Lifestyle Factors to Improve PerformanceAug 18, 2021
When most people think about improving performance or bouncing back from an injury, they often focus solely on the physical components. And while the physical component is definitely important, many active individuals are leaving a lot on the table when it comes to improving their performance or recovering from an injury when it comes to optimizing other lifestyle factors.
There are 4 Foundations when it comes to these lifestyle factors that we address with all of our clients that come in to see us - whether they’re looking to bounce back from an injury or just improve their performance in the activities they love. These 4 Foundations are Movement, Nutrition, Sleep, and Stress Management. If any one of these Foundations is off - it will greatly limit your body’s full potential to recover and perform the way it is designed to.
Movement is medicine, and your body demands it. If you want to live a long, thriving, strong, and healthy life - then you need to make sure you’re keeping your muscles, bones, and joints healthy and strong. And to keep your muscles, bones, and joints healthy and strong - you need to MOVE.
The same way a balanced diet is essential to good nutrition, a balanced movement diet is essential for your health and fitness. If you focus too heavily on one category of movement, and neglect the other areas, imbalances will develop that lead to pain, injury, or limited performance over time.
This is one of the first places we look when someone works with us to improve their health and fitness, get out of pain, and perform their best. We do this through assessing and improving their current exercise program - which is typically imbalanced and missing some key areas that allow people to live strong and healthy lives.
Similar to nutrition, don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of information out there. Start simple and start small with your changes.
You want to focus on a balance of mobility, strength, and cardiovascular activities.
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘Abs aren’t made in the gym, but made in the kitchen’. There is a lot of truth to this - you can’t outrun or out exercise a bad diet. However, nutrition is about SO much more than just being able to see your abs.
What (and how) you eat directly affects your overall health, your energy, your mood, your hormones, and inflammation in your body. While this is a complex topic, the solutions are usually much more simple than we think. Stay hydrated, eat portions appropriate to your activity level and your goals, and choose quality ingredients and foods.
There is no magic ‘diet’ out there. There are no good or bad macronutrients (fat is not the enemy and carbs are not the enemy - both have their place)! Getting caught up in ‘quick fix’ diets, cleanses, or ways of eating that claim to be the best or only way to eat are misleading and unhealthy.
Instead, you want to focus on hydration, quality, and quantity.
Sleep is another area that our clients love to ignore, yet they wonder why they aren’t feeling, looking, and performing their best. A lack of sleep has similar negative side effects to those described in stress above. Poor energy, mood swings, a lack of recovery, increased food cravings, and decreased willpower or motivation are just a few.When focusing on improving sleep, both QUANTITY and QUALITY are important to address. You’re not superhuman - even if you think you can get away with running on little sleep, it still creates havoc in the background and will catch up at some point (if it hasn’t already).
4. Stress Management
Stress is one of the most neglected and ignored areas of health and fitness in the majority of clients we work with on their healthy living transformation. But did you know that your body cannot differentiate between physical and emotional stressors? That means that too much of any kind of stress can negatively impact your health if not managed properly. And what effect does this have on your health? To name a few, excess stress or poorly managed stress can lead to aches/joint pain, headaches, poor sleep, irritability, weight gain, decreased muscle building, decreased libido, poor digestion, and increased likelihood of getting sick. Do any of those sound important for your health and fitness goals? Don’t gloss over this one and think it’s only about what you eat and how you exercise. Controlling both the AMOUNT of stress and your MANAGEMENT to stress are both keys to improving this area.
How do you do when it comes to addressing each of these 4 Foundations? If you are out of balance in any area, it will limit your ability to perform and recover at a high level.
If you’re looking for more resources on these and want to know the exact recommendations we make with each of our clients, make sure to click here to grab our free Strong Living Roadmap we put together to optimize each of these 4 Foundations.
Frustrated with your current care or dealing with a pain or injury that just won't go away? Talk with one of our Docs today to find out the best way to get back to your best self.