On strategies to help you stay on top of your game, life as school, and handstands

Happy Monday,

I get asked a lot about what strategies I use to help me recover well and perform my best.

Although I believe there’s no one approach that works for everyone, here are some of my go-to strategies that help me stay on top of my game:

Move I work out six days a week pretty much without fail. Even on my days off, I take long walks with my dog or leisurely bike rides.

Research consistently shows that regular exercise helps to put us in a better mood, lowers feelings of depression and anxiety, helps us think better and be more creative, increases our ability to focus and learn, and can even increase feelings of hope and optimism.

If you need workout ideas, there are thousands of free workouts here.

Treat food as fuel — Food is a powerful healing tool and fuel for workouts and life. I don’t follow any particular diet, but I do try and eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods and lots of fruits and veggies.

I really believe that food should be individualized.  What works for me might not work for you, so the best thing you can do is learn to listen to your body.

Sleep — There is so much research coming out about the importance of sleep; it helps with workout recovery, mental performance, immune health, longevity, the list goes on. If I get less than six hours, I basically feel like I’m hungover. I try my best to get seven to nine hours most days.

Learn — I’m always learning something new, including reading books, taking courses, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Learning is one of my favorite activities and the main way I keep trying to grow and evolve as an athlete and human being.

Get outside — Anyone who knows me knows I spend 99% of my day outside. Fresh air and sunshine really help keep my mood up. I prefer outdoor workouts over indoor ones as well because you get double the benefits.

Play — There’s a lot of emphasis on self-care these days, especially during COVID. But in my opinion, there’s not enough emphasis on simply having fun. Try and carve out a little time each day for fun, whether this means playing a board game with your family, playing tennis, or even just watching a funny movie.

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On considering our future selves, learning how not to quit, and bodyweight basics

Why do we make decisions that our future selves so often regret?

Choosing self-discipline today so that your future self can look back and be proud of your decisions is no easy feat.

One strategy I’ve found helpful is to refer to myself in the third person (I recently read about the benefits of talking to ourselves in the third person in Chatter).

I feel a bit silly, but I’ve started asking myself the question, “what would future Krista think of this decision?” any time I’m engaging in activities that might impact my future self.

For example, when I’m tired and feeling lazy at night, I’ll look at my messy kitchen sink and ask myself, “how will tomorrow morning Krista feel about my decision not to put away these dishes?” Nine times out of ten, I’ll go ahead and clean up.

Similarly, if you’re thinking about your health and fitness, this strategy of talking to your future self makes it easier to make conscious decisions.

Try asking yourself questions such as…

How will I feel tomorrow if I skip today’s workout?

Will future me think this cookie is worth it?

This way of thinking doesn’t mean you should always decide to work out even when what your body really needs is to rest. It also doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself of treats.

Sometimes, the answer to the question of whether or not that cookie will be worth it is absolutely — because cookies are awesome, especially when they’re homemade or from your favorite local bakery. But if it’s a crappy store-bought cookie that you’re about to eat mindlessly in front of the TV, the answer is probably no.

The more conscious we get about making decisions that will impact who we become, the more we can begin to create the person we really want to be.

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