My controversial fit tip for today: your most important exercise of the day is not your workout; it’s your wakeup.
Your body does not know strength, endurance, cardio and flexibility. We may measure them through artificially created metrics, but our nervous system doesn’t know measurements. It only knows efficiency of total function. Your body doesn’t recognize its segments as equally important; it only acknowledges performance as a total system. You will make a movement easier, no matter the cost to any one of its parts.
Though your workout may improve your strength, endurance, cardio and flexibility, your body will improve the efficiency of these movements at the expense of any segments which aren’t behaving optimally. The nervous system works with, against or around anything not responding sufficiently for you to achieve the objective you’ve given it in your workout (in everything you do.)
When you sleep, you [should] have your best recovery of the day. However, your nervous system also indiscriminately improves efficiency so you can recreate yesterday’s used movements. So, movements you overused or misused cause tissues around those joints to tighten. At the same time, your nervous system shuts down unused tissue to conserve energy, and make you perform the movements with less total effort; regardless of using poor form which endangers you in the long run. Your body only responds with short term survival, not long term preservation: so, if you give it a command to move, it will do whatever it can to achieve that goal, despite the damage it incurs.
Your wakeup is not a workout where you are thinking about improving your strength, endurance, cardio or flexibility per se. Wakeup with mobility which loosens, circulates and lubricates tightened joints so that they don’t force neighboring, stable joints into motion to substitute for your inefficiency; for example, if you don’t restore mobility to your hips in the morning, your lower back often feels pain from being forced to move to do the job that your hips were designed to do.
But not just mobility, you also have to throw on all the neurological (and biochemical) switches for any shutdown tissues to light up for the day. For example, if you were using poor form the day before picking up the yard with your back rounded and your shoulder blades shrugged (rather than flat back with stable packed shoulder blades), then your big lat muscles can shut down to conserve total energy, and you will feel very weak without them. Therefore, your wakeup should be a system “check-in” on anything which shutdown overnight to save energy, and a reactivation of those tissues.
—> If you don’t loosen tightness to restore mobility and reactivate appropriate tension, then nothing you do throughout the day will be safe or strong for very long especially your workout.
—> Your wakeup only takes 8-14 minutes when you awaken, and should leave you a little sweaty demonstrating that you’ve restored circulation and activation, especially to core tissues connecting upper and lower body.
—> Your wakeup should cover all of the usual suspects of tight joints, but must also be an investigation of where you specifically feel tight or weak, so you must be mindful, not robotic, in performing it.
—> As a result, it can be used as a meditation to bring your mind back to single focus, which performance and sport psychologies have shown to be critical for your mental awareness and acuity.
—> Your wakeup also optimizes your biochemistry for digesting and absorbing nutrition, but without which remain inhibited; before breakfast it sets your catabolic environment for optimal fat burn throughout the day.
I’ve encoded all of this hidden within my free programs like www.recuper8.org and the basic free programs at www.intu-flow.com. If you miss your workout, you’ll be fine, but never miss your wakeup, and you will see more than an improvement in your fitness. Do it for 3 weeks straight and you’ll see dramatic improvement in your total well-being.
Wakeup before you workout.