Ben Coomber explains that simple life changes can make a world of difference when it comes to performance and recovery
The modern world asks a lot of us, especially if we’re not diligent at having boundaries and time out for our body and minds. Work hours can be long, social media is always there, there is always an email in your inbox waiting for an answer, kids demand loads, the list continues. Our management of all of this is the biggest struggle, because it can all easily affect optimal performance.
I’ve noticed that as I’ve got older, more of my time has been demanded by others. As my business has grown, so have the questions placed at my feet. This then leads to a more troubled mind, which can affect sleep and gym/training performance, so managing this is important. I’ve noticed I’ve wanted to be more social and it’s actually become a bigger part of my work, eating out and being cooked for more and more. I’ve shifted my goals with training, but I’ve still wanted to train just as hard. For me it’s not always about training volume, but intensity, so I have to maintain my recovery to allow me to do this. I’ve found that training 3-4 times a week with maximum intensity is far more beneficial to the body, and the results I’m getting over 4-6 sessions a week that are at 70-90% of my training intensity potential.
So what have I seen as the most dramatic changes for my health and performance over the last 18 months?
1. Turn my phone off for periods of the day. If my phone is off I can’t even think what might be there. It’s off, allowing me either solid periods of deep work, solid training with no distractions, or my full attention on a social or family event.
2. Increasing my magnesium intake to 600-1000mg a day. A 400-600mg daily oral dose, then the rest as topical magnesium post-training. I’ve found the more I’ve taken the more benefits I’ve seen – despite what some research has indicated – so I definitely feel there is a dose-dependant response from what I have seen in practice with myself and client, and with intense training the need/benefit only seems to go up and up (I’m taking Daily Dose and Recovery Spray from Awesome Supplements).
3. I’ve eaten higher protein and higher fibrous vegetables in the early part of the day, or implemented intermittent fasting so that I can get by on only eating around 1,500-2,000 calories during the bulk of the day, often saving 1,500-2,000 calories for my last meal of the day, so I can have more flexibility with evening engagements around food.
4. I’m training less often, but with the same volume, with less rest in my workouts. Because I am getting more recovery time I am able to have more intense workouts with less rest. This has meant I’m getting an even greater cardiovascular benefit and also saving time, and time is always something I am looking to save.
5. Taking my business active. I’m always looking to increase my overall energy expenditure so it’s easier to maintain my weight, so I take calls then pop out for a walk, do social media or emails on an exercise bike, or take walking meetings. Just wherever I can I take the opportunity to do what I would normally do sitting, but moving.
6. Allowing myself a nap for 20 minutes or a 20-minute awake nap (resting the eyes) when my brain is tired. If I can refresh my brain then my body follows, and this has had a positive effect on my readiness to train, and my overall productivity.
7. I’ve always seen positive benefits to my health and recovery the more vegetables and fruit I eat, so I try and eat a serving of soup every day and a five-portion smoothie per day on top of my normal eaten vegetables and fruit. This means I’m often hitting 10-12 servings per day, and I love the feeling eating this much good stuff in my daily diet has on my health and energy.