The Big 4 – Becoming a Better You

athletes working out at fitness parkPhoto: Max Bevill

I’ve been getting a good deal of questions lately on supplements what to take, is this good for me, will this help me with XYZ. Now I love supplements, well some of them and they have their place, some might argue this point, but one just needs to take a look at how our society and environments have changed since the agricultural revolution to see the need for supplementation in our diets. I’m not going to debate that in this post instead, I want to discuss what I like to call “The Big 4”, before even thinking about taking any supplements.

The Big 4 are as follows:

  • Sleep – Get a Good Night Rest
  • Nutrition – Eat Real Food
  • Train – Workout / Move During the Day
  • Recovery – Light Stretching, Play & Laugh to Reduce Stress

It is that simple yet we would much rather take a magical pill, instead of talking about the magical pills I want to discuss how to try and optimize or work on the big 4, let’s start with Sleep.

1) Sleep

I’ve talked about sleep ad-nauseam if you’ve taken one of my classes or read some of my other posts you have probably heard me discussing the importance of sleep. It is for good reason that I put such an emphasis on getting a good night’s rest, for it is when we are Horizontal aka Sleeping that we get better at everything. Let me repeat that line when we are Sleeping we get better at EVERYTHING. Our bodies are amazing machines and during sleep, our bodies calibrate so you will be able to kick ass when you wake up in the morning. Somethings that can help us get a better nights rest, set up an evening routine so your body knows its time to shut down. Some options include but are not limited to Stretching, journaling, meditating, light reading, a personal caveat I suggest fiction I am a big reader of nonfiction but I have found that if I read non-fiction before bed I have a tough time turning off my monkey mind. Sex this should be a no-brainer, it is one of the most natural ways to reduce stress and therefore help you have a better nights sleep so yes I’m saying it, have more Sex and sleep better. These are all just suggestions, notice none of them include your phone or TV in fact if you have a TV in your bedroom take it out. I am by no means an expert on everything sleep just a student of the game and if you would like more information google Dr. Parsley he was a former Navy Seal commander and is now known as The Sleep Doctor.

2) Nutrition

The next place I would like to go is the Nutrition game, as in what are you fueling your body with. If you reading this then you probably already know yes I need to eat real nutritious food. You already know that Coke is bad for you and stay away from sugars and processed foods, therefore I will not go in-depth about what to eat. Nor am I going to suggest a certain type of diet style, I’ll talk more about those in a later post. Instead let’s look at just trying to eat properly for one entire day, and then build upon that day to the next and to the next. One thing that has helped me is to slow down and think about what I am going to eat and put into my body. Before eating any food I have been in the practice of looking at the food and asking my body if this is food that will be good for fueling my body. This might seem a little woo-woo, but an example would be you grab a breakfast sandwich from Fat Rons aka McDonald’s and before you eat the sandwich you look at it and ask you body is this good fuel. Compare that with sitting down with a freshly made salad of with veggies and a homemade dressing and asking the same question. This simple practice can yield great results. The point is we need to make good choices when it comes to our nutrition and we know what those good choices look like, so execute on making the right ones and the results will follow.

3) Train

Next on the chopping block is workouts, again if you’re reading this then you probably already know I am from the camp that believes wholeheartedly in CrossFit and the style of workouts we do in the gym. The GPP approach that we take to training and programming at Mako I consider to be some of the best training protocols in the world. This isn’t to say CrossFit is the only way, and if you have been to Mako and trained with us then you know we incorporate all training styles to include MMA, Yoga, movement-based training even bodybuilding style training. My business partner and Great Friend Brandon does a phenomenal job of programming all of this into our CrossFit workouts at Mako and we are truly blessed to have the diversification that we have. If you are not a member of a gym or are traveling or don’t have time on a given week to make it to the gym there are other ways to get workouts in. A workout can be as simple as a light jog in nature or a yoga session on the beach, it doesn’t have to be inside the gym. Looking at working out we all know it is good for us, the goal is to make it a habit one that we are consistent with. I suggest working on a schedule and having friends hold you accountable, this is two-fold as it is always more FUN to workout with your friends and enjoy a good sweat and laugh. The key here is to execute stick to your schedule and with consistency, you will see the results you are after.

4) Recovery

The last of the Big 4 I want to discuss is the recovery aspect, this recovery can be from a workout or just recover mentally from a stressful day. If we are working our sleep and our nutrition which fall in line with recovery, they just happen to be extremely important that is why they carry a category of their own. So what should or does recovery look like, well it isn’t sitting on the couch vegging out and binge-watching Netflix. We could go into the foam rolling, lacrosse ball mashing, and stretching regimens but you already know those and if you don’t feel free to look up MWOD. I, instead, want to talk a little on the idea of laughter, fun, playing and happiness. For most of us, our days are stressful; whether, from our jobs or kids or just life in general, this stress has serious effects on our bodies and moods and is therefore important to address how we can decrease stress. One way is to spend time with friends and family enjoying family dinners at night these dinners can include wine, but don’t overindulge instead enjoy a glass or two and a few laughs with those around you. Laughter is said to be a drug that heals the soul and it is true when you laugh you feel better about yourself and whatever the situation you are in. There is a Buddhist monk who would use laughter and joking to disarm his patients and by the time they got to explain why they were seeing the monk, they would realize that the problems they thought they had were trivial and life was good. We all know that we can’t be turned on 24/7 working and training downtime is needed. The key takeaway is we need to execute when it comes to our recovery this can take the shape of foam rolling and mashing or playing games outside, to enjoy a meal and laughing with family and friends all our forms of recovery and each equally important in our lives.

Now Implement The Big 4

When we take a look at those big 4 elements we can see that the answers are simple, it is the execution of doing each of these every day that is tough. I heard a quote the other day that said, “Everything you want is on the other side of hard work” -Tim Kennedy. I thought to myself, how true that is, and in writing this post it kept coming back to me. All of the practices discussed above will take hard work, there is no magic pill and while supplements can help we first must address the Big 4 and make sure we have those in line, in order to achieve the results we are seeking.

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