can make you feel better. Find something you enjoy - it doesn't have to be going to a gym and pounding away on a treadmill, learn/participate in a team sport, go out for a walk, swim find ways to build exercise into your daily routine. 30 minutes 3-5 times a week is all it takes.
8. Avoid food comas. That state of lethargy that occurs after the Sunday roast or Christmas dinner because you've overdone it. Your body can't cope with an overloaded stomach so to digest all that food, the rest of the body shuts down. Smaller meals - little and often are easier on your body, increase your metabolism and avoid those blood sugar slumps.
9. Take breaks. You can't work at peak performance for hours on end and expect to be effective and productive. Take regular breaks throughout the day - get up from your desk, take a few deep breaths, get outside for some fresh-air if you can - don't reach for the caffeine to give you a boost - it's only a temporary high and creates a bad habit.
10. Everything in moderation. Treat yourself gently and with respect. Ideally avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol - these place an added strain on your body as it deals with them. Be realistic - give yourself a treat or indulgence but make these the exception not the norm.
About the Author
Clare Evans is a Personal & Business Coach. She works with busy individuals and small business owners to enable them to plan and organise their time more effectively. Read more articles on Work Life Balance here.
Receive free weekly Time Tips when you register for her monthly newsletter at www.clareevans.co.uk.