Sift through it until you find it. Then do it.
There is a lot of information out there with regards to what things to do, how to do them, and when to do them. It’s gets confusing and can also be overwhelming. Most times we give up and just continue doing what we normally do. But what if there is something that will help you and you happened to miss it because you either dismissed it or couldn’t be bothered with it.
So what do we do? One thing I recommend is try to find a valuable source for your information, like this blog as an example. I know, cheap self promotion. I can equate it to a movie critic. You have movie critics that will praise a film, and other critics that will condemn the same film. Most people will stick with the critics that generally like the same films they do. It probably makes sense to do the same with your health and fitness needs. Once you find a source that has provided information that works for you, you will probably go back to that source because of the success.
Is that it?
Is there anything else we can do? Absolutely. It requires investment of your time and there are no guarantees. You are the other thing. Experimenting, testing new things. Ultimately not everything works for everybody, most people, but not always for everybody. How will you know it works for you? You have to dive in and commit yourself to trying it.
Whatever it is, it won’t always work. And you may not always no if there was something else responsible for your positive, or negative results. I hear people saying ‘I took Echinacea this winter and didn’t get a cold’. Would that person have gotten a cold if they didn’t take Echinacea? We don’t know for sure. When trying things yourself there is no control like a lab experiment, unless you have a clone. The clone can be the control. So we never know for sure if what we are trying is successful, in some cases. This doesn’t pertain to everything. The things we try that are easily quantifiable are easier to measure if they are successful or not. An example is if you have been training for 6 months, or a year and you are not seeing gains, then you try a new method or technique and you start to realize gains, then that would probably be looked at as a success. But even with these things we need to be aware if anything else has changed. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to introduce only one thing new. If you add more than one change it will be harder to understand what change was accountable for the success.
Complicated, isn’t it. It can be but it can also be very rewarding.
What are the things
What are the things we can do to understand if it was a success? Keeping track. You need to keep track of the things that can impact performance. Sleep, rest, diet, schedule, stress. All these things can have an impact on your performance. Other things too like when you are taking your supplements, if you take any. If you normally take them in the evening, then switch to the morning and notice a change in performance, this may be why. Keep all other things the same if you can. Remember, don’t introduce more than one change. If you do what change was responsible for the success? It will be hard for you to know for sure.
It may seem like a lot of work but the rewards can be great, and they feel great. How do I know this? I was waiting for you to ask me.
I have been there
Over the last few months I have been researching how to improve performance when training, working out, etc. What foods to eat, when to eat them, amount of sleep needed and a couple other things. Sleep. That’s a tough one. It’s not always in our control. My full time job requires me to be on call every so often. Sometimes I get woken up when sleeping. Other times the mind is just too busy, occupied to shut down and let sleep come.
What we can eat is more controllable. It should be since we buy our food and prepare it. It usually comes down to what foods to eat, or eat at all. I know some people that don’t eat before training, sometimes hours. Have you ever driven your car when there isn’t any fuel in it? Right. The body is just like your car. It needs fuel.
This leaves me with when. When to eat. Sometimes we can control this and sometimes we can’t. Depending when it is you train it may not be possible to get fuel into your body when you should. And when is that? When should you eat before training? An hour, two, half? I think I have the answer. I know I have the answer when it comes to myself.
Normally I have been eating about anywhere from 60 minutes to 120 minutes before training. Seemed to work as far as I could tell. Because I didn’t try anything else I really didn’t have a comparison. It was time to fuel up 30 minutes before training. I was somewhat hesitant to do this because I usually start my training with a run. I was worried that running so close to eating would leave me with an upset stomach and hurting my performance instead of improving it. But I went ahead anyway.
I knew my routine would be pretty much the same routine I have every week. So I decided to do it. This is a good time to change up when I eat. Keeping everything normal as far as the other foods I eat and when I eat them, I picked my food to eat. The banana. A great source of carbohydrates to fuel me for my run and easily digestible. So I ate the banana, and waited…anxiously. At about 30 minutes I started my run. Today was a day where I would normally start the run at a medium intensity and build up the intensity as the run progressed. Everything was going great. I felt good, lots of energy. It was a very successful run. My resistance training afterwards felt good too. I still had energy whereas sometimes I may not have as much after my run.
Success! But I told myself that this is only one test. Could it be the placebo affect? I need to move on to day two, Tabata day. Same thing day 2. Consume a banana, wait 30 minutes than train. Just so you know if you decide to do a Tabata workout on a treadmill, it can be tricky. You need to master grabbing the rails and quickly moving your feet to the side. Success again! I have never completed a Tabata workout on the treadmill at the speed I did this time. Awesome! 2 successful days. I won’t go into the subsequent workouts but workouts 3, 4 and 5 were all successful as far as having more energy both during my cardio and resistance training.
I felt good and I felt bad. I felt good that I think I have found what I need to do before I train as far as eating. I felt bad that it took so long to find this out. But I didn’t feel bad that long. I remembered a Chinese proverb: ‘The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now’.
Choose it then do it
Are changes always this successful? Not always. But that’s ok because we usually forget the ones that fail, the ones that didn’t work. But when we find that one that works it can make all the difference. It makes us feel good. We look forward instead of looking back.
Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. Take that leap of faith. It might be scary, but the results can be so satisfying.
Yours in health,