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Fitness Your Way: A Sustainable Training Plan

Matthew Mace, an avid cyclist and runner, recently published an article on athlete burnout, what it is, and how to prevent it. Matthew defined burnout as a lasting experience of emotional and physical exhaustion. His recommended intervention examples (including visualisation and positive self-talk) are helpful ways of preventing burnout.

Like Sun Sachs and Ed Gibbins said in their podcast on sustainable training routines, the most powerful thing you can do is to be consistent. This means:

Finding movement that you enjoy and seeking out an inclusive space

Physical exercise has numerous scientifically-proven health benefits such as the prevention of numerous chronic diseases, improvement of brain health, and strengthen your bones and muscles. But none of these are worth anything if you don’t enjoy the movement you are doing. Find what works for you, fitness your way, and stick with it.

The importance of a supportive community that encourages you to push past your perceived limits and reminds you to rest when your mind and body needs is immeasurable.

Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

Being brave does not mean you are not scared of something, it means you do it regardless of the fear. Remember, the more often you do something, the easier it becomes!

Neuro-Training is a great way to help you improve focus and mental performance. Check out our article on everything you need to know about neuro-training here or try a 3-minute beginner neuro-training session here.

A good warm-up and cool-down routine is non-negotiable

It has been recommended that a warm-up should be at least 10 minutes and include a range of mobility work. According to the latest science, “an effective warm-up can expand your blood vessels, warranting greater oxygen supply to muscles”.

Just as important is an effective cool-down routine after your workout because it is “essential for the body’s recovery process”.

Benefits of a good warm-up and cool-down includes:

  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Improved physical performance
  • Increased mental fitness
  • Less stress

Did you know that Rewire users are 71% less stressed after consistently using the app? Give our Focus Guided Recovery Session a try.

Rest and recover

Rest and recovery includes three main aspects:

  1. Quality sleep: optimise your sleep for recovery and reach your ultimate performance.
  2. Enough time between workouts to give your body the time it needs to recover.
  3. The correct fuel: eat to support the physical activity you are doing. For some great ideas, check out our article on foods to fight fatigue.

Not sure where to start? Why not give Rewire a shot – our supportive community, innovative app, and scientifically-proven protocols might be just what you need to stay consistent and crush your training goals!

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Sources:

Ruegsegger, G. N., & Booth, F. W. (2018). Health Benefits of Exercise. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in medicine8(7), a029694. https://doi.org/10.1101/cshperspect.a029694

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). Benefits of physical activity. [online] CDC. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm.‌

CrankIt Fitness. (2016). The latest Science on warming up and cooling down. [online] Available at: https://www.crankitfitness.com/the-latest-science-on-warming-up-and-cooling-down/ [Accessed 26 Jun. 2022].

American Heart Association (2014). Warm Up, Cool Down. [online] www.heart.org. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/warm-up-cool-down.‌‌‌

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Neuro-Training: How and When to Use the Different Aspects of Rewire

PART 1 – How do you use Rewire

Neuro-training represents a unique aspect of the Rewire Fitness app giving athlete a significant opportunity to improve their performance through mental resilience. There are many ways to incorporate neuro-training into your training program and how you do so really depends on a number of things:

  1. Goals
  2. Phase of training/season 
  3. Other training for the day 
  4. Readiness 
  5. Lifestyle factors 

Goals 

As with all things, your meta goals will flow down into driving smaller and process goals. So, within your life’s goals, you will have other goals such as work or fitness related goals. These will aid in deciding how and when to use neuro-training. Ultimately, as with all training, the goals aid in decision making on if, when, how and how to use any given modality. 

The simple answer as to why you would use neuro-training is anyone who is looking to improve mental endurance. Where mental endurance may help, is a more extensive question but in short, anywhere that prolonged focus and concentration is required. This comes to the fore in prolonged physical endurance activities (as mental fatigue is part of more general fatigue) as well as prolonged mentally taxing activities for example aspects of work, long haul driving or an extreme example may be extensive surgery. The other aspect in which neuro-training comes to the fore is resilience, that unexpected hill in your run, the unforeseen weather during your competition or just a generally tough day at work. 

With this in mind, who should do neuro-training is clearer, but even in the examples above it is fairly simple to see that how these people may approach neuro-training is very different, more on this later. 

Focussing more on the athletic population, the goal question becomes a level deeper, in that this question can be applied to any given period of training, or training session itself. Certain training sessions and phases of the season lend themselves more or less to neuro-training than others or may mean neuro-training is best fit into the broader schedule differently. For example it may be sub-optimal to perform extensive periods of neuro-training prior to a key workout that requires significant mental focus and endurance. Whereas a easy session, with the goal of primarily adding easy training volume may lend itself well to some neuro-training, perhaps even during the training session to augment the mental aspects of the training session. 

Phase of training/season 

Once goals are understood, a program is usually built towards these goals in a systematic way. This will have different phases with different emphasis points and sub-goals therein. For example, one may be trying to run a new marathon time, but with a base building phase, where the goal is to accumulate running volume and develop the aerobic and musculoskeletal systems. Or, in a team sport example, the pre-season may be focused on certain tactical and technical aspects that will be key to performance of the selected tactical game model. 

The phase of the season and resultant training emphasis and goals of the period should form part of the decision-making process when considering how to best incorporate neuro-training into your training week. 

During more general and less specific training periods, as is usually the case further away from the competitive portion of the season, neuro-training will be able to be used more flexibly. That is, accumulating mental fatigue at this stage of the season has fewer negative consequences. In fact, if this is during a conditioning phase, where physical fatigue is being accumulated, it may be additive in the training stimulus. 

As time progresses and the training phases become more specific, where neuro-training fits into any given day or week becomes more important. That is due to the fact that neuro-training can be quite taxing and thus should be removed from training sessions that are more focussed on skill acquisition, tactical specifics or perhaps even more significant speed or endurance balanced sessions. This is due to the cognitive and neural load of these sessions in themselves and wanting to be fresh for them. There is, of course, the ability to do neuro-training after these types of training sessions if you want to add more stimulus. Specifically this is where you can best utilise the ‘Post-Workout’ Neuro-Training category.

Once you are in your competitive season, it should be considered how much neuro-training is appropriate given your competition. For example, in championship type events such as is common in endurance sport, it may be reasonable to avoid neuro-training for a period pre-race. Similarly, neuro-training on the game day for team sport athletes seems counterproductive. 

Other training for the day 

Zooming in a layer deeper from the phase of the season, we can start examining where within a day may be appropriate for you to fit neuro-training in. Of course, most users are busy, as part time athletes so this becomes even more important. 

Neuro-training can of course be done at any time that suits you but can also be done as part of your physical training session, be it between sets in the gym, during a run or on the bike trainer (with Rewire Neuro-Buttons – Coming Jan ‘23). There are definitely some training sessions where this would not be appropriate (and of course the normal safety caveats here!). 

Training sessions with very specific focus on quality of execution do not generally lend themselves to use of neuro-training during the training session or indeed before it. It is best to do these training sessions fresh and really get the best benefit from them. It is probably best to complete neuro-training on other training days, where sessions are less contingent on high quality execution and thus mental freshness. That said, there may be a role for neuro-training after a session of high quality if you feel up to it and cannot complete it elsewhere. 

Readiness 

Similarly, to your daily readiness potentially modifying other training plans as a result of not being ready to best adapt to the planned stress of the training session, you can consider modifying neuro-training plans to fit readiness also. 

Overall readiness, as dictated by the Rewire app, gives you a level of insight into your general preparedness. It may be worthwhile having days off or very easy if this is particularly low. Within that global score, though, are the components thereof: physical, emotional, and cognitive. Herein lies the opportunity to really dial things in.

Neuro-training on low physical readiness days

This could be the biggest opportunity afforded to Rewire users over the competition. Whilst preliminary, there is evidence supporting training based on physical readiness (specifically HRV, a component of Rewire’s physical readiness component – see references), wherein athletes down regulate training when HRV is low (and physical readiness is low). On these days, there is the ability to perform extra neuro-training and take advantage of the reduced physical load. 

Neuro-training on low cognitive readiness days

It is probably ill-advised to complete neuro-training on days where your cognitive readiness is low. This may also be the case on days of low emotional readiness though this is probably somewhat user dependent and a little dependent on how frustrating you find aspects of neuro-training. 

Lifestyle factors 

Whilst much of the discussion to this point has been pertaining to fitting neuro-training in with the rest of your training program, as with the rest of it, you should consider neuro-training the context of your broader day also. Specifically, this usually means work for most people who aren’t full time athletes. Depending on your job and its mental load, it may be that neuro-training is best done post work, with the fatigue of work aiding in the stimulus and meaning less neuro-training stimulus is required. Doing this may also mean the neuro-training stimulus required is lower, both practically and for optimization of the training effects. Alternatively doing your neuro-training before work may be a good option on days where you have a less mentally burdensome start to the day. 

All of this negates the very practical viewpoint of “the best place to do neuro-training is the place where you will be consistent in doing it”. Specifically, as a non-professional athlete, it should always be remembered that training will be somewhat secondary (or tertiary) and thus will never be optimal, but just more or less optimal. Making sure you get your desired neuro-training stimulus is more important than it being a little more or less optimal in the scheme of your day or week. 

Other Use Cases

Injury

Whilst unpleasant to think about and often not mentioned, this is a reality of life as an athlete of any level. In a somewhat similar scenario to the above “Neuro-training on low physical readiness days” section, there is a unique opportunity to increase neuro-training load when physical training is limited. This represents another unique opportunity to leverage the unfortunate situation to gain an advantage over the competition for Rewire users. 

Building Load

Whilst not quite the same as the above situation, and with the acknowledgement that neuro-training is hard to quantify and not a direct replacement for physical load, there is an opportunity for athletes who are currently unable to increase physical training loads. These athletes may see benefit in performance outcomes but also preparedness to tolerate increased physical loads in the future as a result of increasing neuro-training in preparation for increases in physical training load. 

Examples

These examples are to give some idea of how one may fit neuro-training into fairly standard weekly plans and periodisation models for the given example scenario. These are not exhaustive but aim to put some paradigm and context to the above information. 

Endurance Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before key workouts and races. 
  • Good times for neuro-training: during or around easy volume (60-90mins Zone 2 of a 5-zone model for instance). 

Team Sport Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before skill training and game days.  
  • Good times for neuro-training: Conditioning days, easy lifting days, rest days. 

Strength Sport Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before technically challenging days, key sessions and competition days.  
  • Good times for neuro-training: Conditioning days, easy lifting days, rest days.

Take Home Message

As mentioned above, some neuro-training is better than none and so whilst optimizing neuro-training can help in training outcomes, this should not be a barrier to doing any neuro-training. 

When building your neuro-training schedule into your training program always consider:

  1. Goals
  2. Phase of training/season 
  3. Other training for the day 
  4. Readiness 
  5. Lifestyle factors 

And of course, don’t forget to utilize it more when physical loads are less able to be tolerated for example when nearing current load tolerance capacity or when injured. 

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  1. Peter Düking, Christoph Zinner, Khaled Trabelsi, Jennifer L. Reed, Hans-Christer Holmberg, Philipp Kunz, Billy Sperlich,Monitoring and adapting endurance training on the basis of heart rate variability monitored by wearable technologies: A systematic review with meta-analysis, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport,2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2021.04.012.
  2. Javaloyes A, Sarabia JM, Lamberts RP, Moya-Ramon M. Training Prescription Guided by Heart Rate Variability in Cycling. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 May 29:1-28. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0122. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 29809080. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29809080/
  3. Carrasco-Poyatos M, González-Quílez A, Altini M, Granero-Gallegos A. Heart rate variability-guided training in professional runners: Effects on performance and vagal modulation. Physiol Behav. 2022 Feb 1;244:113654. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113654. Epub 2021 Nov 20. PMID: 34813821 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34813821/
  4. Manresa-Rocamora A, Sarabia JM, Javaloyes A, Flatt AA, Moya-Ramón M. Heart Rate Variability-Guided Training for Enhancing Cardiac-Vagal Modulation, Aerobic Fitness, and Endurance Performance: A Methodological Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 29;18(19):10299. doi: 10.3390/ijerph181910299. PMID: 34639599; PMCID: PMC8507742. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/19/10299

Dr David Lipman is an Australian trained Medical Doctor, Podiatrist and Exercise Physiologist. He has worked with athletes of varying levels in all 3 roles. He is an ultramarathon runner, avid physical activity advocate and is passionate about performance in all people.

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The Best Habits for Your Brain

Did you know that mental decline is common as we age? Many people fear the consequences of aging, such as declining cognitive and mental function or loss of independence. However, there some habits we can implement that have been shown to improve brain health.

Here are the top 5 habits for Brain Health:

1. An active lifestyle and the right diet

Physical activity has been shown to slow the process of brain aging and degenerative pathologies, such as Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes. Studies have also proven that an active lifestyle can improve memory and cognitive processes.

Both endurance and resistance exercise allow for muscle synthesis, but there is no consensus on the impact of different types of exercise on brain health. However, research has shown that habitual exercise has a positive impact on both physical and mental health, including brain health.

Additionally, a nutritious diet can help prevent cognitive impairment and improve brain health. Studies have proven that nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins (particularly vitamins B, D and E) can positively impact cognitive processes.

2. Balance

Practicing mindfulness and finding the right balance is an important habit that can help us reduce stress and engage positively with the world around us. A poor work-life balance has been shown to have long-term negative impacts on our brain health.

3. Healthy sleep habits

Research has shown that “sleep plays a vital role in brain function” and adults need about 7 hours of sleep every night to be able to perform their best. Check out our article on how to optimise your sleep here!

Other benefits of sleep include:

  • Supports mental health
  • Improves memory
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports the immune system

The Rewire App has a personalized Sleep Priming Session because we know just how important quality sleep is.

4. Social interaction

A study in 2020 showed that “social engagement may protect against cognitive decline” and accumulating research has proven that socializing is good for our brain health. Interacting with others trains our brains and social contact can help us improve memory formation and build mental resilience.

5. Stimulate the brain

In the same way that we exercise our bodies, our brains need exercise too. Studies have shown that stimulating the brain can enhance cognitive function and build mental resilience. Interested in learning more? Read about the worst habits for your brain here.

Rewire’s Neuro-Training protocols are backed by over 10 years of scientific research and have been shown to develop mental resilience. Rewire takes a holistic approach to achieving peak performance by providing tools for training and recovery of both the mind and body.

Give Rewire a try and experience how good habits can help the health of your brain! Train both your physical and mental fitness with Rewire today.

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Sources

Harvard Health. (2006). 12 ways to keep your brain young. [online] Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/12-ways-to-keep-your-brain-young?msclkid=ee9f1fc9bd5611ec9d3b5fcafd3ab3de [Accessed 16 Apr. 2022].

Di Liegro, C.M., Schiera, G., Proia, P. and Di Liegro, I. (2019). Physical Activity and Brain Health. Genes, [online] 10(9), p.720. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770965/.‌‌

Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, [online] 9(7), pp.568–578. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/.‌

www.medicalnewstoday.com. (2016). Poor work-life balance leads to poor health later in life. [online] Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313755?msclkid=e3e89170bd7411ec866fa008cd28ab97#Findings-likely-to-apply-to-wider-populations [Accessed 16 Apr. 2022].‌

Medic, G., Wille, M. and Hemels, M. (2017). Short- and long-term Health Consequences of Sleep Disruption. Nature and Science of Sleep, [online] Volume 9(9), pp.151–161. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449130/.‌

Cynthia Felix, MD, MPH, Caterina Rosano, MD, MPH, Xiaonan Zhu, PhD, Jason D Flatt, PhD, MPH, Andrea L Rosso, PhD, MPH, Greater Social Engagement and Greater Gray Matter Microstructural Integrity in Brain Regions Relevant to Dementia, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 76, Issue 6, July 2021, Pages 1027–1035, https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbaa173

Al-Thaqib, A., Al-Sultan, F., Al-Zahrani, A., Al-Kahtani, F., Al-Regaiey, K., Iqbal, M. and Bashir, S. (2018). Brain Training Games Enhance Cognitive Function in Healthy Subjects. Medical science monitor basic research, [online] 24, pp.63–69. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29674605.‌

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What is Neuro-Training?

Neuro-Training is the name we have given to training that involves mentally fatiguing activities to induce mental fatigue to help augment this training stimulus. 

Mental fatigue, as a training stimulus? 

Yes, you read that correctly. Any activity that has a component of prolonged time, think sports matches, endurance activities, prolonged focused work – they all have a component of mental endurance. As a result, performance in these can be improved via neuro-training. That’s right, doing neuro-training will help your marathon running, or triathlon performance. 

But if it is so good why am I just hearing about it now? 

As a former elite cyclist and lifelong endurance athlete and self-described performance geek, our founder, Sun Sachs, had been aware of the science around building more cognitive resilience as a way of improving athletic performance. He had been waiting for a commercial version of the science to come to market for 4+ years until one day on the bike trainer he had an epiphany for how it could be done. With 25 years in software and hardware development he was able to build a prototype in a few weeks with his first co-founder, Cody Rotwein, start beta testing, file a patent, add one more amazing co-founder, Ed Gibbins and the rest is history. 

So in short, we aren’t sure, but we sure are happy to be bringing this game changer to you. 

So what is Rewire?

Rewire is a complete system developed for both neuro-training, readiness tracking and mind/body recovery. 

It caters to all your neuro-training wants and needs, in or out of physical training hours, allowing you to gain the edge on your competition by being better able to focus and handle mental fatigue.

Additionally, as mentioned, it is an integrated readiness tracker. This is because, like all training, neuro-training isn’t optimally done when you are dealing with a high amount of cognitive fatigue, so tracking this becomes essential. 

The beauty of Rewire is that it allows you to understand where (emotionally, physically or mentally) you are ready to perform and where you are carrying fatigue. Armed with this knowledge, the inbuilt personal recovery sessions (based on these results) and the will to modify your training program, you can work with your body to optimize training. Heavy mental fatigue? Well maybe do a recovery session and change training, or use this mental fatigue as a form of neuro-training. Heavy physical fatigue? Maybe modify training and take advantage of the time to do more neuro-training with the app. 

You get the picture, we are changing the game through working with your situation rather than assuming you are a robot who can just perform as planned from the training program written six months ago. 

What does neuro-training look like? 

It comes in many forms, in fact some of them are things you are probably doing. For example, prolonged concentration on a task is a form of neuro-training, this is why after a long, mentally tough day at work training can feel harder. That said, just like physical training, there is a huge difference between targeted  and specific training and training that has some effect. This is where Rewire comes in. 

Rewire uses the same types of training developed in research studies for inducing mental fatigue to help your neurotraining. These require prolonged attention and help increase cognitive load during training, or induce a mentally fatiguing stimulus before your training, to help augment the physical stimulus induced by the subsequent training session. 

How does neuro-training work? 

Fatigue itself is complex, but it has many components, one of which is mental fatigue. By doing neuro-training you are becoming more resistant to mental fatigue and thus will improve this factor in performance or at least reduce or remove it as a limiting factor in performance. Neuro-training can be standalone, or done around physical training depending on goals of the neuro-training and physical training. It is no use pre-fatiguing yourself mentally before a key workout, but perhaps this is a good way to get a little bit more out of the easy workout you have today. It can also be done concurrently with physical training with our Neuro-Training Buttons (Launching in Jan 2023).

What does neuro-training do?

Neuro-training will ultimately help you improve focus and mental performance. 

This has implications to everyday life and performance of course, especially with more mentally burdensome activities. In an athletic sense, as mentioned, fatigue has a large component of mental fatigue and neuro-training looks to address this specifically. So whilst there are other factors to fatigue, this part will be improved, helping reduce mental fatigue and removing it as a barrier to performance. 

Why is neuro-training necessary? 

You spend so much time training and preparing for the race, it seems a waste to completely ignore one aspect of training doesn’t it? You wouldn’t skip swim training for a triathlon, so why skip neuro-training for your upcoming athletic endeavors? 

Given the interrelated nature of mental fatigue and performance it is crucial for you to focus on the mental aspects of performance. These include neuro-training and finally there is a way in which you can do this easily, in a structured manner thanks to Rewire. The added benefits being that it will have flow on effects to all aspects of your life in terms of focus and mental performance and can be done without adding significant time to your day or any more physical load. That’s right, you get better without having to physically tax yourself! 

Don’t hesitate to start your neuro-training and unlock the benefits of improved mental performance, Rewire your performance circuitry today. 

Tap here to try one of our Neuro-Training sessions. If you aren’t a Rewire member yet, tap here to sign up today!

Kyle Korver
Kyle Korver
NBA All-Star and Prolific 3-Point Shooter

“As a professional athlete, I’ve known firsthand the importance of training the mind and body to push the limits of performance. Rewire’s latest platform makes mental strength training more accessible to athletes everywhere with easy-to-use tools to help them reach their goals.”

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Dr David Lipman is an Australian trained Medical Doctor, Podiatrist and Exercise Physiologist. He has worked with athletes of varying levels in all 3 roles. He is an ultramarathon runner, avid physical activity advocate and is passionate about performance in all people.


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