(Breather) Learning how to really slow down, emphasize rest and recovery, and reclaim the lost art of downtime is not just something you do for fun and enjoyment, but something that actually greatly affects the state of your health.
Yes, taking time to socialize or to take an after-dinner stroll, making your easy workouts easier, and integrating temperature therapy and foam rolling are all effective activities to boost your health.
- Recovery-based training utilizes a different philosophy than ‘consistent’ miles or appearances at the gym. Use intuition and push when you are pumped, and back off when flat. Leave some juice in your tank at all times! Check out my show with Craig Marker to learn about HIIT vs HIRT and why going less hard = less cell destruction. Remember that muscle soreness is NOT a catalyst for growth. Protein synthesis goes to REPAIR instead of growth, so there is really no need to get sore.
- Take easier, easy days (like doing a positive deadlift on grass or some dynamic stretches).
- Increase daily movement as a form of recovery. JFW to increase blood circulation and lymphatic function.
- Introduce Rebound workouts. Validated by HRV to speed recovery, this includes: dynamic stretching, mobility/flexibility drills, foam rolling, and deep breathing exercises that boost blood circulation and oxygen delivery without stressing the body.
- Brain downtime from hyperconnectivity
- Meditation practice is ideal, or even exercising without a podcast or music!
- Set up a morning routine that you can stick to. 84% of people reach for the phone most mornings. Instead, walk the dog, gratitude journal, or do elaborate flexibility/mobility stretches or yoga.
- Set aside time for Deep Work periods where you disconnect. (Listen to my Breather show on Cal Newport). The brain gets more tired managing text and emails all day! So focus, get it done, and flip the lid closed!
- Spend Time in Nature
- University of Michigan professors, the Kaplans, promote their ‘attention restoration theory’ as a way of recovering from what they call “directed attention fatigue” of non-stop information bombardment of modern times promoting sympathetic dominance and eventually, crankiness and irritableness. Nature allows passive engagement of the senses (take it in), triggers a drop in cortisol, BP and HR. Neuroscience professor Michael Merzenich explains that, “Our attraction to the ocean may derive from its lack of physical markers…. Looking over a calm sea is akin to closing our eyes.” Kaplan’s call for engaging with nature fascination is that, the more grand and spectacular the setting, the greater the fascination. Think: Yosemite, Niagara falls, The Grand Canyon, sailing in the ocean, or simply swimming in Tahoe. Any kind of nature is great; even imagery has been to have effect. Invest in a mini fountain, or get a poster/change your screensaver to a nature based image you’re drawn to.
- A 20-minute nap refreshes sodium and potassium pumps in your brain neurons, allowing you to go from literally feeling fried (because the electrical circuitry is depleted) to re-energized.
I’m pro napper through training. I turn on App Rainmaker Pro and I’m gone. I find a quiet or sunny spot, disengage; it’s a ritual. Many say they ‘can’t nap’ but that’s likely because of the environment. Dr. David Dinges, a sleep expert at University of Pennsylvania Medical School whose laboratory studies how sleep affects neurobehavioral, cognitive, immune, inflammatory, endocrine, metabolic, and genetic function, estimates that 15-20% of the population are highly sensitive, calling them “closet nappers.” Dr. Sara Mednick, a Harvard-trained psychologist currently studying sleep at UC Riverside, and author of Take A Nap, Change Your Life, estimates that up to 50% of the population is genetically predisposed to napping. If you struggle with napping, go easy on yourself: to start, at first, just disengage, go quiet (even to your car or park bench) and rest your head (the key element of a proper nap), even if you don’t fall asleep.
- Frequent tech breaks. This is key as we are only capable of peak focus for a cognitive task for 20 minutes.
- Take a 1-2 min break every 20 minutes.
- 5 minute movements every hour. I’ve been doing 30 push ups, 10 pullups, 20 and squats since Covid and am in the best shape ever!
- Do whatever you can to engage the brain differently. Maybe that’s wastebasket hoops, indoor putts, using an outside slackline, chipshot, or other micro-workouts.
- Take one major mid-day break.
- Wind down away from the screen in the evenings.
- Mindfulness practices: consider taking formal classes to learn Tai chi, yoga, and meditation (you can also use apps). Write down lists of what you’re grateful for and appreciate in your life in a journal.
- Temperature therapy: Saunas promote instant relaxation while a cold plunge gives a rebound response. Contrast therapy is also awesome. Mark Sisson goes in the sauna for 10 minutes, then goes 5-7 in the cold, then 5 minutes in the spa. I go back and forth in the winter between my mom’s pool (54F!) and the sauna (104F!), and always end up feeling completely relaxed.
MOFO mission number nine is to slow down and reclaim the lost art of downtime. [01:58]
Focus your training around recovery rather than recovery as an afterthought. [02:47]
Pay attention to your intuition. [03:22]
You should not be sore after workouts. [06:09]
Take an easy day. Remember to think of your MAF heart rate. [07:47]
Even walking, you will increase your blood circulation and boost your lymphatic function. [09:56]
The effectiveness of rebound workouts to actually to speed recovery in comparison to total rest has been validated. [12:13]
Your rest and downtime include teaching your brain to be quiet. [15:01]
Develop a winning morning routine. Organize your day. [15:54]
Spend time in nature. [18:50]
Don’t underestimate the importance of napping. [22:08]
Be kind to your eyes. [25:55]
Get up and move for five minutes every hour to maintain brain metabolism. [27:34]
Give yourself a nice wind-down period in the evening where you are away from screens. [30:42]
Practicing mindfulness helps to reduce stress and anxiety. [31:35]
Brad is a great enthusiast for temperature therapy. [32:46]
Brad summarizes the points of MOFO Mission number 9. [35:18]
- Brad’s Shopping Page
- Dr. Kelly Starrett
- Dr. Craig Marker
- Dr. Phil Maffetone
- Firas Zahabi
- Dr. John Jaquish Podcast
- Weight Lifting is a Waste of Time
- Galen Rupp
- Eliud Kipchoge
- Eight Weeks Out
- Brad’s Morning Routine
- Cal Newport
- Attention Restoration Theory
- Dr. Sara Mednick
- Dude Spellings Podcast
- Brad’s Cold Plunge
- Fire and Ice
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Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad (1m 58s): Hey, it’s MOFO mission number nine, slow down and reclaim the lost art of down time. Yes, we have quite a few assignments on this one because we’ve been going, going, going like crazy forgetting about the urgent need to balance stress and rest of all forms in modern life. So we’re going to get right into it. Talking about first: recovery based training exercise schedule, getting your brain, the adequate downtime at needs from hyperconnectivity and information overload, spending time in nature, getting good at napping, taking frequent breaks from peak cognitive function, engaging in some mindfulness practices and finally indulging in the wonderful world of temperature therapy, both hot and cold. Brad (2m 47s): So let’s talk about basing your exercise program, your training around recovery, rather than having recovery be an afterthought. And so this requires a philosophical in the mindset of most fitness enthusiasts away from things like striving for a consistent application of exercise, stress, trying to keep your weekly miles up at a good average or increase your frequency of appearances at the gym as if that was the end all to measure success as an athlete, as a fitness enthusiast. Brad (3m 22s): So it’s important to inject the element of intuition into your training patterns and when you’re pumped up and you’re excited and you’re feeling great, you go ahead and push yourself and achieve a breakthrough workout, a fitness breakthrough. And when you feel flat or unmotivated, lacking motivation, you got to go with that sometimes and not force yourself and punish yourself with this struggle and suffer mindset that has permeated the fitness industry for decades. So finally, we’re seeing the great leaders and advanced thinkers getting away from this struggle and suffer no pain, no gain mindset and embrace some advanced strategies that are focused on recovery and taking better care of the body. Brad (4m 8s): So this idea that you can leave a little bit in the tank at all times, like just perform below your level of capability to preserve health, preserve your positive attitude and your desire to train. That’s what Dr. Kelly’s star Starrett recognizes as the single best marker of recovery and readiness is just the person’s individual motivation level desire to train. I know we have to sometimes buckle down and get out the door or prioritize exercise when we’re busy and can easily pass when it’s a cold day outside or whatever the, the boundaries are, the barriers to you just getting out there and getting the job done. Brad (4m 52s): But I think once you get out the door and get going with your workout, it’s really important to inject that intuitive factor in there and realize those times when you really shouldn’t be pushing yourself, I’ve done so many shows and had so much content on this because it’s so important, especially the show dedicated to the concept of hit versus hurt. That’s the breakthrough article by Dr. Craig Marker and comparing, contrasting the prevailing approach of high intensity interval training to a more sensible high intensity repeat training where you end up with less cellular destruction and recovery time and risk of breakdown when you just take extra rest and perform those explosive efforts in a proper time duration so you’re not pushing yourself too hard for too long, and then getting truly explosive and getting the benefits of working that top end more so than pushing yourself through endless number of hit sessions, which a lot of training modalities seem to encourage or are inherent to the of workout. Brad (5m 58s): When you go and attend a CrossFit session or a group training session, or use a personal trainer to work you hard for too long, a period of time doing too many repeat efforts. So it’s that they’re not truly explosive anymore. So if we start to bring recovery to center stage and central focus and all your workouts are organized around the most prominent goal of balancing stress and rest and recovering successfully, that’s when you can make some great breakthroughs. Brad (6m 32s): I love the message from Dr. Phil Maffetone and also from the MMA trainer Firas Zahabi when he appeared on Joe Rogan about not getting sore. So both of those guys assert straight up that you should not be getting sore after workouts. What’s always been seen as a badge of honor, and even some people mistakenly believed that soreness is a catalyst for muscle growth. So if you want to get bigger, you have to get sore after the workout, that’s been strongly disproven and called out very precisely by Dr. Brad (7m 3s): John Jaquish, who was a guest on the podcast and inventor of the X three bar, his new book, which is titled Weight Training is a Waste of Time. And so his cardio, he details in there how muscle soreness is not a catalyst for growth and the protein synthesis that occurs after these workouts is dedicated to repair at the expense of growth. So there’s absolutely no need to get sore after workouts in the name of increasing fitness. Oh my gosh, what a great revelation. Brad (7m 32s): I get sore so frequently from doing my deadlifts and lifting the heavy bar. Cause I’m not super well adapted to that stuff. And the idea that I can back off and put less weight on and still get the same or better benefits. That’s really nice to know. Just keep it in the, to keep a little bit in the tank. Okay. So that’s on the, on the high end and restructuring those high intensity workouts appropriately, but also just as important is this idea of taking easier, easy days. Brad (8m 3s): Okay. So an easy day often turns into a medium day, especially if you’re highly motivated, goal oriented, which most fitness enthusiasts are. Especially if you work out with a, a group energy element in there where you’re getting lively, you’re going a little faster, even though you promised it was going to be an easy day and that’s the kind of stuff that can really crater you, because the body’s craving rest, of course you can reach into the well and get psyched and turn the music on loud and your earbuds or whatever you’re doing to deliver another impressive workout, especially when you’re still inflamed from a previous high intensity or difficult session of any kind. Brad (8m 43s): And then you’re in this kind of stress hormone buzz, and you don’t feel the pain and discomfort until later. And so they, you did three difficult workouts in the week instead of one or one and a half would be the better average over the long term, just hypothetically speaking. So when it’s time to go easy, make sure that you go really, really easy. You can complete an entire workout where all you’re doing is basically things like warmup drills, dynamic stretches, things like positive deadlift, and then dropping the weight down onto a rubber pad or onto a grassy surface, right? Brad (9m 18s): So you’re not getting the ecentric contraction. The one that promotes muscle soreness, things like that. A lot of people are constantly asking for permission to increase their MAF heart rate by five or 10 beats for whatever reason, and being so frustrated that they’re limited to the, the limit number on their maximum aerobic heart rate, the 180 minus your age number. But I want you to recognize, acknowledge that when I was training as an elite athlete, I would routinely perform workouts that were 20, 30 or even 50 beats below my maximum aerobic heart rate. Brad (9m 56s): You still get a fantastic training effect for me, it was peddling around on the flat, the flat lands, you know, with exercise heart rate of a hundred or 110 beats per minute, but working on my pedal stroke, working on my cardiovascular without creating more muscle damage and allowing me to recover from the more difficult workouts. So the aerobic engine is trained at all. Intensity’s below maximum aerobic heart rate, very nicely. So for example, most runners that are sub elite level that are going, let’s say slower than a 2:45 or a three hour marathon, which is 99% of them by the statistics of the finishing of the major marathons of the world, most runners would be well served to put a significant percentage of their training sessions into the category of jogging and brisk walking, jogging, and brisk walking, switching back and forth and keeping that heart rate really low because even jogging, routine jogging, even if you think it’s a pretty insignificant, not much strain, the heart rate will still get up and around maximum aerobic heart rate, just from a comfortable jog and comparison to an elite athlete, Galen Rupp, the great American marathoner, or Eliud Kipchoge who I did a Breather show on. Brad (11m 20s): You know, their easy day might be a six minute mile, but relatively speaking, that’s a jog walk for you and I and the other mere mortal. So don’t be afraid to slow things down with a much slower pace, lower heart rate, as well as shorter duration. And then that is a great compliment to the difficult stuff. So higher highs and lower lows really realize that increasing all forms of general everyday movement is probably the centerpiece of recovery. The best way to recover from high intensity training is JFW just fricking walk. Brad (11m 55s): You’re going to increase your blood circulation. You’re going to boost your lymphatic function and you’re going to help with fat metabolism, all kinds of other benefits from walking and speeding the recovery in comparison to sitting down on the couch and chowing down ice cream. The third suggestion in this category of emphasizing recovery based training is to introduce these unique rebound style workouts as coined by the noted MMA trainer and coach up in the Kirkland Washington area by the name of Joel Jamieson, his website eight weeks out.com. Brad (12m 35s): The number eight weeks out.com implying eight weeks before the, the title bout since he helps so many fighters, but he created this interesting workout protocol called a rebound workout. And he’s a pioneer in HRV measurement as he has been doing so for a couple of decades far before it became a popular commercial use with the apps and the chest straps. He was using these big devices to track HRV and the effectiveness of rebound workouts to actually speed recovery in comparison to total rest has been validated by his HRV data. Brad (13m 13s): So the idea here is when you’re really in recovery mode, you’re pretty tired from previous workouts or busy life. You can head into the gym or at home and go through these sequences that help to promote parasympathetic dominance and accelerated recovery and an involves things like dynamic, stretching, mobility and flexibility drills, maybe laying on the ground foam rolling, deep breathing exercises, all of these serve to boost blood circulation and oxygen delivery without stressing the body. Brad (13m 45s): And then also unique and interesting is this idea that you can conduct some very brief burst of high intensity effort to stimulate a sympathetic response, but then because you end so quickly, you get what’s called a rebound parasympathetic response. So for example, if you get on a stationary bike, you want to do no impact to make sure that this is a fully recovery nurturing session. So you get on a stationary bike and let’s say, do a sprint effort that lasts only six seconds. Brad (14m 18s): And then you rest for 60 seconds in between doing a half a dozen of these little bursts. And so that little burst will cause a tiny fight or flight sympathetic response. And then as you relax, after the effort, you will trigger this rebound parasympathetic response, and you can get good at honing this skill in everyday life. If you can do it during your workout. So if you can teach yourself to lower your heart rate, calm your breathing return to balanced state, that’s really effective when you’re having a stressful day at the office. Brad (14m 52s): Okay? So that’s a recovery based training program, as opposed to the struggle and suffer, no pain, no gain type of exercise program. And then we go on to category number two of rest and downtime, and that’s given your brain a rest from this hyper-connectivity and information overload that we face every single day. First and foremost on this, but this would be a meditation practice. Obviously teaching yourself to teaching yourself the skill of quieting the brain. Brad (15m 22s): And if you’re not quite big on that, you can even use your exercise sessions as a form of meditation. And this would entail getting out there without the podcast or the music going into your ears. A lot of time of my exercise, I’m listening to podcasts because that’s my chance to catch up. But sometimes it’s great to just listen to nature. And we’re talking definitely about getting outdoors and engaging in a natural environment as superior to doing a stationary bike ride or something indoors. Brad (15m 54s): Next. I want to give a strong recommendation for developing a winning morning routine. You create a template and repeat it every single day so you have minimal need for creativity or willpower. You just get up and this is what you do every single day. And it could be anything you’ve probably heard me talk about my increasingly elaborate sophisticated and challenging flexibility, mobility, yoga core, and leg strengthening routine that started out at 12 minutes. Brad (16m 25s): And now it’s up to around 35 minutes every single morning. The first thing I do, but maybe it could be walking the dog around the block for you. So lease the animal up. The animal deserves at least that from you, if you agree to be a pet owner. Brad (17m 6s): You got to do it right and get out there into a direct sunlight, open space, fresh air, as the first thing you do every day, you can also make it some entries in your gratitude journal. If you wake up slowly and would rather sit in bed for the first 10 minutes of your day, at least do something that’s advocating for your own health and wellbeing rather than what do 84% of Americans do the very first thing every single day? wThat’s right reach for their personal mobile device. And as soon as you look at that screen, you are transitioning your brain function into reactive mode rather than the preferred high level thinking reasoning, strategic, a relaxed morning mode, where you’re maybe doing your best thinking and just getting your head clear for the busy day ahead. Brad (17m 36s): So do whatever you can to resist the temptation of reaching for that phone and implement something else that can help your fitness or help your mental health. There’s also the absolute urgent necessity to organize your workday, to engage in periods of Deep Work. And you can listen to my breather show on the topic of Cal Newport’s book of the same title. So getting into this Deep Work is essential for your career success, your sense of self satisfaction from doing your job and getting away from this constant distractability and low cognitive function that we seem to drift into because we’ve been hit with too many distractions. Brad (18m 13s): When we’re trying to focus, the brain gets way more tired trying to manage your text messages and your email inbox all day long as it would. If you were to shut that stuff off for, let’s say a 60 or a 90 minute period, so that you could finish writing your report or doing your deepest and most impactful, highest expression of your talents in the workplace. Brad (18m 49s): So Deep Work periods, devising a morning routine, getting into some meditation or some exercise type meditation. If you can’t do real meditation, that’s how to give your brain downtime from hyper-connectivity. Number three on this wonderful list is to make sure that you spend as much time as possible in nature, the ultimate way to de-stressed and rebalance and recover from hectic high-stress modern life. There’s some professors at University of Michigan, the Kaplans, a married couple, and they promote this concept called Attention Restoration Theory as a way of recovering from what they call the directed attention fatigue of the nonstop information bombardment of modern times. Brad (19m 24s): So what happens when you are bombarded with unrelenting stimulation is that you get pushed into sympathetic fight or flight dominance. What happens eventually is these mechanisms kind of wear out because fight or flight was meant to be a brief mechanism to help you run away from the approaching saber tooth tiger and what have you in the evolutionary sense? So when we go, go, go all day long, we eventually become cranky and irritable. The antidote is time in nature. Brad (19m 57s): Nature allows for a passive engagement by the senses. You know, when we say the term, take it in, soak it in that’s what’s happening is passive engagement of all of our senses. And when we can engage passively, instead of being forced to concentrate on the honking horn or the beeping of the text message back in a urban life or a hectic high-stress workday. When we engage passively with nature, we experience a drop in cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate. We chill out immediately. Brad (20m 27s): There’s a neuroscience professor named Michael Merzenich, and he explains quote our attraction to the ocean. For example, may derive from its lack of physical markers. Looking over a calm sea is akin to closing our eyes. The Kaplan’s call engaging with nature, fascination, nature fascination, and more grand and spectacular the setting, the greater the fascination level. So when you show up at Yosemite and hike the short hike to the base of El Capitan and look up 4,000 feet at what Alex Huddle did without ropes. Brad (21m 2s): Oh my gosh, you are fascinated as you ever can be in your life. Same with when you show up to Niagara Falls and push your way through the crowd and look over and see the amazing wonder of the natural world, the Grand Canyon, sailing in the ocean, swimming in Lake Tahoe. Oh my. So you know how you read and literature or watching the movies about how you’re just a tiny speck of dust on this giant planet, in the great galaxy that’s when you can really feel it, when you’re out there engaging with the grandiosity of nature, your problems don’t seem as big when you come back, do they? Brad (21m 39s): And you know what, that’s great. If you can get to El Capitan or Niagra Falls but studies show that any type of nature is effective to help get this calming effect. Even nature imagery has been shown to have an effect simulated nature experiences. So that means if you get a little mini fountain at your desk and you can hear that running water during your hectic workday, or put a poster up of your favorite place in nature, or even a screensaver can still have a calming effect. Wow. Okay. Brad (22m 9s): Next on the list is napping. Oh, wonderful napping, the forgotten super power of the human. Did you know that in just 20 minutes, you can refresh the sodium potassium pumps in your brain neurons so you will go from literally feeling fried because the electrical circuitry that operates your brain is depleted and you will go from feeling fried to re-energized in a short time, if you can get good at napping. Brad (22m 40s): And I declared myself a professional in this area because I’ve had a ton of practice. It started when I was an athlete and it was part of our training protocol to take a two hour nap every afternoon. I can’t say I’m that deep into it anymore in real life. But, you know, learning that skill and placing great importance on getting away from whatever you’re doing during that natural circadian dip that you experienced in the afternoon. Anyway, can I believe pay off wonderfully great research to support this, that you’ll be more productive, more efficient after you lose that 20 minutes or 30 minutes of time that’s so precious since you’re so busy and so important, you can’t get away from whatever important work you’ll regain that through increased efficiency, rather than losing control of your motivation, discipline and focus because you haven’t had enough proper breaks throughout the day. Brad (23m 33s): So through practice and I love using my app called Rainmaker pro or any natural sound app that you can turn on your phone. When I push the button and light up this app, it’s like a trigger to my brain that is time to go to sleep and I can very easily fall asleep. Now when I need to take an afternoon nap. So if I experienced the slightest disturbance in peak cognitive function during those afternoon hours, I am down for 20 minute nap. No questions asked. I can’t say it happens every day. A lot of days I feel great or I’m too busy or engaged. Brad (24m 4s): But if I have those lulls, especially if I’ve been concentrating hard, a nap is a big winner. So if you want to get started down this wonderful path, go find a quiet spot away from your work environment. It might even be your car in the parking lot. If you can’t get a good spot. And a lot of people are working at home these days, so they have way more flexibility. And if you’re listening right now, thinking you’re one of those people that can’t really nap or doesn’t really need to nap. Please note that Dr. David Dingus a sleep expert at the University of Pennsylvania medical school has done laboratory studies on all kinds of the effects of sleep affecting neuro behavior, cognitive immune, inflammatory endocrine, metabolic, and genetic function estimates that 15 to 20% of the population, one in five people are highly sensitive. Brad (24m 54s): And in other words, they are really, really needing a nap due to their genetics. He calls them closet nappers because some of them are not officially going down for the nap, but they lose so much productivity that they absolute necessity to get that into their lifestyle. Brad (25m 27s): Dr. Sara Mednick a Harvard trained psychologist who’s currently studying sleep at UC riverside, wrote a great book called Take a Nap, Change Your Life, estimates that up to 50 percent of the population is predisposed to napping. So hey could be you, why don’t you go test it out and at least give yourself a fighting chance of becoming a good napper. The key element of napping is you have to rest your head. So those are the rules anywhere where you can rest your head. Even if you put your head down on your desk or on your tray, when you’re flying on an airplane, get getting into that routine can be really helpful. That’s number four of our suggestions napping. So we have recovery based training, taking downtime from hyper-connectivity spending time in nature, getting good at napping. Brad (25m 59s): Next on the list is frequent breaks from peak cognitive function. Research shows that we are only capable of focusing on a peak cognitive task for about 20 minutes before we experience a lull or a need to disengage and refocus,,, regenerate for a little bit. So there’s great. Cause for taking a one to two minute break, every 20 minutes, many optometrists ophthalmologists recommend a 20, 20,20 drill where every 20 minutes you stare at a distant object, 20 feet away for 20 seconds to help stretch those eye muscles out that have been put into a fixed contraction to stare at your screen for long periods of time, thereby straining them and setting you up for vision problems and impaired vision over time. Brad (26m 50s): Listen to my podcast with Jake Steiner who started in myopia.org and has a wonderful radical approach to improve your eyesight without glasses, by giving your eyes a little bit of challenge and making them work rather than just throwing on glasses and essentially putting your eyes in a cast. Very interesting stuff. It’s been an eye opener for me. And since the date of that podcast, which is now over a month ago, I have not used my glasses at all. I just increase the screen size on my computer and I feel great. Brad (27m 23s): So taking that 20 minutes, taking a break one to two minutes, every 20 to look at a distant object 20 feet away for 20 seconds on the hour. It’s very good. Good suggestion to take a five minute break again, we’re trying to maintain peak cognitive performance, be sharp, disciplined against distraction, not watching that mouse hover over to the YouTube video instead of continuing to work, but it’s physically impossible to just grind for hours and hours without a break. Brad (27m 56s): So a five minute movement break every hour, they essential to maintain healthy blood and oxygen delivery to the brain maintain healthy fat metabolism. So you don’t suffer a drop in energy, drop in blood sugar and Accordant cravings for more food. And so that five minute break, if you can just get up and take a stroll around the office courtyard or your home environment, and then get back in the chair or hopefully the stand up, sit down workplace variation that you’ve set up that will pay off in droves over time with increased productivity, increased focus and less exhaustion at the end of the workday who took advantage of this more than anybody I know is my main man, Dude Spelling’s frequent podcast guest on Primal Blueprint, as well as this show. Brad (28m 42s): And he decided to recognize the closing of his gym at the start of quarantine, that he would set a computer alarm to beep on the hour during his eight hour workday. And he resolved to every hour, do 30 pushups, 10 pull ups and 20 squats this takes less than five minutes, right? You gotta be in pretty good shape to do that. It’s a very impressive little, a little spurt there, but certainly not out of the realm of most fit specimens, but doing it on the hour for months and months on end eight times a day. Brad (29m 19s): So that’s 240 pushups, 80 pull-ups and 160 squats if you’re counting. Guess what? At the age of 50 in the time where most people’s fitness regimens have been disrupted, Dude Spellings reports that he’s in his best shape ever the pride of Austin, Texas. What a great example of making the most of a movement break every hour. So micro workout, obviously a great suggestion for your hourly breaks, but try to get creative and engage the brain in different ways. Brad (29m 49s): Maybe you can shoot some wastebasket hoops. If you have a putter hit a few putts in your office, like the, the CEO in the movies, or get outside. I love to get outside on my Slack line, even if it’s for a two or three minutes stint working on my balance and just completely transitioning from staring at a screen. So all kinds of fun ideas to mix it up a little bit throughout the workday. Yes, you’re allowed. Okay. And then with this one to two minute break, every 20 minutes, a five minute break every hour. Brad (30m 23s): We also want to take a major midday break where you can really get refreshed and rejuvenated, go out and get some fresh air sunlight, a nice meal, maybe a more ambitious workout if that’s your time that you prefer to work out, but just a really nice transition away from the fixed position that most of us are doing when we’re in the knowledge working, working with computer. Okay. And then finally, in the same category of taking frequent breaks, we want to have a nice wind down period in the evening where we’re away from all kinds of screens. Brad (30m 53s): So working on a screen all day and then indulging in Netflix at night, you’re certainly allowed to do that. You certainly deserve to do that. And that passive entertainment is less stressful to the brain then, for example, using your evening hours to catch up on email. So you’re allowed to watch shows. I would definitely stay away from that proactive cognitive function, like catching up on work. But ideally, especially in the final hour before bed, hopefully the final two hours you want to get away from all screens and do things like socializing, walking that same dog that you walked in the morning for another walk around the block, doing some writing in your journal, easy reading, things like that. Brad (31m 35s): Okay. Then we get into the next suggestion is engaging in some mindfulness practices. Best and easiest way to get started is do a sign up and take some formal classes in Tai Chi or yoga or even meditation. And you can also do this remotely these days. So there’s no barrier to entry. If you want to learn Tai Chi fire up YouTube, same with yoga, same with meditation. You can get the wonderful apps that facilitate a meditation. That many people are loving and helping them get really focused and more expert about it. Brad (32m 12s): Another mindfulness practice would be just writing in a gratitude journal every day. And, you know, taking the time, taking a break, getting some downtime, refreshment recovery of reevaluating, your values and your vision. If you’re filled with stress and anxiety, that’s a great quote from Dave Rossi. When you experience stress and anxiety, redirect your mindset, redirect your energy toward your values and your vision and a gratitude journal helps that a lot. So getting a little bit of mindfulness into your busy schedule is a good idea. Brad (32m 46s): And finally, a little plug for temperature therapy. We’ve talked about the sauna and how you can achieve an instant parasympathetic stimulation in their instant relaxation, no matter what’s been going on before you step in that door, the blissful experience of the sauna, and I’ve talked a lot about cold therapy. You have an entire show, you can listen to there, but it’s a similar idea to that rebound effect from the rebound workout is of course you get that fight or flight stimulation as soon as you jump into the very cold water. Brad (33m 18s): But as soon as you get out, your body is in the process of rebounding recap, recalibrating returning to homeostasis. And it’s an extremely relaxing experience to recover and rewarm from a cold plunge, you’re filled with gratitude and appreciation. So it’s a shortcut to your gratitude journal. Oh my gosh. Am I glad to be out of that? Freezing cold water and get this towel around me? Ah, how nice. Okay. So the, probably the, the ultimate here in this category would be contrast therapy. Brad (33m 49s): That’s where you go hot and cold, hot and cold Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reese has popularized this with their fire and ice.at their home setup. You can probably find them on YouTube doing fire and ice. Sission’s a big fan too. And what he likes to do is go into the sauna for 10 minutes to warm up and then go five to seven minutes into a cold pool. That’s in the, in the forties, I believe. And then after that rewarm for five minutes in the spa, I usually do my temperature therapy independently because I want that morning cold plunge to be a part of the regimen and not necessarily needing to go into the sauna afterwards. Brad (34m 28s): So an isolated cold therapy experiences my daily routine. And of course, I like to take the sauna at maybe a different time if it’s a, a chilly afternoon or I’m finished working out or whatever the time period is. But if you can really dedicate some time or make it a social experience, ah, the contrast therapy is fantastic. I love going into my mom’s pool in the winter time in Los Angeles, cause the water gets down to about 54 and then you have the adjacent spa, the small area that gets up to 104. Brad (34m 59s): So you get in that spa, you’re having fun. You’re visiting you jump over the wall, do a couple laps and 54 degrees get right back in. And if you do that numerous times, if you go back and forth five or six times, Oh my goodness. By the time you get out, you are completely and totally relaxed, great thing to do right before bed. So number nine, slowing down and reclaiming the lost art of downtime we have in the first suggestion was building your exercise program, your training program around the central focus of recovery with easier, easy days with keeping something in the tank and not getting sore with these crazy workouts and introducing these specially designed rebound workouts. Brad (35m 44s): The next was getting that downtime for your brain. From hyper-connectivity getting started with meditation would be ideal doing meditative type workouts, designing a morning routine and dedicating periods and creating periods of deep work during the Workday. Next number three on the list was spending time in nature to recover from directed attention fatigue with nature, fascination, get out there and do it. Whatever you got near you will suffice. Brad (36m 14s): Number four is getting good at napping 20 minute nap refresh the sodium potassium pumps in your brain starts firing better. You have a more productive afternoon, get good at it. Start practicing at it. Most of us need it. And we just don’t recognize it because we haven’t created the environment. We haven’t placed ourself in a winning environment to become good nappers. Number five is to take frequent breaks from peak cognitive function, a one or two minute break, every 20 minutes to work those eyes look at distant objects of five minute movement break every hour, a major mid day break to get away from it all for a while. Brad (36m 50s): And then an evening wind down period away from screens. Number six is to engage in some mindfulness practices, whether it’s a formal class like Tai Chi or yoga or meditation using the apps, working in your gratitude journal, just slowing things down. Maybe it’s chopping vegetables for you and thinking about that and nothing else for a few precious minutes. Mia Moore says she thinks washing the dishes is a meditative experience to her. Cause she’s just taking her time. Washing the dishes might not be the funnest part of the day, but it’s a chance to unwind and breathe and hopefully look out the window at a good view. Brad (37m 25s): Okay. And finally, temperature therapy. We get that instant relaxation effect from the sauna. If we do a cold plunge, we have that rebound effect over time where we feel relaxed and chilled out. And of course, contrast therapy going from hot to cold, hot to cold, wonderful way to relax. Thank you for listening and taken on the MOFO mission number nine. Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brad (37m 57s): And we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars. And it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to thanks for doing it.