THEME OF THE WEEK: #1- Deload Week & #2- Binaural Napping
#1 – Feeling Great After The Recovery Deload Week
As per last weeks (W20) Body & Mind Progress Journal, I finally FULLY committed to a Deload week – first time probably since October-November 2017 (>7 months ago). And honestly, what a difference a week makes!
I truly feel recovered. Less beaten up. More lightness of mind. More enthusiasm than ever to make deliberate progress in the gym, my body and work.
Last week I spoke about the feeling of a cold coming on, but only in the morning and night, and how it felt more like a sign to slow down. That completely went once I slowed down. Body is feeling both strong and flexible, with less tension and low-level anxiety.
After researching and writing the Chronic Exercise & Life Fatigue –> Are You GAS’d Out, Not Making Progress Or Stressed? 3-Part Article, it really hit home I needed to take my own medicine, and stop these thoughts of – ‘because I can, I must’, ‘more volume = more gains’ and ‘I AM the gym’. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE working hard in the gym and on my body – everything it stands for and all the qualities of mind it creates (minus the BS narcissism). But I am starting to realise that More = More for sure, but with more WORK there needs to be more REST, and they must weave into one another to maximise Supercompensation (aka Tha Gainz).
Here’s What I Did
- Followed APR-18 #HyperWorkouts, but at ~50% weight – Chance to focus on form, take it easy and get a strong muscle-mind connection. 5 days of training, but hardly breaking a sweat.
- Loaded in MUCH more mobility, stretching and rolling – Before workout. After workout. Randomly in the house when I felt I needed it. Felt great to feel my body go through full range of motion.
- Rebounded for 5mins a day first thing – Not for cardio benefits. Instead to wake up my lymph and immune system. Took it easy and had some fun! Relaxing.
- No HIIT. Didn’t really do Steady State Either – Instead, a little walking or couple mins of easy skipping to warm up for my workouts. Replaced warm-down cardio in the gym for movement outside instead.
- Nature Walks – grabbed a couple of long walks with the kids, wife and dogs. Burnt calories, but not stressful on the body.
- Shooting Hoops, Frisbee, Kids Fun & Gardening – We had good weather, so took the chance to have fun, get some active recovery in the garden and do manual work in sunshine – soaking up all the Vitamin D (see importance of VitD in this AdapNation article).
- Ate Really Well – nutritious, healthy and restorative – To recover, I decided to max out on nutrients as oppose to chill consumption down due to less effort. Actually uplifted calories from 3,500 to 3,700 kcal. No noticeable fat/weight gain.
- Prioritised ~7h of sleep over everything else – Instead of responding to a late night by cutting back on available sleep time, I opted to push things out the following morning to get my 7h or so. I hate doing that, so just reinforced the need to be lights-off by 10:30pm.
- Other Daily Commitments – 10-20mins of mindfulness/meditation every day, ZMA supplementing, Cold Contrast Showers and Magnesium Topical Spray before bed.
- A Daily Nap with Binaural Beats – See below. This is pretty interesting…
#2 – Binaural Napping – The Unexpected Habit Of The Successful
Napping I hear you say. What’s wrong with you?! I know, it sounds super lazy and unproductive, as well as being impractical in our daily routine. But, if you decide you MUST do something, then you ALWAYS find a way. You always do what you must do…
I’ve been reading and listening to a few things to do with making the most out of your day and the habits of elite highly-skilled individuals – with the view to learn and develop my own habits for optimal performance.
And I stumbled across an unexpected common habit many highly-successful creative or sports individuals partake in. The Midday Nap…
Think about it. You do what you can to be fired up and take charge of your morning. People always say get your most important or challenging work done in the morning, as your resources are high to tackle cognitively demanding tasks.
Then, you go have lunch. When you get back to your desk, you’re just lower energy. Your resources are starting to deplete, you’re getting some decision and mental fatigue, and your body is shutting down a little to process the food you just ate. You plough through the afternoon (or even the evening) more on willpower and busy-ness than shear energy and enthusiasm. Or, you watch the clock tick closer to home-time and perhaps waste too much time on Social Media because it’s easy.
If Its Good Enough For Einstein…
So, the theory goes, go get yourself forty winks just after lunch and you effectively get the chance to have two days of productivity in one! Put it another way, you get to have two productive mornings in a single day, versus a great morning and a meh afternoon. Hey, maybe there is some logic in the Siesta after all!
Many book writers, musicians, researchers and sports people just instinctively do this. If it’s good enough for Dali, Einstein, Tesla and Churchill, it’s good enough for me (see here)!
Here’s What I Did
After lunch, I grabbed my earphones and found a quiet place to lie down. I was outside for a couple days in the shade. The rest of the days were in my office with the door shut.
I downloaded a 30mins Binaural Beats* track and set my alarm for 30mins. Then, played the track and just lay there. Not trying to force myself to sleep, but trying to focus on the track, versus let me mind rush off thinking about tasks or other life stuff.
Most days I drifted off peacefully, but only for a few mins I think. The rest of the time I just chilled. Eyes closed. Empty mind. And just letting whatever happens happen. I woke up and was ready to go as soon as the alarm went off – no sleepiness or feeling sluggish at all.
*What Are Binarual Beats?
Binaural beats are auditory brain-stem responses which originate in the superior olivary nucleus of each brain hemisphere. They result from two different auditory impulses or sounds, heard from opposite ears.
These sounds elicit something called Brain Entrainment. Brainwave entrainment is a method to stimulate the brain into entering a specific state by using a pulsing sound, light, or electromagnetic field. The pulses elicit the brain’s ‘frequency following’ response, encouraging the brainwaves to align to the frequency of a given beat.
The goal when using Binaural Beats to Nap specifically, is to encourage you mind to have Theta brain waves – those associated with REM-phase sleep, meditation and creativity.
Potential benefits of using Binaural Beats include reduced stress, reduced anxiety, increased focus, increased concentration, increased motivation, increased confidence, deeper meditation and improved psychomotor performance and mood.
How Did I Feel?
I’m not gonna lie – I struggle with the concept of sleeping during the day. It feels wasteful and lazy. For that reason, I am likely lessoning the potential benefits.
That said, I’ve done everyday for a week, and I can honestly say it has helped with:
- Huge spike in creative energy in the afternoon
- Lighter more positive and fun mood In the afternoon
- Greater level of energy for my kids and family into the evening
- Better control to remain calm and patient throughout the day
It’s still early days for me, but the results so far are encouraging. I need to get over myself and fully embrace napping, to fully evaluate if this is a worthwhile 30min daily habit to invest in.
I do love the mesmerising effect of the Binaural Beats. That’s the clincher for me. I get to chill for 30mins eyes closed listening to a track that sounds of nature and spaciousness. Trippy, almost trance-like but without losing yourself.
Focus For This Week
In terms of Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness and Body Goals, here’s my focus for this week:
- New Periodised Training Programme – Will be following the all-new JUN-18 #HyperWorkouts programme. Excited to get stuck in and share it with you all shortly.
- Another Chiro Visit – Taking my 8yo daughter to the Chiropractors, as she is a club swimmer and struggling with some shoulder back tightness. I’m still battling my upper back tension issues too. MOT time!
- Dusting Off my Specialized Mountain Bike – Almost 20 years old, and not used for at least the last 10 years. My girls have got the cycling bug, so it’s about time I get involved too. #FamilyFun.
I’ll let you know how I get on next week… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.