We chat with former triathlete Pip Taylor about her tips for keeping your mental state sharp through diet and exercise.
Have you ever had those days when you’re busy, hungry, and your brain is crumbling like mush?
Yes, whether it’s lockdown or you’re just exhausted from a busy schedule, performing at your mental peak can be a difficult task in itself.
But did you know that nutrition and exercise actually play a huge role in how long you can maintain laser sharp focus and mental sharpness?
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Speaking on Body + Soul’s Daily Podcast Healthy-ishSports performance dietitian and former triathlete world champion Pip Taylor says the key to releasing this energy is consistency with your diet and exercise program.
“[Eating for mental peak] is all about consistency and having a good routineâ¦ For some locked out, there is a lot of extra time that can lead to boredom with eating. So if that’s you, it’s probably a good time to stretch your wings a little in the kitchen and get creative, âshe told host Felicity Harley in the episode Healthy- ish. What to eat to perform at your mental peak.
âFor others, it’s a frantic juggling of work, home and learning; a lot of extra stress. Try to make time for meals, to sit down, rest and relax. It’s also about removing some of the guilt of relying on deliveries and meal preparation options.
If you plan to work smarter, not harder, that’s a good thing.
Whether you’re trying to limit boredom while eating or finding the willingness to prepare food, Taylor says it’s important to allow yourself time to sit down and enjoy the food. Taking this moment will help your mind relax so you can feel rejuvenated and productive for the rest of the day.
For those of us looking to improve our nutrition, Taylor’s suggestions can help you maintain some of that muscle you’ve built over the years while you’re locked out and keep your focus.
âYou’re looking for a satiating protein breakdown throughout the day, keeping you full and maintaining that lean muscle mass optimization,â she says.
âPair it with a good variety of colors from different plant foods. Then all you do is increase or decrease the energy and the carbohydrate content depending on the level of activity.
Her number one tip for keeping the brain on track during the day? Start off on the right foot.
âI always think that if you start the day well, it puts you on the front of the stage for everything. You start getting decent nutrition, decent micronutrients as well, and that puts you in place, âshe says.
âYou have also already checked a psychological box. You started the day where you want to end it.
What if you’ve been chasing everyone all day and only have 20 minutes to spare? A HIIT workout is the perfect choice to make sure you’re tired enough to get a good night’s sleep and start tomorrow on the right foot.
Taylor’s poison of choice is burpees (200 to be exact), but any workout that raises your heart rate for a short time is worth it.
âIt’s the structure and discipline to exercise even when you don’t feel like it. There are days when people are very busy and I’m the same, but even taking as little as ten minutes will make you feel a lot better.
Here’s to boosting that focus when TikTok and sugary snacks call your name at 3pm.
Learn more about Pip via his website, here, or on Instagram @piptpip
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