The Olympic Games are such exciting events that unite the world. Athletes from every part of the globe compete for the gold. These aren’t your average athletes, these people are the best of the best. Their daily routines, diet and lifestyles are tailored to maintaining peak performance.
I’m no Olympian, but in order for me to stay on top of my game, which includes working full time, being a wife, mom, volunteer, friend, the list goes on, I too must tailor my lifestyle in order to maintain peak performance.
I recently bottomed out in terms of performance. We all have periods of fatigue where we are simply exhausted. But this time, the exhaustion had gone on for months and I kept fueling it with all the wrong things. Months of improper sleep, poor dietary habits and a grueling work/life schedule had left me with 10 extra pounds, swollen ankles and health irregularities that I had never faced before. My labs checked out normal and the doctors couldn’t say what was wrong. They offered to put me on medication to see if things would regulate. If I continued without making any changes, I couldn’t expect anything different, and swollen ankles aren’t cute.
I walked out of the doctor’s office with a prescription that day, but it was my own prescription that I decided to take. I chose to change my diet, start exercising again, and in this case, I had to get a new job. The restoration my body needed from the stress it had endured, wasn’t found in a pharmacy but in these four things:
Restorative sleep: The job I had required a lot of paperwork. In order to stay on top of it, I would stay up late or all night several times a week. I needed a job that didn’t come home with me. With the job change, I was able to come home, tend to my family, get in the bed at a decent hour, and get the much-needed sleep my body so desperately craved.
Proper Diet: Being a health professional, I knew all the right things to do from a dietary standpoint, but in order to stay in the game, I did all the wrong things. I ate more sugar than I should have. I ate in the middle of the night while doing paperwork. I incorporated more fast food into my life than I had seen in a long time. In order to regain my health I cut back on my sugar, managed my carbohydrate intake and stopped eating late at night. My ankles were grateful for this change!
Exercise: I love to exercise, but the grueling schedule I maintained didn’t allow for consistent exercise. With the poor eating habits and sleep routine, my body needed way more than one trip to the gym per month. I began exercising two-three times a week and more if I had the time. Initially, I did not see the results as quickly as I was expecting. I made one tweak to my workout, which was increasing my cardio time from 20 minutes to 30-40 minutes and the weight started coming off. My workout time is also a time to catch up on a book or listen to teachings that enrich my life. So I get the much-needed activity for my body and my mind.
Good mental and spiritual health: This part required a professional. You seek whatever professional you need, but in my case, it was a coach. My health issues weren’t the only things that needed to be addressed. The coaching helped me to shift my thinking about my lifestyle and make necessary adjustments to decrease stress and increase productivity. I listened to teachings from the Word of God that fortified my spirit and gave me clearer vision and strength. This is probably the most important area that needed change. Negative thinking and a hopeless outlook on your situation has the capability of shutting you down completely if left unaddressed.
It only took a few months to see my body begin to bounce back from the stress I had put on it. I’m gladly on my way back to peak performance. I encourage you to remove stressors that can be eliminated, and those that are out of your control, learn to manage their impact on your body and mind. Our bodies are capable of amazing things, as we have seen with the skilled athletes that recently competed in the Olympics. Our lives don’t require running a 4×4 or a flawless dismount off of a pummel horse. Our lives require running meetings, meeting deadlines, wiping runny noses, and loving the ones around us. In order for us to stay at the top of our game and at peak performance, we must address the stressors in our lives and follow healthy routines that set us up for success.