Want to build your lifestyle like a pro athlete? While I’d love to say I’m consistently organised and full of energy, some of my days (even weeks) can be quite the opposite #needanassistant. I chat to CEO of Inside 80 Performance & fitness instructor Vanessa Bennett about ‘energy credits’, natural pace and just how to build your lifestyle like a pro athlete.
At Inside 80, we talk about Energy Credits as if you wake up with 100 every day, (assuming you got a good sleep and are in good health) and you spend those credits in each activity you do throughout the day. Athletes are amazing at managing their energy to ensure that it is allocated to increasing their performance at the right time, and no credits are ever wasted. Athletes are also amazing at perfecting their technique so that they spend their energy credits in the most efficient way possible.
So let’s take some simple tips to build our lifestyles like a professional athlete…
1. Use Energy Efficiently
Think of Olympic swimmers – they win a gold medal for getting to the end of the pool first. They don’t get a gold medal for getting in the pool and then just kicking as hard as they possibly can, no matter the direction or the pace. Swimmers know that it is important to correct their technique so that they travel with the perfect direction and balance of energy to get to the end of the pool.
In work and life, if you feel like you are just “kicking really hard” and not getting anywhere with the results you are after, the chances are you need to correct your ‘technique’ and consider how you are spending your energy credits. It is not just about working as hard as you possibly can – it’s about working as efficiently as you possibly can.
2. Over-training Reduces Performance
If athletes over-train they know that their muscles will fatigue and their performance will actually reduce. Leading up to a major race or event, athletes usually relax their training knowing that injuries are more likely than improved performance.
Similarly in life, if you continue to work long hours at your job despite fatigue your productivity will actually decline. You will spend more energy credits trying to complete tasks when you are fatigued and unmotivated, which often leads to stress, burnout and even depression – a serious injury to your mental and physiological health.
Over-training for non-athletes is also a threat to health and some people have suffered fatigue, severe weight-loss through spending an inefficient amount of energy credits at the gym or in exercise, leading to our next tip…
3. Don’t Train Heavy Every Day
Athletes generally break their training down into “heavy, medium and light” sessions i.e. a long distance runner doesn’t train 40kms at race pace every day. They have sessions where they sprint, days with a long, slow run, and sessions of shorter jogs.
Likewise at work and at home, there are always tasks and activities that are a ‘heavier’ energy drain than others. By mixing up your days, weeks and months with these heavy, medium and light tasks, you can spend your energy credits more efficiently and establish a greater balance i.e. many people save up all of their household chores for Saturdays and deny themselves a sleep-in so they can wake up, do the washing, mow the lawn, do the groceries etc. If you incorporate some of these tasks into your weekday routines there is a greater opportunity to relax, socialise and indulge in ‘you’ time instead of building up weekends of heavy tasks…
4. Schedule Recovery Time
Athletes never feel guilty about recovery. They know it’s important for muscle repair and is integral to improving performance.
So why is it that in our lives we often feel guilty for taking recovery time? Some people consider it selfish or a waste of time. There is a huge difference between selfishness and self-care that allows you to recover energy credits, and ultimately work more productively, creating more time for others – in whatever form that may be.
There is always something else you could be doing, but without recovery time, tasks will take you longer and won’t achieve the effort you could’ve given.
5. Work To Your Strengths
Everyone is built differently. Athletes know that certain body types lend themselves to certain types of actions, i.e. the muscular physique of a 100 metre sprinter is incredibly different to the lithe slinkiness of a marathon runner. Different bodies are predisposed to different activities and athletes know the importance of training for and turning up to the right events.
In work and life, make sure you embrace your strengths – what is in your DNA that makes you happy and strong and how can you incorporate this more into your life? Spending energy on things we love actually adds to our credit balance and increases the weight of each of those 100 credits we wake up with.
Give yourself permission to recover, work to your strengths, balance your energy credits, mix up your schedule – and throw in a pair of good sneakers and a recipe or three from The Fit Foodie and you’re set to go for gold!
Do you currently embrace your own strengths? I want to hear them! Leave me a comment below.
Vanessa Bennett is CEO of Inside 80 Performance Australia and balances this with a part-time fitness instructor role that she loves! Learn about your natural pace and how to best allocate your unique Energy Credits take the free online test.
You can also catch Vanessa on Twitter.