Where are you putting your energy everyday? If I were to take a snapshot of your thoughts for the day – what would it look like?
We are what we repeatedly do, Aristotle once wrote. The same goes for our thoughts: we are what we repeatedly think and our lives look the way we repeatedly tell ourselves they do.
Most of us spend a majority of our days in a medium energy zone: we’re checking things off our to-do list, but frazzled, easily distracted and always left with the feeling that we didn’t really DO anything.
It’s because we’re operating out of our fight-or-flight system in our bodies instead of our refreshed and renewed space.
Why does this matter and what does this have to do with my time at the gym?
it is said that every 90-120 minutes the body starts to CRAVE rest and recovery. Yet how often are we giving it that?
Instead, we cram as much shit into our days as possible and try to accomplish as much of our to-do list so that we FEEL accomplished. But it isn’t often that we actually feel satisfied with our accomplishments, is it?
That’s because when we operate all day every day out of our fight or flight system, we aren’t really dialed in and present with the task at hand: we’re more on auto pilot.
From my experiences of working out of the fight-or-flight system, I feel accomplished because my to-do list gets cut in half, but I don’t feel connected to any of the projects I’m writing on: I feel like they lack quality and depth.
It’s hard and nearly impossible to create valuable productswhen your body is saying “get the fuck out of here. survive. survive. survive. more coffee. rush. rush. rush. accomplish. do. repeat.”
Now imagine trying to go to the gym in this chronic state of stress and fight or flight.
Most of the time we WON’T go to the gym or stick to our routines because it simply won’t feel good. I’ll feel taxing and draining and like a chore.
Or, we push ourselves to workout only to add more stress to an already over-stressed, under-rested system pushing ourselves ever closer to the edge of failure.
That is not an optimal zone for the body to perform in. If the body is not rested and recovered, it does not perform under demand and does not adapt to the stress: this goes for stress in life, the gym, where ever.
So we spin our wheels.
Spin. Spin. Spin.
Not getting anywhere?
The balance between energy out and energy in is just that, a balance. It’s similar to sitting on a see-saw (ya, remember those?) and getting the see-saw to sit, balanced parallel, to the ground – neither side is higher or lower than the other.
This is the optimal energy balance zone where our bodies perform best. At the gym, at work, in our relationships and in life.
How, in this insanely connected and zipping fast world can we achieve this optimal energy balance?
For starters, focus only on the task you’re working on. I know, hard as shit and easier said than done.
Yes, but it IS possible and it is essential. Multi-tasking is the definition of doing a handful of things at one time and doing them all half assed. It doesn’t mean you aren’t getting shit done, but we are likely disconnected from the project and as a result, achieve mediocre results.
So, focus on one thing at a time. The end product/goal/desire outcome will always be better and it usually takes less time to complete. Plus, by focusing on one thing at a time you conserve energy so that you can give equal attention to the rest of your tasks.
Check out. Rest and Renew
For real. Don’t just sit on the couch for 3.5 hours every nite (did you know the brain is actually more active and distracted when we watch tv then when we don’t.) If TV is your game, sit down with a show and GIVE IT YOUR ATTENTION for an hour then get up and walk away. Or we can check out of the business of our day by going for a 30 minute walk, journaling, reading a book that stimulates our creativity. What ever it is for you, practice setting aside specific time to disconnect from our devices and busy to-do lists and engage in our lives.