Boosting Performance: Attacking The Low Hanging Fruit
There are simple things you can do to boost your daily performance right now.
This may include attacking the “lowest hanging fruit” on the performance tree. These are strategies and performance factors that you can address right now to influence your in- game performance, your training, your recovery and even reduce your risk of injury.
To Set the Stage:
It is important to understand that human performance is a daily event and the rules of performance apply to anything that requires our attention and effort. It could be work or school, it could be driving, hobbies, parenting, and it most certainly includes sport.
The body works on a 24 hour cycle and if you can get in the habit of attacking the low hanging fruit each and every day you can boost your potential in the short term and raise you ceiling of potential over the long game.
First, your Sleep, Rest & Recovery.
Trust me on this one, there is no easier way to immediately improve your performance, your training, and your recovery. All you need to do is plan your daily sleep and rest.
While the amount of sleep required can differ from person to person, you simply need to nail down how much sleep you need each day to be at your best and then protect it as if it were the most valuable treasure in history.
This means turn off your electronics early, make sure your room is nice and dark, cool and quite and most important stick to a schedule. Keep your wake time as consistent as possible and if you ever need to make up for lost sleep go to bed earlier or schedule in a nap
Second, Nutrition and Hydration.
Eat well – it sounds simple, but this takes planning and time. If you do this right cooking and food preparation can be a relaxing and enjoyable time. For our top performers we schedule in kitchen time with significant others, family (especially kids) and friends. And, when done right we strategically have fantastic food leftovers and ingredients to repurpose in lunches, soups and salads.
But when it comes to the “Low Hanging Fruit” in the world of human performance Hydration is often the lowest fruit of them all. As crazy as this sounds, we have rarely worked with athletes who are properly hydrated. It is one area of performance that is consistently over looked and undervalued and you would be hard pressed to find a more simple way to improve your daily performance than by just hydrating properly.
A huge percentage of our bodies are water and every single process that makes our bodies operate properly are influenced by our water intake and balance.
All important – coaches, parents & teachers take heed – this includes brain function. Your state of hydration can influence all aspects of brain function including your mood and your ability to focus and concentrate.
Water is also important for our skin health, flushing toxins from our blood, delivering nutrients like oxygen, thermoregulation and bone & joint health, even fat metabolism.
- For men it is recommended that you get in at least 12 cups of water per day (about 3 litres).
- For women 9 cups per day and more if you are pregnant and breast feeding.
- For athletes and people who exercise, you must pay close attention to water loss during training and competition. We do daily weigh-ins prior to training and competition so we can gauge water loss and compensate accordingly.
A huge added benefits, proper hydration can reduce your risk of injury and enhance recovery.
I cannot stress the importance of proper hydration.
It requires a consistent daily approach, set reminders, draw up a schedule or do whatever you have to but just make it happen. It is SO important and SO simple, yet only a VERY small percentage of people and even our elite athletes hydrate properly on a day to day basis.
Not Just Water
Though water is my recommended beverage of choice for hydration every fluid you consume contributes to the fluid balance in your body.
Milk, juice, coffee, tea, soft drinks, sport drinks, smoothies and milk shakes.
Two important notes
- Alcohol does not count! It dehydrates you and is essentially poison to the body.
- STAY AWAY FROM SUGAR DRINKS – excess sugar has also been called a toxic poison.
- Check the label. Liquid beverages can contain incredible amounts of sugar that can impact your performance both physical and mental. So proceed with caution be aware of sugar and artificial sweeteners and again maintaining a consistent overall daily water intake is a top priority.
Helpful Tips on Hydration
Drink before you are thirsty!
By the time your body signals thirst you are already dehydrated and even in an early dehydrated state the bodies capacity to perform work may drop significantly. This may impact reaction time, decision making, learning, stamina, recovery and, as mentioned, risk of injury.
While we should have a daily hydration routine it can be extremely helpful to have a pre-game and pre-training hydration plan as well. We like to practice our pre game meals and hydration plans well in advance and consistently day to day so there are no surprises when we get down to work.
Before exercise aim to consume 16 ounces of fluid 2 hours prior training or competition.
During exercise consume eight to ten ounces every 15-20 minutes. After exercise drink 16-20 ounces for every pound of body weight that is lost with exercise.
It can also be a good idea to drink water before you eat. Two 8oz glasses of water before you eat has been show to help in weight loss and weight management as it can make you feel full to avoid overeating.
So, what are the low hanging fruits on your performance tree?
If sleep, nutrition, and hydration are among them attack with a vengeance.
Regardless, drink water and develop a daily habit of hydrating properly, whether you schedule it in or post reminders all around you, hydrating is one of the simplest ways to impact your daily performance.
Here are some great apps that can help you keep track of you fluid intake:
Water Alert Pro