Last week was surprising. It was emotionally draining, but not because of anything upsetting or concerning.
The Physical Game Suffered, Due To My ‘Blah’ Mental Game
It’s funny when you think about it – we all want to know the logical how-to and the silver bullets to best control our physical world, which in turn will put us in a good emotional place with life. Right? Turns out life is more complicated than that, and unless you are in both a good place emotionally and physically, life can feel a little sucky and blah.
And that was pretty much how I showed up. The less than perfect, beaten up, inefficient and ratty version of myself. The impact can be massive – to your intimate relationship, your family, your work, friends… and the gym. But, it’s one thing to see this in retrospect, but it’s another ball game altogether to understand why, get out of the rut, and make some incremental changes for the better.
I know, this is a Journal on the effort and journey towards achieving my body goals. So why am I getting all reflective about stuff outside of the gym? The reality is, if you’re not showing up outside of the gym, it’s likely you are not showing up inside it either. And if I am honest, last week’s training was fine. I got in my five days, as per the plan. I showed up, had intent, but if I am transparent with you, I was only 80% into it, and it showed in my slow recovery time, distraction, achy body and sub-optimal lifting. Now, I’m sure last week was additive and nudged me forward slightly towards my goal. It definitely beat doing nothing and binging instead, but I could have definitely got so much more out of it.
So What Caused the Mental Slump?
Having time to reflect, and most importantly see a contrasting perspective, these were the big rocks that caused the slump:
#1 – Lack of Sleep –
Damn it! I am such a proponent of good sleep, and am acutely aware of the negative impact of chronic sleep deprivation. But, in the moment, I made too many bad decisions this week. There were a few nights of 4-5h sleep, late bedding down and messed up routine as a result. When I’m not getting 6+ hours of quality sleep a night (ideally 7-8h), the impact is huge. Ratty, confused, in limbo, less effective with my mind, slow on most work stuff, overly reflective and subdued. I also have a tendency to want to snack more and have sugar-filled stuff like chocolate and dessert. It’s scientifically proven that when running on too few hours sleep, your cravings increase in an attempt to raise blood sugar levels that will help you work through a fatigued state.
#2 – International Travel & Jet Lag –
I had to travel back and forth to Boston for a one day trip. This just causes strain on the system. Lack of sleep the night before the flight, a low level of anxiety about been ready and organised throughout, a crappy night sleep in a foreign hotel room, and then the jet lag situation that messes with your circadian rhythm both when away and when back at home. I have a couple tricks to combat some of the effects, including using the light therapy devices called Valkee Human Charger (will blog on this soon), forcing myself to get some sunlight on my skin the morning I return, and most importantly avoiding the urge to have a midday nap.
#3 – Newness Confusion –
I continue to grapple with new world which is establishing a social online business, which is engaging, informative, different, and scales quickly enough to be a viable business. Think about all the platforms, the creatives, the photos, videos, research, writing, publishing, admin, marketing, podcasts and all the social etiquette necessary to be engaging online. It’s a minefield when doing all this new stuff for the first time. Plus, my fitness and wellness world is deeply integrated into the business purpose, meaning that they are really hard to separate. Argh! However, every day is making more sense, and I am finding tools and approaches that streamline the process and thinking time.
My Daughters Birthday & Valentines Day – The best version of myself better show up for both! That means more and better sleep, forcing more downtime and connection with family, and feeling in control of life, work and exercise. There will be two to three social events, so need to both enjoy them as well as plan for them in the weekly diet.
Getting in More Mobility Work & Mindfulness – I feel my body needs more attention right now, what with all the sitting down typing or looking down at a computer screen for far too long on Instagram or Facebook! I’ll be looking to get in more mobility drills for my back, hips and legs. I’ll also aim to make more effort on my breathing and mindfulness sessions.
Less Filming, and More Doing! – I’ll have more time to focus on my workouts and making measurable progress, versus having to prioritise filming, lighting and editing etc. Will aim to get more into the groove and aim for more reps, sets or weights per workout.
I’ll let you know how I get on… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.