In no particular order of preference here are six things that I have done in the past few years or so that have drastically improved the quality of my training and day to day life….
1 – Stop relying on pre-workout supplements. Yes, I still drink coffee, but even at that my consumption is a fraction of what it used to be. Pre-workouts on the other hand are loaded with stimulants and a host of other things you probably don’t NEED. If you absolutely NEED them to train then I would suggest looking at the bigger picture to see why. If you are severely depleted, or are competing on that day and want a boost then that’s one thing but if you require huge quantities of stimulants to get through a fairly standard training session then you need more better calories, more rest and a less stress in general. (And of course, a cup of rich coffee goodness)
2 – ‘Sitting is the new smoking’. No, it’s not. In fact it’s not even close…. I spent many years chain smoking, and many years chain sitting and I can tell you now with 100% certainty that smoking is quite literally the dumbest thing you could ever do. It has literally zero positive health benefits. So stop. Now, that being said, I scrapped sitting for the most part too and my back has never felt better. When I’m at home watching TV etc. I usually do it from the floor, when I’m working I’m standing. I only ever feel what sitting does to my posture after a long car journey that leaves me feeling jacked up for days after. So, spend more time on your feet, and more time on your back (you can use your imagination here as necessary :P) and where possible dump the chair/couch/stool for something a little less compressive in nature.
3 – Food. People think all I do is eat all day. This is correct! But it wasn’t always the case as I used to generally survive on coffee until lunchtime. I’m not making any judgement calls here, do whatever makes you happy and fits your lifestyle. All I’m saying is that there is a direct correlation between my increased energy and training quality and a more even dispersal of calories throughout the day. In my case that was making a conscious effort to eat more before 11am. When I do this I recover better, train harder and am actually hungrier sooner again in the day than on the days when for one reason or another I find myself living off coffee and protein bars and consequently end up blowing bubbles out my ass.
4 – Stop caring about what other people think. Your training is for you – people will always offer their opinion whether you want it or not but in reality the only person that is truly invested in your training is you, so make it about yourself and when it changes your life for the better the happier version of you will make the lives of those around you better in turn. Just remember to maintain balance and don’t sacrifice the rest of your life along the way as a result. Simple!
5 – Find something you love, make money from it if possible and let it ultimately kill you. You’re going to die eventually; the quality of what happens between now and then largely depends on whether or not you have purpose in your day to day life. The more people I talk to who are further along the road I want to walk the more I hear about the necessity of having things like passion, purpose, adversity and integrity in your life to help shape a general sense of well-being and happiness. I’m 33, and will reserve judgement with the benefit of hindsight for another decade or two but while I’m nowhere near where I want to be I’ve decided to invite those qualities instead of running from them and as a result I’m confident all roads are leading to the right place.
6 – Surround yourself with good people, reach out to the people you admire and try your best not to be sound to as many people as possible.