Our bodies are absolutely incredible machines. Paying attention to how we feel is important, but also knowing why we should do certain things within our normal day is equally important to finding and keeping your daily awesomeness on high day after day.
STEP ONE: take the following mini quiz written by Amy Ashmore of the American Council on Exercise. This will help you recognize your chronotype, or natural sleep-wake cycle and how understanding this can allow you to establish an effective routine that maximizes your training.
Add your scores together to get your total and compare your score with the table below to identify your chronotype. Your chronotype suggests your best time of day to train where overall fitness and pleasure are your primary goals.
This may have just affirmed something you already knew or suspected about yourself, as in yeah this is for sure why I need that morning cup of coffee, or why you get a boost of energy in the evening time that makes you feel like you could take on the world. On to the next step!
STEP TWO: Establish a set workout time every day that works for your chronotype
This is good for everyone to do, but especially if you are an athlete and wanting to maximize your training time. Here's why: with repetition our muscles can actually start to anticipate an upcoming workout based on the time of day. Within each of your 600 muscles, there is a little biological clock, each of which are paying close attention to your eating and sleeping patterns. When they get accustomed to a time of day for training, they will start to make little molecular adjustments in anticipation for training, kind of like your own miniature muscular NASCAR crew, thereby enhancing your performance during the workout. Pretty cool!
STEP THREE: Find how to make your routine stick
Everyone is different, so what works for someone else may not work for you. Don’t force a workout in the morning if it doesn't fit your chronotype. Try changing it up and working out after work/in the evening instead, or fitting it in on your lunch break. The same holds true for the opposite, maybe your optimal time is in the morning and it’s time to stop hitting snooze and skipping your workout. If you can, enlist a workout partner, trainer, or group class to join. Another motivated person is the best way to keep you accountable. I can almost guarantee that if you took 5 minutes to brainstorm a list of these kinds of people, you would come up with several names you could contact. All changes will require some sort of sacrifice, so it's important you are ready to make permanent changes.
STEP FOUR: develop an unstoppable mindset
From supplement companies to diet programs and (some) workout plans and programs, we are being taken advantage of as consumers. I personally distrust many people and organizations in the fitness industry, as they have found a way to make money off of our
"Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions, your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values, your values become your destiny." - Gandhi
Schroder, Elizabeth A., and Karyn A. Esser. “Circadian Rhythms, skeletal muscle molecular clocks and exercise.” Exercise and sport sciences reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3866019/.