Never on a Sunday

I learned long ago that I need one day out of the week that is all mine, during which I don’t have to work, train, or be accountable to anyone else. In a society that is all about hyper-productivity and consumerism, and which sees busy-ness as a virtue and stress as a badge of honour, it’s not always easy to say “no.” But it is infinitely rewarding. Challenges appear much more manageable when you’ve had time to rest; training, work and study look like the privileges they are rather than burdens when you take some time away from them; and a day out of the normal routine provides an opportunity to devise solutions to your problems by considering them in a new light.

Sundays are for waking up without an alarm, making love, spending hours over coffee, reading things you won’t be assessed on, and being a tourist in your own town.

Spending my Sundays well means I can look forward to Monday morning, and give the week’s tasks everything I’ve got.


How Yoga Has Helped Me

For the last month and a half, I have been doing a lot of yoga. I’ve found yoga valuable in the past. For instance, when I was just beginning to recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, yoga was one of the first forms of exercise that I was able to attempt. I could do it at home, stop any time, didn’t need any assistance, and there was no risk of becoming stranded as a result of fatigue – which could have happened at that stage had a gone for a walk on my own and become too tired to make it back.

It’s quite amazing to think of how weak I had become as a result of being debilitated by CFS. Things like chair pose, high lunges or cobras which I now perform easily as part of an active recovery really tested my muscular strength and endurance back then.


Your Workout is only as Good as your Recovery; Your Skills Training may only be as Good as Your Sleep

The above is a recording of a short lecture by Biomedical doctor, sleep specialist and former Navy SEAL Dr Kirk Parsley.

We’ve all been lectured before about the importance of sleep, but there are some alarming statistics included in Dr Parsley’s short speech. Adequate and good-quality sleep is essential for a range of optimal functions including maintaining healthy hormone levels (and that directly impacts on libido, sexual function and fertility), healthy body composition, insulin sensitivity and the consolidation of learned motor skills.

That last part has particular relevance to any athlete, elite or recreational. What it means is that you need good quality sleep – and enough of it – in order to let your brain rehearse new movements that you’ve learned during the day so that it can consolidate them into long-term memory – what we normally refer to as “muscle memory.” So if you routinely sacrifice sleep as a time-management strategy, you’re literally robbing yourself of a lot of the gains in motor skills that you’re trying to gain during practice.