Are you a professional athlete who can warm up for 45 minutes, take naps in the day, have regular massages and/or physiotherapy and eat only your macro-optimised meal delivery service fodder? Doesn’t sound like you? No, it’s doesn’t sound like me either. In fact, I am half a year under 40, have legacy issues with my shoulders and right hand from 10+ years of senior rugby and my kids wake up at, on average, 5:17am, every day. I have a grown-up job and grown-up responsibilities. But I have a genuine love of working out and going to the gym is time to myself that I truly value. So, I train most days for about 60 minutes per session.
There is a fair-to-middling chance that far more real-life bio strikes a chord with you. And if you are, like me, trying to work getting fitter, stronger and healthier into the rest of your life, rather than building your whole life around gains, there are products and services that can keep your body from grinding to a halt and stay more on track with your training. These are the things that I am fortunate to have in my personal armoury and that I try to use as much as possible.
We’re all told we need to sleep more if we want to operate at higher level in all spheres of life. But the realities of modern, busy lives make the lauded eight hours tricksy. Most of us can’t either go to bed at 7:30pm to bank it early, nor sleep until 9am to grab back the time abed. What you need, what I need, is to sleep more effectively in the time available. Eight Sleep’s cover fits snugly on top of your mattress and with the hub (about the size of an OG PC tower), it adjusts the temperature of your bed to optimise the various phases of your shuteye. For me, that means extremely cold at bedtime, colder still during deep sleep and then slightly cold for REM and plain-old cold until I wake up. My wife’s side can be independently adjusted, solving forever the evolutionary quandary of men running blazingly hot and women requiring things to be uber-snuggly at all times.
Working on mobility is another thing that we know we should be doing regularly. But let’s be honest, not only is it psychologically tough to do something you totally suck at but taking the time to stretch is the first item to be removed from my mental to-do list on daily basis. I just like really sitting down on the sofa after work, school runs, dog walks, children’s bedtimes and general household admin. ROMWOD is the only app that has succeeded in making me more mobile. There is an endless library of guided video routines that are filterable for the time you have and/or the muscle group you need to work on, or you can jump on a ‘track’ and progress through with daily practice. It even has a diagnosis function to assess your mobility and highlight strengths and weaknesses. My score was sobering.
We’re all stood at the top of the stairs two days after squats and wondering how we will ever go downstairs again. Or, perhaps, audibly winced while trying to put on a T-shirt following death-by-bicep-curls. It’s horrible and doesn’t need to happen, frankly. Of all the ‘percussive therapy’ devices flooding your social media feeds, the Hypervolt GO is the most suited to the 9-5 athlete like you and I. Being smaller and quieter than the larger, hammer drill-sized models, it is still plenty powerful enough to work away the soreness and stiffness from big workouts. Easy to throw in your gym bag, I sometimes use it for five minutes as part of my warm-up towards the second half of the week. WHF lunch breaks while watching YouTube are also an ideal way to habit-bundle some time under the gun.
I’ve been vegan for three years and while I have recently started eating eggs from our local farm (I now class myself as ‘veggan’) getting in enough protein is a daily concern. Form are the dons of plant-based sports nutrition, and the Peakblendmeal replacement shake is loaded with macro and micro nutrients aplenty. Think of it like a protein multi-vit. I certainly do. If I train before breakfast I am always famished for the rest of the day, so a 100g serving delivers a whopping 37g of protein. Later in the after, or if I’m on a rest day, a 50g portion is perfect snack to top up my intake. I can really recommend the chocolate peanut flavour.
Whatever your eating plan, how much of that goodness your body can actually absorb is entirely up to how well our gut is functioning. Swerve the jargon of pre- vs pro-biotics and micobiomes and pop two of Puresport’s Trust Your Gut instead. With ginger, turmeric and reishi mushroom, as well as their own digestive enzyme blend, I take two first thing, about 30-minutes before eating anything. I was warned by Puresport’s founder that effects for the first few days are, ahem, ‘noticeable’ but that it is a sign it’s working and sorting our your insides. I can attest that it does work.
Caffeine is the OG of performance enhancers, which is why I ingest enough to make my eyes tingle between the hours of 5:30am and my 2pm cut-off point. I have taken a flask of coffee to the gym before but it’s hard to choke it down between rounds of dizzy conditioning, so NOCCO is my crutch during sessions. With a decent slug of caffeine to jazz you up for a good session, the new Mando del Sol flavour in particular is dangerously drinkable. Also, it should be said that the smaller cans compared to their high-energy competitors makes it much easier to stack up in your fridge. And you look a lot less like a professional Call of Duty player drinking it, too.
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