Managing Your High Performance Life

Work, and your own daily life are demanding a high performance that seems to increase every year. But longer days at the office don’t work because time is a limited resource. Did you know that personal energy is renewable by fostering simple rituals that help you regularly replenish your energy? That way you can manage your high performance life a bit better. If executives were to perform at high levels over a long period of time, they would have to train in the same systematic, multi-level way that World class athletes do. To sustained high performance you must consider the person as a whole, your body, emotions, mind, and spirit. Failure to address any one of them compromises your performance.

The Ideal Performance State (IPS)

To reach your Ideal Performance State means to bring your specific talents and skills to full ignition and to sustain height performance over time. To do this you have to build your capacity for what might be called supportive or secondary competencies. Among them are endurance strength, flexibility, self control, and focus. The foundation of the Ideal Performance State is the capacity to mobilize energy on demand, Effective energy management, and consists out of two key components:

  1. Rhythmic movement between energy expenditures (stress) and energy renewal (recovery), which we term “oscillation” and;
  2. Rituals that promote oscillation, rhythmic stress recovery.

Physical Capacity

In this context your energy can be defined as the capacity to do work. Effective energy management begins at the physical level because the body is our fundamental source of energy, the foundation. The main problem on this level is not stress as most people think, but it is linearity - the failure to oscillate between energy expenditure and recovery. Here are some basic strategies for building a strong physical foundation and renewing energy at the physical level:

  • Food - Eat well and on time, preferably smaller meals every 3 hours, and drink enough of water;
  • Workout - Build regular workouts into you schedule. For instance: three to four 20- to 30-minute cardiovascular including at least two sessions of interval, and at least two weight training workouts a week; Walking , swimming or cycling daily is a good workout too to increase your stamina.
  • Sleep - Going to bed early, waking up early, and sleeping for at least 8 hours helps you dealing with the demands of today’s business world. Maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake-up time help regulate your biological clock; Good sleep is essential for high performance during the day.
  • Recovery - Seek recovery(take a break) every 90 to 120 minutes while working, consistent with the body’s natural stress-rest cycle.

Emotional Capacity

Emotional capacity is the internal climate that supports peak performance. Positive emotions ignite the energy that drives performance, where negative emotions drain energy and can lead to other mental and physical problems. To manage your emotional capacity you need to be able to transform your inner experience of stress, into one of challenge. You can regulate this by burning of tension during a workout or by becoming more aware of your body’s signals when you are on the edge - physical tension, a racing heart, tightness in the chest - so you can steer yourself in another direction.

Your body language also influences emotions. Manipulation of your emotions by body language is very easy because your body can not make any distinction between spontaneous body language or you consciously creating the look on the outside that you want to feel inside. Above all others, close relationships are perhaps the most powerful means for prompting positive emotions and effective recovery. Close relationships can induce a profound sense of safety and security.

Mental Capacity

The cognitive level is where most traditional performance-enhancement training is aimed at. The usual approach is to focus on improving competencies, while the most notable areas of improvement lie in your focus, time management, and positive critical thinking skills. Focus simply means energy concentrated in service of a particular goal. Meditation, although mostly viewed as a spiritual practice, can serve as highly practical means of training attention and promoting recovery. Time management is crucial if you want to renew consistently with your body’s need for breaks every 90 tot 120 minutes. So try to build in some renewal time in the form of 15 minute breaks.

The last tool you can use to increase your mental capacity is visualization. Visualization produces positive energy and has palpable performance results. It can literally reprogram the neural circuitry of the brain, directly improving performance.

Spiritual Capacity

Spiritual capacity is the energy that is unleashed by tapping into one’s deepest values and defining a strong sense of purpose. This capacity serves as sustenance in the face of adversity and as a powerful source of motivation, focus, determination, and resilience. The inclination for most people is to live in a perpetual state of triage, doing whatever seems most immediately pressing while losing sight of any bigger picture. Working hard under stress, using more than 100% of your capacity, thinking that sleep and rest you will do sometime later. Many people who do this end up in a burn-out that lasts usually months or even years to get back to their previous state of activity.

Burn-Out

Rituals

Rituals that give people the opportunity to pause and look inside include meditation, journal writing, prayer, and service to others. Each of these activities can also serve as a source of recovery - a way to break the linearity of relentless goal-orientated activity. In an environment that is changing at warp speed, performing consistently at high levels is more difficult and more necessary than ever. Narrow interventions simply aren’t sufficient any- more. We can’t afford to address our cognitive capacity while ignoring our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When you feel strong and resilient – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – you perform better, with more passion, for longer. You win and your family wins.

The idea in Practice

Physical Energy

  • Enhance your sleep by setting an earlier bedtime and reducing alcohol use.
  • Reduce stress by engaging in cardiovascular activity at least three times a week and strength training at least once.
  • Eat small meals and light snacks every three hours.
  • Learn to notice signs of imminent energy flagging, including restlessness, yawning, hunger, and difficulty concentrating.
  • Take brief but regular breaks, away from your desk, at 90- to 120-minute intervals throughout the day.

Emotional Energy

  • Defuse negative emotions—irritability, impatience, anxiety, insecurity—through deep abdominal breathing.
  • Fuel positive emotions in yourself and others by regularly expressing appreciation to others in detailed, specific terms through notes, e-mails, calls, or conversations.
  • Look at upsetting situations through new lenses. Adopt a “reverse lens” to ask, “What would the other person in this conflict say, and how might he be right?” Use a “long lens” to ask, “How will I likely view this situation in six months?” Employ a “wide lens” to ask, “How can I grow and learn from this situation?”

Mental Energy

  • Reduce interruptions by performing high concentration tasks away from phones and e-mail.
  • Respond to voice mails and e-mails at designated times during the day.
  • Every night, identify the most important challenge for the next day. Then make it your first priority when you arrive at work in the morning.

Spiritual Energy

  • Identify your “sweet spot” activities—those that give you feelings of effectiveness, effortless absorption, and fulfillment. Find ways to do more of these. One executive who hated doing sales reports delegated them to someone who loved that activity.
  • Allocate time and energy to what you consider most important. For example, spend the last 20 minutes of your evening commute relaxing, so you can connect with your family once you’re home.
  • Live your core values. For instance, if consideration is important to you but you’re perpetually late for meetings, practice intentionally showing up five minutes early for meetings.

If you want to go further into this subject I would advise you to buy and read "The Power of Full Engagement". This book contains a load of tools to help you on your way to a more energized and balanced life.

 

References

  • Loeht, J. & Schwartz, T. - The Making of a Corporate Athlete - Harvard Business Review, January 2001
  • Schwartz, T. & McCarthy, C. - Manage your Energy, not your Time - Harvard Business Review, Oktober 2007

First published on July 19th 2013, updated in 2019


Workout playlist: 12 songs that make me push harder

Music is essential to my daily workout (ok, almost daily)! I picked some of my faves for you in my workout playlist, these always get me running a little bit faster... What are your favorites workout songs?

xoxo Maruja

p.s. follow me and my work for Vocal Psychology, the place I help you to sing your heart out!

Burn, baby, burn from MarujaRetana on 8tracks Radio.


New York City outdoor workout with friends!

When it's Summer in NYC, for me there is n better combination than meeting with friends and doing a New York City outdoor workout! One time, our dear friends Ricardo Baldin and Jeanette Linderberg, joined my love Fabio Nunes and I for a nice week of training and eating good food.  I get to see them only once in a while, so it was another reason to really enjoy our time together.

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Fabio and Ricardo at the Elevated Acre in the financial district NYC.

Ways to work out outdoors in New York City

There are a LOT of ways to do a New York City outdoor workout:  biking, playing ball, skating, running. And there are a lot of places to do it so too!

After a great smoothie in the morning, we all went for a cardio training that takes only 15 minutes of your time! The goal is to keep your heart rate a bit at a certain level that helps you sweat and burn fat. After all is a great way to raise your energy levels for the rest of the day.

We also had a little fun doing Yoga poses ( Asanas ) and helping each other to improve our technique. We went to the Elevated Acre in the Financial District to do this workout.

 

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Eating healthy after a workout

I am proud to say that our post New York City outdoor workout meal was amazing! : Chicken legs, sweet potatoes, spinach egg whites omelet with avocado topping and arugula salad. Every single ingredient was organic and chicken was free range grade 2. All made with love and care by Fabio's talented chef hands. He is a Model Chef after all, who has cooked many delicious dinners for foodlovers around New York City :)

 

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Riding a bike in New York City

The other day, we rode city bikes and took the East River cycling route with destination: Central Park. The ride was just so enjoyable, the temperature during the day was perfect and it really got into my senses the whole experience exercising, and enjoying the view, good weather and company. We even bumped into few Brasilian friends that were doing exactly same thing as we were: two girls on their skates while the third one was running alongside them. The bike ride was about 7 miles , Uptown to Central Park, and back home with a few stops to enjoy our favorites places in the city. Like the Italian meca Eataly on 5th av and 23rd st - were we went to recharge our fuel with great food.

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When at the park it was easy to have a good time!

 

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At Central park - inspired by kids playing around - soft strenght training.

 

Outdoor work outs with friends are fun

Gather a few friends, get inspired by the good weather and push each other to reach your goals! Share your knowledge and experiences - all that, and relieving stress at the same time! Above all Summertime is here to raise our spirits in a positive vibe !! I strongly advice to stay active,  moving your body every chance you get! That's the way I'm gonna spend my next days, what about you guys ?? ;))

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Follow me and Fabio on instagram for more workouts and healthy foods:

@CarolFontaneti & @1FabioNunes

Stay focused,

XoCarol ;)

First published in 2015, updated in 2019

 


Urban rebounding workout

I am not a big fan of working out to be honest. But I have to sometimes do it for my own health. I need to activate my muscles and my lungs so my blood can transport oxygen better to the essential areas in my body. I will get better skin, better functioning vital organs, and better muscle tone. But as running wasn't my thing really, I had to find a good workout that I like, besides walking my dog, and one that will be good for me too.

I discovered the mini-trampoline, or the so-called rebounding workout already back in 2005 ,when I started to join classes at my local gym in New York City. It was so fun as it is a workout for all ages. It works the muscles but spares the joints. I would go 3 times a week and had a very enthusiastic instructor. The movements were very diverse and not boring. I felt very lean and flexible after just a few weeks.

urban rebounding

Another good thing: Studies show it actually works the lymphatic system, that excretes toxins out of your body. And that sounds like music to my ears!

It is really fun so every time I for some reason had to quit working out, I would go back to my rebounding workout to get back in shape. When you put some music on during your rebounding workout, you don't realize you start sweating a lot. After 45 minutes of jumping fun you are full of sweat and the workout feels like it was no biggie at all.

It is also not really about how high you jump, it is more about how you jump. (you jump IN the trampoline not high up). It is easy, anyone can do it.

I first followed the Urban Rebounding system by founder J.B. Berns. I ordered an urban rebounder for home and watched his video to show me how to do it the right way. At one point I wanted to become an Urban Rebounder Instructor as I got so into it! But the online service wasn't working at that time, so I couldn't. But I still love jumping the trampoline.

There are a few rebounder brands, so you can see for yourself which one works for you! (see link below) The one I have now, the Urban Rebounder Gym, was $129,95 when I purchased it years ago. I am sure there are new ones available and probably different (and better) prices.

You can do it alone, or with a friend, both jumping on a trampoline. With my bff Maruja Retana we would together think of a dance routine, with the basic Urban Rebounding movements in mind.

For instance we would put a Song of Michael Jackson on, and then jump to it! You feel like you are an amazing dancer, because of the bounce the rebounder gives you.

it is so much fun and it never bores me!

Love, Lonneke

First published on May 4th 2015, updated in 2019


Valentina & her bike

How to get rid of the cellulite NATURALLY

I want to share some tips on How to get rid of the cellulite naturally and How to tone your body for this summer!

This is what I do every day. These tips are very easy because its all-at-home body care. There are many expensive treatments and massages to help minimize the cellulite, but eating a fresh whole food diet, drinking water and exercising will make your body looks amazing all year around!

1.  Pure water with a lemon

Start your day with a big glass of pure water with a freshly squeezed lemon juice. This will help to flush and cleanse your body from the inside. Giving you a fresh start of the day.

READ MORE : Water!

2.   Dry brushing

Before you step into the shower, give your self a good dry-brushing all over your body, concentrating on  your legs, thighs and butt.

You can purchase a natural brush for the body at any health food store.

How to dry-brush:

-      Standing completely naked and dry in your bathroom, start brushing you body using short strikes ALWAYS toward your heart. Start from your feet, then legs, behind the knees, thighs, butt, hands, arms, stomach.

Dry-brushing increases circulation of the skin. It stimulates the lymph canals and helps your body to get rid of the toxins. Dry brushing helps shed dead skin cells, which help improve skin texture and cell renewal.

Organice Your Life choice of brush:
Dry Body Brush - 100% Natural Bristles - Cellulite Treatment, Increase Circulation and Tighten Skin. (Pack of 1)

3.  Cold shower

After you dry brushed your body, jump into the shower, wash you body using natural chemical-free body soap like Dr. Bronner. When you are done, take a quick icy-cold shower. Cold water will tighten your skin, improve circulation and strengthens immunity.

READ MORE: dr. Bronner

4.  Grapefruit Essential oil

Add a few drops of a Grapefruit essential oil into your natural body cream. I love Coconut Oil, so I add essential oil into my coconut oil – the combination makes it especially gorgeous and it smells AMAZING! Concentrating on your legs, tights and butt, moisturize your whole body giving yourself a nice massage. The essential oil of grapefruit is extracted and compressed from its peel and has many beneficial properties as being a disinfectant, stimulant, antiseptic, aperitif, lymphatic and tonic.

Organice Your Life choice of grapefruit oil:
Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil (4 oz), USDA Certified by Mary Tylor Naturals, Therapeutic Grade for Stress Relief, Relaxation, Aromatherapy, Diffuser, Home

5.  Exercise

Pick your favorite exercise and just move your body; walking running, jumping, dancing!

Valentina & her bike

LOVE, VAL

First published by Valentina Zelyaeva on Organice Your Life on April 19th 2012, updated in 2019

Read more by Valentina Zelyaeva