Five habits to help your mind get fit
What follows is a list of simple and yet effective habits which can help you feel better and improve your performance both in training and during a match. Some of the things listed here you may already do, some may not be applicable and most definitely, all of them can be seen as just common sense; however, there are still many people who overlook their importance, don’t make time for them or simply do not know about them.
1. Sleep more
A minimum of 8 uninterrupted hours! Sleep is very important, it is during sleep that our body and mind complete a lot of the work which you start during the day. If you find yourself not sleeping as long as 8 hours then it may be worth making 8 hours your goal. There are several small things that you can do to help you sleep more, including but not limited to:
- If you want to watch a movie or some fights after training at night, do it in bed
- If you read, do it in bed. If you don’t know what to do, then you can do some mind power work in bed, mental rehearsal, goal setting and much more
2. Sleep better
Sleeping more can be near useless if you don’t sleep well. If you sleep 8 hours and still feel tired or short of energy, chances are that you are not sleeping as well as you could. Again, there are a few small tips which can be useful and effective:
- Change the disposition of your room if you can, move the bed somewhere else in the room
- If you cannot move the bed then switch side
- Change the matrass; an old warn out matrass can be one of the causes for poor quality sleeping
- Try to sleep with no pillows, this is not for everybody but some would really benefit from a pillowless sleep
- Another thing that can help you sleep better is food; make sure that you eat food that you can easily digest at night as digestion can make sleeping well hard to do
3. Wake up your body and mind the right way
The start of the day is important for both your body and your mind. A simple routine which I learnt form one of my masters is:
- Drink a glass of plain tap water as soon as you get out of bed
- Then get your heartbeats up by doing some light exercises for 10 minutes or so; jumps on the spot, light shadow boxing or anything that gets your blood pumping and your heart race a little
- Then meditate for 5 or so minutes. Get that “me space” before you let all sort of information and stimuli into your mind.
- Cold shower followed by breakfast and that is all you need to give your mind and body the best possible start of the day
4. Eat well
This is probably the most obvious point of all and still so many people get it wrong. Get advice from a sports nutritionist (preferably MMA focused) but in general terms, loads of greens, loads of good fats, loads of good fibre, proteins and vitamins. Get some good supplements and drink loads of water and green tea. Get advice from a professional nutritionist and you will see your sleep improve, your energy raise and your performance improve. A good balanced diet must be followed even out of fight camp.
5. Claim your “me time”
Make sure to have some time for you and you only which you dedicate to other things rather than MMA related topics. Whether you read a book, go trekking, take a walk or whatever it is, it is vital that you take at least one hour daily to do something for you which is not related to MMA. This is important because it creates that useful space between you and your MMA goal, you and your usual environment and line of focus. The great benefit of learning this habit is that when you go back to your training or normal routing after that “me hour”, your focus will improve, your energy will increase and your ability to see the whole picture amplify.
As I said, much of the above is obvious and common sense but unless you are already doing it all it is not all that common. Give it a shot, try it and if it does not work for you, discard it and only keep what works. It’s like in training, keep the techniques that work for you and discard those that don’t.