Mark Roper, Principal Coach at Coach London, uses compound conditioning in his approach to achieve long term, preventative health results.
Compound conditioning involves making micro improvements across three key components that contribute to overall wellbeing – 1) body 2) mindset and 3) lifestyle. Over time and collectively, these micro improvements will result in much bigger overall gains – leading to optimal, long lasting health.
Mark has shared his top 5 tips to introducing small changes to make in your day to day life to kick start change on the journey to new year health.
Morning Light Exposure
Within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning try and expose yourself to some natural light. Despite the late sunrise at this time of the year and the fact that staying in bed may seem far more appealing, getting our bodies outside is one of the best things we can do to naturally improve our energy levels. This is done by regulating our body’s internal clock known as our circadian rhythm which helps guide your body to let it know when to sleep and when to be awake. This is also a great thing to do throughout the day with going for a walk on your lunch break being an example.
Aim to do a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise as early as possible in the morning, with the target of elevating your heart rate above 120bpm. There are many ways this can be done such as doing yoga, going for a run or taking a brisk walk, ideally you would combine tips 1 & 2 and exercise outside. The walk/cycle commute to work, taking the kids to school or walking the dog are great examples of this. Exercising early has profound effects on improving our energy by naturally increasing cortisol levels in our body. Having high cortisol in the morning through the exercise and natural light stimulus is one of the best ways to improve our sleep patterns and regulate our hormones.
When Eating Think 5 – 10 – 15
With most people’s hectic lifestyle we seemed to have lost the ability to sit down, relax and savour our meals. It’s so common to eat on the go as we walk or commute and for us to be reading our phones the whole time. This type of mindless eating plays a big role in us over consuming calories as we are not giving our body the chance to prime itself to break the food down and therefore digest it effectively. By the time we actually have that feeling of being “full” we have already over consumed on the amount of food that we actually need. Aim to follow these tips to help with the above.
5 – Take 5 deep diaphragmatic (belly) breathes before you eat each of your meals. Doing this puts your body into more of a parasympathetic (rest and digest) state rather than the sympathetic (fight or flight) state which will allow your digestive system to do its job more efficiently.
10 – Chew your food at least 10 times. Aim to put your knife and fork down between each bite and put your phone away to allow yourself to stay in a more present state which should help control overeating.
15 – Aim to take at least 15 minutes to eat your meal. Slowing down the actual rate that we eat our food has a huge range of health benefit as does eating with others in a social environment. When possible try to eat your meals with family, friends or colleagues. The health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet are well known with social interaction playing a huge role in it.
Introduce a HIIT sandwich to your training.
To optimise results I’d recommend adding some cardio work to the start and end of your resistance training session. Pick a aerobic based station such as the rowing machine and do 5 minutes of light, incrementally paced work before your weight training session. Once you’ve completed the weights then add in some interval based work at the end of the session sticking to the same station with a format of 30s hard work and 90s very light work for 3-4 rounds. This is a very time efficient way of staying healthy, fit and strong.
Set an evening alarm
Most of us will have an alarm set for the morning to get us up and out of bed but one of the most simple tricks to help improve our sleep is to introduce an evening alarm to help us wind down. Set a time 1-2 hours prior to going to bed as a reminder to dim the lights, put our phones/laptops away and perhaps to read a book instead of watching TV. All of these things help improve what’s called our sleep hygiene. Improving sleep hygiene will instantly increase both the length and quality of your sleep making you a healthier and happier individual.