Wake up! Your alarm has just gone off and the first step of your ultimate 24-hour fitness plan starts with a decisive step out of bed.
Studies have shown that turning your alarm off for another 15 minutes will actually leave you feeling more fatigued and disoriented (and we really don’t want that). Time to get started on some meditation.
It may sound crazy but meditation is very effective at focusing your mind and helping you to wake up. You don’t have to do it straight out of bed, but at least 5 minutes before you head out the door can help relax you, improve your mood, and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone).
It’s time for breakfast. A study by Pennings et al (2012) found that many people tend not to have enough protein at breakfast or at lunch, tending to have the majority of their protein at dinner rather than shared out equally. With this in mind we are going to add a protein shake to our breakfast, containing either one scoop (18-24g protein) or two scoops (36-48g protein) depending on your goals.
Once you are ready to get out the house and get to work, if possible try walking as much of your journey as possible - contributing to your calories expended and boosting your metabolism. Increasing your step count will also improve your cardiovascular system, mood and reduce stress.
A post shared by Sergio Leonel Agüero (@10aguerosergiokun) on
Ideally, you'll be going to be doing your workout in the afternoon; most people are significantly stronger in the late afternoon than they are in the morning. A study has shown that a person’s circadian rhythm (basically your 24-hour cycle of physioloical processes) can affect their strength, and only caffeine can reverse the negative effects of training at the wrong time.
When you get to work you should drink a decaffeinated black coffee. Studies have shown that decaffeinated coffee stimulates production of Peptide YY, a hormone that can prevent hunger cravings. This should keep you away from any tempting snacks before lunch!
At lunch you ensure that you have a high protein option, some vegetables or fruit, and a source of carbohydrates. Don’t starve yourself, you’re training after work so this is effectively your pre-workout meal.
30 minutes before your workout you should be taking some form of pre-workout caffeine, either a black coffee, a caffeine pill, or a specific pre-workout powder. The 30 minute gap is necessary for maximal results, but remember it is 30 minutes before you are lifting heavy weights, so include getting changed and warming up into your timing.
The perfect workout would combine some strength training (lifting heavy weights, using resistance machines etc), some body weight exercises, some cardio (perhaps High Intensity Interval Training), and a couple of core exercises. Look to train for no longer than 60 minutes, any longer and you may begin to suffer from raised cortisol which can catabolise muscles.
After your workout you should be thinking about post workout supplements. A protein shake is a good idea as this will help stimulate muscle protein synthesis (the process wherein protein is used to repair damaged muscle fibres). You can also take creatine, which is very effective at increasing muscular endurance and power.
After your workout you should be thinking of dinner; this is usually the source of most of your protein intake for the day. Look for lean protein options such as chicken, turkey, or even fish. After dinner, and before bed, grab 10 minutes for meditating again, or even some light stretching or yoga. This will help relax you before bed.
You can take supplements such as ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B3), or casein protein which have been proven to aid sleep and to increase muscle recovery after exercise. Go to bed at a scheduled time (this will help improve sleep quality).
Rinse and repeat this typical daily process, and you'll be fit and firing for every training session and matchday.