When we started BEYOND STRONG, 11 years ago this month, it was to a degree about the performance and competitive endeavour of strength sports.
I was 37 and had peaked as a strength athlete winning Britain’s Strongest Man (Under 105kg) and about to have a stab at the heavyweights. I quickly realised this was a mistake despite getting very strong (for me) and so ‘retired’ from Strongman. I’ve competed a few more times since in various strength sports and still pushed my limits even as recent as Xmas 2017. However…
…nothing lasts forever!
Coming to that realisation is tough for many people and harder for some than others. I’ve come to the conclusion that although I’m not going to stop trying to improve, the truth is I am never going to be as strong, fast or agile as I used to be.
And frankly, there’s some comfort in that. I can now train and simply enjoy it without (much) of an ego and without trying to kill myself every week!
My training is more of a lifestyle choice now and something that I just do because I know how much it helps me stay healthy and feeling pretty good.
The goal is more about longevity and quality of life.
So with that mindset, the BEYOND STRONG ideal will start to move away from the ‘hardcore’ and more towards training and health that promotes a longer, fulfilling existence on earth.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t work hard but rest and recovery is now going to be paramount to our cause.
So with that in mind, the first thing I’m going to highlight is…the GREATEST PERFORMANCE ENHANCER of all time…
I think many of us in this busy, busy world we live and work in are guilty of not sleeping enough. I know I’ve said things like I can survive on 5 hours a night or less or I’ll sleep when I’m dead or whatever. Well, the truth is now out and 5 hours is NOT enough and you may be sleeping deader, longer if you’re not careful!
Here are a few eye-opening sleep facts:
■ Two-thirds of adults in developed nations fail to obtain the nightly eight hours of sleep recommended by the World Health Organisation.
■ An adult sleeping only 6.75 hours a night would be predicted to live only to their early 60s without medical intervention.
■ A 2013 study reported that men who slept too little had a sperm count 29% lower than those who regularly get a full and restful night’s sleep.
■ If you drive a car when you have had less than five hours’ sleep, you are 4.3 times more likely to be involved in a crash. If you drive having had four hours, you are 11.5 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
■ A hot bath aids sleep not because it makes you warm, but because your dilated blood vessels radiate inner heat, and your core body temperature drops. To successfully initiate sleep, your core temperature needs to drop about 1C.
■ The time taken to reach physical exhaustion by athletes who obtain anything less than eight hours of sleep, and especially less than six hours, drops by 10-30%.
■ There are now more than 100 diagnosed sleep disorders, of which insomnia is the most common.
■ Morning types, who prefer to awake at or around dawn, make up about 40% of the population. Evening types, who prefer to go to bed late and wake up late, account for about 30%. The remaining 30% lie somewhere in between.
This is just scratching the surface.
Checkout the video below and if you can get a hold of Mathew Walker’s brilliant book – WHY WE SLEEP – and try to understand just how important SLEEP is to your life and performance.
NOTE: Some strong language here!