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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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Training For The Mind: Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

To the untrained eye, the reason that we exercise is to simply improve our fitness. We lift to improve our strength and build muscle and we go on long runs, swims or rides to develop our endurance. That is what, at the most basic level, training is all about – improving our athletic performance.

Sometimes I hear people disregard rest days and the importance of recovery. I usually laugh at this as the inner scientist in me cringes. At first glance, this attitude would seem to come from the false belief that improvements in our physiology occur in the gym and whilst exercising, rather than in our sleep and time spent recovering, and for the vast majority of people, it is likely to be true that they are incorrectly taking this ‘no rest’ approach with the aim of improving their fitness.

However, to some, there is more to training than simply improving fitness. To some, training is less about the body, than it is about the mind. Take David Goggins for example, he never has a rest day, and to many, this would seem crazy and futile. But, the most important thing to him when training is the development of his mental toughness. For some people, training is not about improving their body or fitness, these are just welcome bi-products. Instead, training is about the mind. Creating a high level of suffering to develop their mental toughness and themselves as a person.

‘Who on this f**king earth would be going right now? You are! I believed it enough to where my body said: “he’s not gonna stop”.’

David Goggins

I’m certainly not suggesting that you do go at 100% all the time, and you should give yourself time to rest and recover. But we can learn a lot from the mentality shown by Goggins: we should not be using science as an excuse for slacking. In that sense, you would only be cheating yourself. We should however use the science when it is correctly applied and take appropriate recovery for the our exercise. Indeed, by its very definition, you cannot recover without putting the work in first.

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”

Marcus Aurelius

If we cave in to feelings of needing to stop we our losing an internal battle with our mind, and the mind is immensely powerful. Under conditions of mental fatigue our endurance performance is shown to decrease significantly (1,2). Yet, the science shows that using Neuro Training over a 12-week programme was shown to yield 3x the improvement in athletic performance in a time-to-exhaustion trial (3). By putting our mind under uncomfortable conditions and testing our mental capacities we can break the boundaries of what was previously possible. Learn how we help athletes and those looking to level up their human performance increase their mental resilience.

“That’s one of my big things too is, you know, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable”

Laura Kline – Rewire Athlete

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References

1.        Marcora SM, Staiano W, Manning V. Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2009; 

2.        Lopes TR, Oliveira DM, Simurro PB, Akiba HT, Nakamura FY, Okano AH, et al. No Sex Difference in Mental Fatigue Effect on High-Level Runners’ Aerobic Performance. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2020;Volume Pub. 

3.        Marcora SM, Staiano W, Merlini M. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Brain Endurance Training (BET) to Reduce Fatigue During Endurance Exercise. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2015; 

Recommended Reading

Can’t Hurt Me
by David Goggins

Meditations
by Marcus Aurelius

The Obstacle is the Way
by Ryan Holiday

The Joe Rogan Experience #1212 – David Goggins

The Tim Ferriss Podcast: Ryan Holiday (#4)