How to Eat for More Productivity

By
October 23, 2014 in Peak Performance
Share

productivity

You, are a motivated individual – right?

You are completely committed to crushing it in life. You are an entrepreneur (or budding entrepreneur) who is risking everything to grow the life of your dreams for you and your family.  You wake up early in the morning still dreaming about success and you can’t go to sleep at night because you are analyzing every part of your life and how you can make it better.

Because we are part of the small group of high-performing individuals, we’re always looking for an edge, a way to be more productive, a way to get a leg up. But many of us business-folks forget the most important aspect of success: our own health and fitness.

Yea that’s right, it’s not our planning, it’s not our marketing, it’s not our team and it’s not our leadership. While all these things are important to grow a business, none of them are possible if you’re not optimizing our bodies.

This article touches on just a few ways that you can eat for more productivity, but it only takes a few changes to see massive results.

Let me interject with two very powerful statements:

Your body is your home, if you don’t take care of it, where are you going to live? – Trevor Romain

This very powerful statement from the author of the kid’s book fittingly titled, If You Don’t Take Care of Your Body, Where Else Are You Going to Live?, is one of the most profound statements about eating healthy I have ever heard. I mean, he’s incredibly right. If you don’t eat healthy and exercise, your house is going to crumble around you.

Another angle to look at it is something that I used to tell my clients when I was teaching them how their diet had a direct response on how they feel:

Success comes from the mind. The mind is driven by your gut. And your gut functions on whatever you eat. So eat for success. – John Timmerman

This helped them put into perspective the importance of eating clean on productivity and positive thinking. But many people are looking for the huge results right off the bat, and they get discouraged or lose sight when it doesn’t happen right away. Often when people begin to eat right, they begin measuring how much weight they lose; but because this is a gradual benefit to eating clean, people fall off the wagon quickly when they don’t see immediate results.

But what if you saw immediate benefits from eating clean that the average person might not be looking for? What if you could get more work done in a shorter period of time? What if you had more energy to play with your kids after an intense workday? What if you could sleep better and wake up refreshed?

I know – the fact that eating clean is healthy isn’t exactly breaking news to you, but the profound effect that it can have on your ability to think better, do more in less time and sustain a higher level of energy might be.

Numerous studies have proven that Omega-3 fatty acids improve learning capacity and memory. salmon

“Omega-3 fatty acids support synaptic plasticity and seem to positively affect the expression of several molecules related to learning and memory that are found on synapses,” said Gómez-Pinilla, a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center. “Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function.”

In addition, folic acid is essential for brain function, and it’s found in various foods, including spinach, orange juice and yeast. Folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders such as depression and cognitive impairment.

I know a few lines from a scientist isn’t going to make you eat healthier, but if you’re anything like me, you would gladly accept a challenge to do a little self experimentation.

So I challenge you to a little 3 week experiment. This will allow you to prove to yourself (and your business) that making small adjustments to your routine can seriously lead to business growth and performance.

1) Drink 16oz water upon waking and another five 16oz bottles of water throughout the daywater

The human body is made up of 55-65% water and your brain is made up of about 70% water. So it’s no wonder that if you are dehydrated, your physical and mental performance will decrease. Specifically how does it decrease?

  • Reduction in blood volume
  • Decreased skin blood flow
  • Decreased sweat rate
  • Decreased heat dissipation
  • Increased core temperature
  • Increased rate of muscle glycogen use

But it goes beyond just reduction in physical performance.  A study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that subjects that had water intake restricted for a night and tested the next day, had a significant reduction in vigilance, concentration, reaction time, learning, memory, and reasoning. 

Women should especially take note, because even though the men in the study experienced fatigue, tension and anxiety just as the women did, women experienced far greater negative changes.

2) Stop drinking caffeine after 1pm no matter whatcoffee

Another point that needs to be brought up regards caffeine. We all have those friends that say they can sleep fine on a cup of coffee after dinner. And sure, they might be able to fall asleep, but that sleep they’re getting is not the kind that recharges the body.

What they don’t know is that caffeine has a halflife of 6 hours. This means that if you drink a 150 mg cup of coffee, 6 hours later 75 mg will still be floating around in your blood. And 6 hours after that, you’ll have 37.5 mg. And even though caffeine affects people differently, it stimulates adrenaline and affects dopamine reabsorption into the brain, which tells the brain to feel alert and happy.

So even though some might be able to fall asleep like a log, their brain is still ready to run around the block a hundred times. This makes it nearly impossible for them to ever reach the R.E.M. sleep (deep, recovery sleep) that the brain and body need to recover and recharge.

3) Eat your largest meal as early as you can in your day (6am-12pm) breakfast

There is a reason that it is called breakfast. It’s literally breaking you fast that you endured while sleeping overnight. While many say that fasting does have benefits on mental performance, most people don’t practice great eating habits to justify fasting in a healthy way. In other words, most Americans fast all night long, then skip breakfast, then devour a burger for lunch and have a huge dinner with ice cream after. So essentially you are fasting until your brain can’t take it anymore, then you are binging on the first thing that you see.

By eating a large meal in the morning you are filling your body (and your brain) with vital nutrients to replenish what you used while sleeping and priming your systems for the chaotic day ahead. By eating your largest meal at your earliest convenience, you won’t be so famished for lunch and dinner that your arm starts to look like a giant chicken wing.

Conclusion

Often people are looking to quick and easy ways to fit more things into your day, and how to be more efficient and effective while working on their projects. But we often overlook the fact that the fuel we put in our body – which is used by our brain – is also the fuel for our productivity.

Feed your body, feed your brain, feed your productivity.

You might also like...

John Timmerman
About the author

John Timmerman

John Timmerman is the founder of Good Monster, a digital agency in Syracuse, NY. He is a former strength & conditioning coach and personal trainer who has trained NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, UFC athletes, executives and everyone else for 10 years. When he's not burning the house down trying to cook up healthy ways to eat bacon, he's traveling and enjoying life to the fullest!