You stay up late cramming for exams (or you did, when you were in school). Big presentation or performance? Be honest—you’ve rehearsed over and over, sometimes until the second you take the podium or stage. But when it comes to preparing for a marathon or other race, the best strategy is exactly the opposite, exercise scientists and coaches say.
Tapering—dialing back your training right before a big competition—can give you an edge on race day, exercise physiologist Greg Wells, Ph.D., author of Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes, tells SELF. “It’s counterintuitive, because a lot of people want to train right up until the last minute, get in that one last workout,” he says. “But the research and evidence suggest that that’s probably the last thing you actually should be doing.”
Physiologist and exercise medicine researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, assistant professor at the University of Toronto, author of Superbodies and The Ripple Effect.
The skill of communication in the era of social media, leading without a title and brand awareness has never been more important. Steve Jobs knew how important a speech can be. He practised for days before presentations. More recently, Elon Musk has delivered presentations for Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity initiatives. These talks have led to the exponential growth of his companies and, possibly, a different future for humanity.
Despite the importance of communication (or maybe because of it), public speaking remains one of our greatest fears. Jerry Seinfeld said once that an average person at a funeral prefers to be in the casket than give the eulogy.
I don’t think it has to be that way. If you apply the science of human performance, you can improve your ability to deliver powerful messages, and improve your mental and physical health at the same time. Here are a few tips to get you started.
This week I chat to Dr. Sarah West from Trent University and the Hospital for Sick Children about Bones!
Here’s why this topic is so important:
All kidding aside bones are so important for our overall health, but they’re often overlooked. Hence Dr. Sarah West! Dr. West is an Assistant Professor in Kinesiology at Trent University. Her primary research interest is understanding the interaction of chronic disease and exercise, and how this is related to various outcomes – with bone health being her primary outcome of interest.
This is a very special conversation that I recorded while walking through an olive farm in the Algarve area of Portugal. Here’s what it looked like on our hike:
We went for a walk with Tim Robinson, a highly successful business leader who now spends his time taking care of land in the Algarve. This is a deep conversation about life, farming, olive oil and living a life in alignment with your values.
Hi podcast universe!!! I’m back from vacation and ready to take on the rest of 2017. To kickstart the fall I’m sharing a small part of my presentation at the Titan Summit last year on How to Live to 120.
This is a different format so let me know what you think @drgregwells on social!
Welcome back! This week I had the chance to interview 11 time Ironman Champion Lisa Bentley. Here’s a little more about Lisa!
Lisa Bentley raced for 20 years as a professional triathlete. In the course of her career, she has won 11 IRONMAN races, 11 IRONMAN 70.3 races (1/2 IRONMAN), several top 5 finishes at the IRONMAN World Championships, represented Canada on multiple National Teams and at the Pan American Games and was ranked top 5 in the world for a decade. She competed at the highest level despite having Cystic Fibrosis – a genetic lung disease resulting in chronic infections and limited lung capacity. Her CF was very controllable for much of her career and ironically, Lisa saw it as a blessing, which fuelled her passion for sport and excellence. In Lisa’s words, “every time I raced, I knew that my race served a higher purpose to give families hope that their children with CF could achieve similar things in life. And sport kept my lungs healthy so it was a double blessing!”
Since she retired from professional sport, Lisa has been running marathons, doing motivational speaking, television commentary (CTV Olympic marathon running and swim coverage, CBC Triathlon coverage, Sportsnet Ironman coverage), coaching and sales and marketing work with Ironman triathlon. Lisa was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and to the Triathlon Canada Hall of Fame in 2014.
Lisa has an honors degree from the University of Waterloo in Math and Computer Science and a Bachelors of Education from the University of Western Ontario. She taught high school for 7 years prior to pursuing sport full time in 1999 and now uses those teaching skills to coach and mentor athletes in pursuit of their goals in sport.
If you, like many others, are struggling with your energy levels, here are twelve things you need to know to better understand and improve your energy levels.
1. Sleep restores energy.
While you’re asleep, a lot is going on in your body to recover, restore, and rebuild it. Sleep is a highly active metabolic process that helps optimize our brain structure, repair damaged cells in the body, and restore energy levels.
2. Increase body temperature to increase energy.
If you want to increase your alertness and concentration at a time of the day when you normally feel sluggish, increase your body temperature by doing five to ten minutes of light cardiorespiratory exercise, such as a brisk walk.
3. Take it outside for a few.
Walking in nature improves measures of revitalization, self-esteem, energy, and pleasure, and it decreases frustration, worry, confusion, depression, tension, and tiredness far more than light activity indoors does. So take your walk outside.
4. Add some exercise.
When you exercise at an intensity that is high enough to cause your body some physiological stress, the body will adapt and improve. You will get stronger, faster, and fitter. You’ll also get smarter and happier. You will have more energy.
High fiber foods take longer to digest, provoke less of an insulin response, and leave us feeling satiated with nice, even energy levels. Go for complex, slow-digesting carbohydrates packed full of nutrients and fiber to ensure a consistent supply of mental energy.
6. Stay hydrated.
No water, no energy. You know that sluggish feeling you get in the afternoon? For most people, the afternoon crash is caused by dehydration. So do yourself a favor. Give yourself more energy by drinking some water. Tired? Drink some water.
7. Eat protein at every meal.
It’s a good idea to eat protein at every meal. High-protein foods can help you maintain your attention and focus.
Yoga and tai chi decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost the immune system. They also give you more stamina—needed in stressful times—and improve the quality of your sleep.
9. Trying single-tasking.
The concept behind single-tasking is that you start with the most important task—not the most urgent one—and work on it exclusively until it is either complete or you are out of time. By managing how you spend your mental energy, you help ensure that you excel at whatever you do.
10. Low energy levels are usually between 1 and 4 p.m.
This three-hour span is the time of day most people have their afternoon crash, and their energy levels are the lowest.
11. Keep a log to learn more.
When are you at your best mentally? When do you feel most energetic or lethargic? To figure this out, keep a daily log, and note your energy levels each hour throughout the day.
12. Design your day around your energy levels.
Once you know when you have the least and most amounts of energy, you can craft your ideal day. Align your tasks and schedule to take advantage of your high mental and physical energy times. You’ll perform better, and you’ll also be much healthier.
It’s really hard to live a high-performance life when high stress is a daily reality. Chronic stress damages your body, threatens your mental health, puts strain on relationships, and takes the joy out of life.
Your thoughts have strong influence over stress levels. What you choose to think about, or not think about, dictates how your body and mind react to everyday life.
So how can we reduce the ongoing flow of damaging stress—and even find peace in our thought life? The key is to break up stressful times with periods of rest, recovery, and regeneration. The good news is that anyone can learn techniques that can counter the damage of the stress response.
Make sure that each day you take some time to break the stress cycle and rest, recover, and regenerate. Doing this not only helps you find peace in the moment but also recharges your body and brain to stay healthy over the long term.
Here are 7 proven techniques that can help you have a healthy thought life and recover from chronic stress:
1. Move your body
Rhythmic, repeated motion is particularly soothing to the mind and body. A long walk, cycling, swimming, or running will all work, but any kind of movement will relieve tension, improve circulation, and clear your mind.
2. Get into nature
Go outside! Head to the garden, the park, or the woods to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, reduce tension and depression, and boost your mood. It’s stunning how good it is for your health to be in nature. Leave the cell phone and earbuds at home.
3. Practice yoga or Tai Chi
Like nature therapy, yoga and Tai Chi decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost the immune system. They also give you more stamina—needed in stressful times—and improve the quality of your sleep.
4. Have perspective
Don’t be so quick to conclude that you “can’t handle” a stressful situation. This is truly a mind-over-matter opportunity. Believing that you are strong and resourceful actually makes you stronger and more resourceful. Don’t give in to negative self-talk about not having what it takes to manage life.
5. Change the nature of your response
Research indicates that taking an active, problem-solving approach to life’s challenges relieves stress and can transform it into something positive. If you withdraw, deny the problem, or spend all your time venting, you’ll feel helpless. Instead, be determined to make a change, put effort into it, and plan for better results.
6. Practice slow, deep breathing
Start applying the power of deep breathing each day. It will make a huge difference. Start small by taking three deep breaths each time you sit down at your desk—in the morning, after breaks, after lunch, and so on. It will help you become more patient, calm, and relaxed.
7. Block time for single-tasking.
Each day this week, schedule time in your calendar for focusing exclusively on one task. This task should be something that is very important to you. Doing several things at once might make it seem as if you are working hard, but it’s an illusion. Your body and mind are not designed to work that way and it causes extra stress.
Welcome back podcast universe! This week I had the chance to chat with one of my greatest influences Paul Chek. Paul is a legend in the health and fitness space and we went really deep in this conversation. We talked about healthy nutrition, fitness and the pillars of living a great life. Here’s a little more about Paul.
Paul is a holistic health practitioner who has transformed the lives of countless individuals by developing practical and effective methods for addressing all aspects of well-being. His approach to treatment and education is driven by his “system of systems” philosophy: that the body is a fully integrated unit of physical, hormonal, emotional and spiritual components.
He is the founder of Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology (C.H.E.K) Institute, which helps healthcare professionals advance their careers through a holistic approach to health, fitness and well-being. He is also the creator of the PPS Success Mastery Program. This self-mastery program teaches individuals to reach their true potential by transforming their destructive habits and learning to take control of their personal, professional and spiritual life.
Decreased alertness is a huge hindrance to thinking and, ultimately, performing at a high level. There are many factors that can help you feel more (or less) alert. These six ways to feel more alert are changes you can easily make to your life, starting today!
According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 39.6% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. The reality of cancer is upsetting, but there is hope. You can cut your cancer risk in half by committing to four important areas. No magic pills, insane amount of money, or all-consuming regimen. And, the best news is, you will not only lower your risk of cancer, but also improve your overall health and change your life for the positive.
Toronto physiologist Greg Wells’s new book, The Ripple Effect, makes lofty promises, pledging that we can Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better. A superachiever himself (Ironman, PhD, researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids and professor at the University of Toronto), Wells nevertheless tempers those assertions by sticking to a simple message in the book, in stores April 4. It’s okay to dream big, but start small. Peppered with “1 per cent tips,” Wells advocates staying focused on micro-improvements (using spices, not sauces, to cut calories; walking 15 minutes a day to potentially lower risk of breast and colon cancer 24 to 40 per cent). “Microchanges are sustainable forever,” he says. “When they add up over time, it’s like compound interest for your body and mind.”
You know those days when you don’t get enough sleep, so you decide to skip the gym and then you end up eating nothing but garbage for the rest of the day? We’ve all been there. Greg Wells, author of The Ripple Effect, says there are ways we can make small changes to our sleeping, eating, exercising and thinking habits that can transform our health for life.
As an entrepreneur, you likely travel a lot, and you already know that jet lag (which science geeks call “flight dysrhythmia”) can cause all kinds of unpleasant symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, depressed mood, upset stomach, fatigue and mental fuzziness, to name a few.
And the farther you travel, the worse your jet lag will likely be. Why? Because crossing time zones throws your internal rhythms out of sync with your external environment. It’s like your body stays back in New York as you head off to your first meeting in London!
An athlete steps up to the starting blocks in the Olympic stadium. He (or she) stands tall, takes a few deep breaths and shakes out his muscles. Thousands of people cheer while he is introduced, but his eyes never waver from the course he’s about to run. When the starting gun fires, he explodes into high-performance action.
How can we apply this scenario to a business situation? The same techniques athletes use to perform under pressure allow business leaders to excel in the professional sphere. Here are five top practices that will improve both your health and performance in the workplace.
Being an entrepreneur often means being pushed to physical and mental limits daily. There are long hours; there’s a consistent need to perform at full capacity in presentations and meetings; and there’s the drive to stay sharp while determining the right strategic direction for the company.
When people get busy or stressed, often the first thing sacrificed is healthy eating — and that’s the opposite of what should happen.