Daily Dose of Coach #430: Making Sleep Cool

Lebron James does just about anything he can to maximize his sleep, especially on the road.

He sets his room temperature to 68-70 degrees, turns all electronics off 35-40 minutes before he goes to bed, and uses a sleep app with calming noise to help him relax and fall asleep.

James understands the importance of getting REM sleep saying, "there's nothing more important."

And what about the 42-year old quarterback from the New England Patriots, Tom Brady? The 6-time Superbowl champ calls it a day at 8:30 at night. Even after games, he's not out celebrating; he's doing everything to wind down to prepare his sleep ritual.

Brady says, "Proper sleep has got me where I am today as an athlete and is something I continue to do every day."

Kids and Parents. I know it's difficult to get the right amount of sleep. And not just the right amount of sleep, but performing a sleep ritual to get the most out of your sleep (completing all of your REM cycles).

But, sleep is one of those things that, if you want to perform at your highest levels, has to become cool. It has to be something you unapologetically commit too, and as you perform better, hopefully your friends and teammates will follow.

All of the greatest athletes you know are taking this even more seriously than their training.

Athletes like Brady and James understand that they are sacrificing certain things in their life by going to bed early and making their sleep top priority. Though they are married with kids, they still sacrifice many social or even money-making events that cut into this time.

It's cooler for them to play for a long time at a high level than it is to do anything else.

You, as an athlete, should take this seriously as well.

Want to read more on this? ESPN came out with a great article called, "It's the Dirty Little Secret That Everyone Knows About," on the sleep epidemic in the NBA.

Daily Dose of Coach #429: Best Time to Workout?

I get the question, "When is the best time to workout?" often.

Mostly it's from athletes who aren't on a strict schedule, or adults who have some freedom to choose when they workout.

The answer to this question lies in the circadian rhythm. This is defined by the National Sleep foundation as the, " 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It's also known as your sleep/wake cycle."

When I'm speaking about the best time to workout, I'm really saying the best time for your body to perform and get the most out of itself.

For performance, the research points to early afternoons, which is the natural peak of the human circadian rhythm.

In fact, research on Olympic athletes points to the best chance of breaking Olympic records is highest at this time of day.

Okay, so breaking an Olympic record and getting the most out of your workout are two completely different things.

Personally, I've trained and performed all over the board. And though sometimes it felt great to get my day started with a 5:00AM workout, I just don't feel the same as I do in a 1:00pm workout.

Without knowing any of this, I've always found my mid-day workouts to be much more productive than early mornings.

Most of us don't have the luxury of choosing an early afternoon workout. We get it done when we can, morning, noon, or night.

But, any edge is an edge. And in the book Peak, the author writes, "Researchers believe there is an opportunity in circadian timing, and that paying close attention to the circadian peak in performance might demonstrate a palpable athletic advantage over those who are playing at other times."

Daily Dose of Coach #428: Shake It Off

"There are times in everyone's life when something constructive is born out of adversity...when things seem so bad that you've got to grab your fate by the shoulders and shake it." Anon.

There was an old mule who lived on a farm. One day as the mule was admiring a perfect day, slowly strolling through the green meadow when he slipped and fell into the farmer's well. When the farmer found him, weighed the situation, and decided neither the well nor the mule was worth saving.

Reluctantly, the farmer called his friends to help him carry loads of sand to bury both the well and the mule.

As the farmer and his friends started shoveling sand into the well, the mule could not believe it! How could he do this?!? How could he be at one moment strolling through a beautiful meadow and the next being buried alive?!?

Scared and frantic, the mule took in a deep breath and gathered his thoughts.

He told himself he was not going to die like this, and decided, every time a shovel of dirt landed on his back, he would shake it off and use the sand to step up!

Over and over again, the mule would say to himself, "Shake it off and step up...Shake it off and step up."

Staying positive and repeating these words to himself helped him to remain calm and focused. As time went by, the mule eventually got to a point where he leaped over the well wall. Exhausted, he persevered, saving his life in the process.

Life will attempt to bury. Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don't.

When it happens, it's easy to take the stance that you're doomed. It is only during these times do you see what you're made of.

The competitor chooses absolute commitment to endure. The coward elects to give up.

Coach Lou Holtz states, "If you don't make a total commitment to whatever you're doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It's tough enough getting the boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on."

Getting through difficulties is about understanding where you want to go and committing 100% to take every difficult step through it.

Get determined. Like the mule, with every shovel of dirt that's poured on your head, shake it off and use it to keep stepping up.

Daily Dose of Coach #427: Our Greatest Battle in Success

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."

Steve Jobs

Working in sports, I'm assuming I get to hear these words more than people who don't.

The words are, "I love what I do."

One of my favorite parts of the year is when all of my pro baseball players make it back into the gym.

These guys play a lot of games. Over 4-5 months, they rarely see a day off. And because of this schedule of travel, play and practice, many of them haven't spent too much time training in the gym.

But what I've found in the best players I've worked with, in any sport, come back to me with a renewed drive. No matter how the previous season turned out, their focus in on whatever their next step is to improve.

Rarely do we talk about past performance, but rather focus on future goals. We use their past performance as a place to turn failures and successes into progress.

This all comes back to an intense passion for what they do. When the greatest battle against our human nature is to settle, because of the love for their sport, their talent never settles.

Jim Rohn said, "We must all wage an intense, lifelong battle against the constant downward pull. If we relax, the bugs and weeds of negativity will move into the garden and take away everything of value."

Maybe you have yet to find a love that drives you into the search for constant progress. But this doesn't mean there's ever room to settle.

Our greatest fight isn't to find what we love, but instead settle for what we don't.

Wage war against that downward pull. No matter what it is, your life, your family, your job, your health, don't be satisfied.

If you do this in everything in your life, your passion is sure to find you.

Daily Dose of Coach: 5 Ways to Improve Your Foam Rolling

I'll be the first one to say I hate warming up. And rolling around on a 2-foot long piece of foam never really seemed like the best use of my time until I started doing it.

But, foam rolling goes much farther than just a warm-up or post-workout routine if done correctly.

While nothing can reproduce the hands of excellent bodywork by an experienced therapist, foam rolling daily can improve the quality of your fascial tissue, ultimately enhancing your flexibility, mobility, and movement.

Here are five ways to improve your foam rolling for your warm-up:

-1- Do a short movement warm-up before rolling. Jog, shuffle, skip etc. No room to do this, jump on a treadmill or bike for 3-5 minutes. This helps get you out of your zombie state, get the blood circulating, and warm the tissues.

-2- If you are rolling for general release, work the calves, IT bands, thoracic spine, quadriceps, and piriformis muscles. If possible, a great way to start is with the bottom of the feet using a lacrosse ball.

-3- Roll the foam roller over the belly of the muscle 5-10 times until you find a tender spot (myofascial adhesion). Hold or "pin" the tender stops for a few seconds. Think of working out a knot. Then roll length of the belly 5-10 more times and repeat.

-4- Stay away from rolling the tailbone, lower ribs (floating ribs in back), the tip of the breastbone, abdominal area (pubic bone), cervical vertebrae (neck area). Make sure you follow guideline three and stay near the belly or middle of the actual muscles. Rolling the actual joint or bony areas is never a great idea.

-5- When rolling, you should experience discomfort and pressure when hitting myofascial adhesions, not pain. If doing it correctly, the sensation will be a feeling of this discomfort and then eventually relief as the tissue relaxes. If you have any severe discomfort after a few breaths, move away from that spot.

You can also foam roll after your workout. Combine this with some deep belly breathing to help your body get back to a sympathetic state. This aids in moving your body towards a faster recovery process.

Daily Dose of Coach #425: Three Leadership Questions

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly” JimRohn

Anytime I'm introduced into a new leadership situation, whether it be with a new team or clients, I try to put myself in the other person's shoes,

A long time ago, I learned an invaluable list of questions that people will intuitively ask about you when you are put in a position to lead.

1. Can you help me? This is them questioning competence. Am I capable of improving or helping improve something in their life?

2. Do you care for me? This is questioning compassion. Literally, do you give a damn about me or are you just manipulating me to better your situation?

3. Can I trust you? This is a character question. Poor character generally leads to bad motives. And there is nothing worse than a leader with bad motives.

Great leaders make it their mission to get people to answer an absolute yes to all of these questions.

They do this by taking the initiative to get to know people first. They show them they care for them before asking them to follow.

I've witnessed the opposite philosophy plenty of times. And it's always a train wreck waiting to happen. These types of leaders become the captain of their own A-hole train. But eventually everyone gets off the train and has no interest in riding with them.

Ken Blanchard said, "Great leaders are people who others follow because they respect them and like them, not because they have power."

Real leaders don't care about positions. They care about getting results, making you a part of those results, and sharing that success with you.

Daily Dose of Coach #424: The Hard Work Fallacy

We live in a feel-good world.

The environment we've created is about convenience, decreasing pain, and options.

Too many times, we think we have to love or enjoy the process we choose. If we don't, it must not be for us, right?


This year I'll be starting my 15th baseball MLB off-season. And as old faces start to come in the door, we exchange the "good-to-see-you's" and other pleasantries.

And though I develop great relationships with my players, most of the time, I'm not their favorite thing they come to every day. And they let me know it.

For over a decade of off-seasons, my friend and former MLB player Rickie Weeks would tell me, "I can't wait until the season starts so I don't have to see you anymore. " And over time, I've heard much worse.

This is the hard work fallacy. You don't have to like what you do to love what you do. And as an athlete, you need to accept this. Showing up to training, to practice, spending extra time working on your skills is not something you always like to do.

If fact, if you like it too much, the process you've chosen probably isn't challenging enough.

As the great Muhammad Ali expressed, "I hated every minute of training, but I said 'Don't Quit.' Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion. "

Don't worry about liking what you're doing or having fun when it has to do with getting better. Show up, work hard, and I promise the fun will come when it counts the most.

Daily Dose of Coach #423: This is the Key to Good Nutrition

There's nothing magical about what I'm about to write.

But, when you do this, it's incredible how magical your meals and nutrition become.

When it comes to good nutrition, the primary key to success is planning.

If you want to eat well, if you wish to change your performance and health at the highest levels, you have to be able to take the time to plan.

The main problem people have with nutrition, especially with the greatest intentions is, they leave themselves open to the mercy of whatever food is available.

From that point, it's easy to make excuses based on convenience. But this doesn't work. Generally, the options you have aren't going to deliver what you need.

So what does it look like to plan your nutrition?

The first thing you can do is grab a piece of paper and start filling in these blanks:

Build your main three meals around a protein, vegetables, and a high-quality carbs. On Sunday, buy chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, eggs, or any other protein that you can build into your three meals per day.

By fresh vegetables, frozen vegetables, and high-quality carbs like oats, quinoa, sweet and white potatoes, chic peas, beans, ect.

You can use this awesome infographic by Precision Nutrition to see how to combine these and create the perfect meal.

Next, think about snacks, post-dinner foods, and post-workout shakes. I advise you to also build these around protein, fruits and veggies, drinkable protein, and nuts.

Get protein powder, a green-supplement powder, almond milk, chocolate milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and sweet peppers.

Think about foods that can travel with you to school or work like bananas, carrots, mixed nuts, pistachios, healthy bars, etc.

The goal with planning is to have the right option for your diet at every meal and every snack. How you put it together is on you and can take some time to get right.

Start planning how you are going to eat next week. If you read my emails, I know nutrition is important to you. Maybe you just haven't taken the extra time to sit down and figure out how you are going to make the change.

Daily Dose of Coach #422: 3 Apps I Use Daily for Health and Performance

You may have heard the statement, "what gets measured, gets done."

This is true for everything, especially health and performance.

I wanted to share with you three apps I use daily to track three significant aspects of this: nutrition, sleep, and training.

App #1: Myfitnesspal

If you read my emails, you've heard me speak plenty about tracking food. Especially if your goal is to lose weight and/or improve your body composition (decrease body fat + increase muscle).

Tracking food through this app has always been a game-changer for me and, in my opinion, has been the biggest contributing factor I've seen in those who want to lose weight.

Myfitnesspal makes food tracking simple and easy. Once your body weight goal is established, it helps you determine the estimated calorie range you should take in daily, including your macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats)

As you scan foods on the barcode or put in your recipes, the app has almost every food you can imagine in its database. It lets you choose the number of servings and delivers to you the full nutrition content of what you just ate.

I use the premium version that gives you your macronutrient breakdown for every meal as well as lists the foods you ate highest in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

The good thing about this app is the only device you need is your phone and is compatible with all software.

App #2: Pillow

In the past, I've used my Fitbit to track my sleep. However, between accuracy problems with the heart rate monitor, activity, and sleep tracking, I moved to the Apple Watch.

Yes, for Pillow, you will need an Apple Watch.

Anyway, the Pillow app is a free app that tracks your sleep through your watch. You set up your sleep time goal and let the tech do the work from there.

After each night of sleep, you'll be able to see how long you slept vs. actually time in bed, your sleep quality in a percentage form, and a breakdown of when you were awake, in light sleep, REM, and deep sleep.

In the free version, you can monitor this daily. You'll have to upgrade to the premium to check your history, see how your heart rate fluctuates throughout the night. Through that info, the app can help you find your optimal bedtime.

App #3: My Training App

This isn't necessarily a plug for my training app, but rather how I use it to track my training.

Just like the programs I design for my clients, I create each one of my plans in 8-12 week cycles. Or, I have my smart friends help me design and try new programs I've never done before.

No matter what, they can all live in my app, are scheduled and tracked every time I do them.

The app can track everything, including body weight, body composition, holds before and after photos, and can be directly linked to your Myfitnesspal account to track your daily calories.

The thing I love about the app that as it tracks your weights, it notifies you whenever you've performed a personal best in weight lifted or volume, as well as keeps your estimated one-repetition max.

To me, this is important because I base most of my training programs on percentages.

In the newest version, when you complete your workout, it asks you to rate the difficulty of the program. This helps with not just how hard the workout was, but can also be affected by how you are feeling that day.

All data is saved and easily retrieved and usable on the app.

Daily Dose of Coach #421: The Humility Trait

"As a leadership trait, humility is a heart attitude that reflects a keen understanding of your limitations to accomplish something on your own. It gives credit to forces other than your own knowledge or effort when a victory is won or an obstacle is overcome." Ken Blanchard

Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

In 2014, he threw his 509th touchdown pass, surpassing Brett Farve as the all-time leader.

As a fan of Manning and the Denver Broncos it was incredible to witness. But, what I found even more incredible was how one of the classiest players ever to play the game handled his success.

When Manning threw 508 and tied the record, rather than celebrating he went back to the bench and started preparing for the next drive looking at coverages and talking to his coaches.

The next possession, Manning threw touchdown 509 putting himself alone on top of the record books. As the night concluded, the Broncos walked off the field with a victory over the 49ers.

After the game, Manning was able to celebrate with his teammates in the locker room getting the game ball from coach John Fox. In his post-game speech , Manning with all the humility and grace in the world said this:

"Great team effort guys. Obviously, this is a special night. But it's only special because the way we played on both sides of the ball. That was a great team win. Let's keep it going, and I'm honored to be your teammate. I appreciate you guys very much, let's break it down..."

Peyton Manning possesses the greatest quality a leader can have, humility. Humility has allowed Peyton Manning to utilize his God-given talent and opportunities, passion and work ethic and turn it into being considered one of the greatest to ever play.

After multiple neck surgeries, super-bowl losses, and getting ousted by the team who drafted him, Manning continued to be true to himself.

It's much more than throwing touchdowns. The records are all due to the preparation, the hours of work, the leadership he exemplified, the passion for mastering his craft and making others better around him.

The very best become the very best because of humility.

As leadership author John Maxwell says: People with a lot of talent often perform at a high level, but the greatest--the absolute best of the best--achieve the highest heights because they possess the spirit of learning."

Approach what you do with humility. Let every set-back lead you to a learning opportunity. Embrace the work and effort you have to give to be the best. Appreciate and thank all those around you who make it possible for you to succeed.

Daily Dose of Coach #421: Sleep, Inury and Young Athletes

One of the primary areas of performance I try to speak with my young athletes about is sleep.

Because of the pressure of schedules, homework, travel, practice, training, social life, etc., sleep seems to be one of those things that is cast aside.

Add social media to this and a child, when they are supposed to be going to sleep, waste precious minutes scrolling through pages of nonsense. This, all at the cost of preparing for and the act of falling asleep.

A study in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics called, "Chronic lack of sleep is associated with increased sports injuries in adolescent athletes," found if athletes don't get eight hours of sleep per night, they are 1.7 times at greater risk of injury than those who do.

This could be due to decreased reaction times and overall cognitive function.

If a young athlete has weekend games, sleep debt can certainly add up over a long week of over-scheduled responsibilities and lack of prioritizing sleep.

Over-scheduled or not, the athlete must commit to placing sleep as a priority. It's not just performance, but the health of the athlete that could be at stake.

Daily Dose of Coach #420: Getting Rid of Crap Carbs and Sugar

I am currently trying two get two things out of my life, crap carbs, and refined sugars.

Crap carbs are processed carbs (or, to keep things simple for myself; any bread). Refined sugars are sweets like ice cream, candies, pastries, etc.

Picking up food for my kids last night already had me tempted. As I drove home with the smell of Chic-Fila Waffle fries in my car, it was damn near impossible not to reach over and just grab one. But, I didn't.

There are plenty of reasons to not eat crap carbs and refined sugar. Many times it's training our brain and our taste buds to help us accomplish this.

There's a great article called, Seven Uncomplicated Ways to Re-Train Your Tastebuds and Eat less Sugar , by the Poliquin Group. It dives into why we can't seem to get enough sugar and how food companies take full advantage of this.

It then gives this list of seven ways to take in less sugar:

1- Don't add sugar to food or beverages

2- Replace processed carbs with complex carbs

3- Read all food labels

4- Plan meals around whole protein instead of carb-based foods

5- Avoid all sweetened beverages and fruit juice

6- Minimize fructose intake

7- Accept that there is no healthy sugar.

Looking at this list, I'm sure you can find one or two you could improve on. For me, it's planning meals around whole protein and simply replacing processed with complex carbs.

Reducing the sugar in your life is never an easy thing to do. But it may be the best thing for your health and performance.

Daily Dose of Coach #419: Ready Vs. Prepared

“You hit home runs not by chance, but from preparation.” Rodger Maris

Preparation is one of the most overlooked and underutilized areas of success.

Most of the time it's because we are okay with being ready, rather than prepared.

I can remember multiple times when I didn't give my best performance in something from school, to sports, to delivering as a coach because of my unwillingness to adequately prepare.

Being ready usually gets done what needs to be done. You show up; you are ready to do what is asked of you. There isn't much thought of what you are going to do until you show up.

While being prepared is much different. When you have prepared you've taken time to think.

You've done your research on either your opponent, or the best way to complete and deliver the task at hand. You've taken time to rehearse and practice. You have a different level of expectation for yourself and feel a greater sense of responsibility for performing well.

So what stops us from being prepared over just being ready. I think it's a few things.

First, its arrogance. I remember the first presentation I did for the National Strength and Conditioning Association way back in 2003. I was a young, a little over-confident, and thought I knew the material so well I could walk in and do a great job in the presentation.

My boss and co-presenter at the time was a little older and wiser than me. He wanted to continue to rehearse our presentation. He wanted to practice on the car ride there, dinner, the hotel room, breakfast, basically any free time we had.

I thought it was ludicrous. In my mind, I'd done all these things so much I could walk out and talk about it to anyone.

And though the presentation went well, I remember thinking it could have been much better. There were things that if I just would have thought about and prepared, I'd have done a much better job. I left some on the table, and it still bothers me to this day.

Second is procrastination. Preparation takes a time, energy, and brainpower. It's like studying for a test in school. How many times have we put it off to the last minute, hoping for the best? You may be able to get away with that in school, but in real life, these things matter.

Third, is lack of desire. Those who prepare and prepare diligently have a desire to be the best at what they do. They leave no stone unturned. They are confident on the big stage because they know they have done all the work. Being ready, but not being completely prepared, is saying that you care, but not that much.

Coach John Wooden said, " Preparation doesn’t begin with what you do. It begins with what you believe. If you believe that your success tomorrow depends on what you do today, then you will treat today differently. What you receive tomorrow depends on what you believe today. If you are preparing today, chances are, you will not be repairing tomorrow."

Are you ready or prepared? Make sure you ask yourself this question before anything you do. Your success and how far you will continue to go will 100% depend on it.

Daily Dose of Coach #418: The Quaility Every Team Needs

“I want winners. I want people who want to win.” Mike Singletary

Early in Michael Jordan's career, Jerry Kraus, the newly hired general manager sat down with Jordan to discuss the current roster. Of the twelve players that was currently on the roster, Kraus wanted only three. He believed these three players were the core of the team. They also fit the new system of play, Tex Winter's triangle offense.

As he began the discussions with Jordan, Kraus emphasized, "I believe you have a chance to be a great player. I'm going to try to get players around you who to work with you."

Jordan said emphatically, "No...don't get players who can work with me, get players we can win with."

With regards to just about anything in life, but especially sports, there aren't too many characteristics that are more important than competitive fire or a burning desire to win.

Jordan knew this at a young age, as he was one of the most well-documented competitors of all time.

Early in my career, I was training a CEO of a fortune 500 company. I asked him, "When you hire someone, what do you look for?"

His answer was, "Character, over-average intelligence, and a burning desire to win.

This list has stuck with me since and is a guideline I've used in trying to place people around me.

Like Jerry Kraus, I've gone the route of finding people to compliment what I did well. And they did. The mistake was when I found these people, but they had no "juice." They had no fire their belly. They were complimentary, but not competitive. They did not possess that burning desire to win.

I have learned you cannot motivate the unmotivated. Instead, find those who are motivated and feed that drive.

Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is." Michael Jordan found these players and won six NBA championships. His relentless drive to win attracted and pushed the players around him to greatness.

Never underestimate a competitive spirit. It's the number one collective quality every team needs.

Daily Dose of Coach #418: Adversity, Getting Benched, and Handling It

New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning will go down as one of the most celebrated quarterbacks in this storied franchises' history.

A winner to two Superbowl's and two Superbowl MVP's, Manning has been nothing but the consummate professional since he entered the NFL in 2004.

If you follow NFL football, you'll know that past few seasons haven't been great for Manning and Giants. And this year started no better.

And starting 0-2, the Giants decided to bench their long-time quarterback, replacing him with Daniel Jones, the sixth pick in this years NFL draft.

Yesterday, I listened to a locker room interview with Manning as he showed the world, once again, how to be a professional, a great teammate, and how to put the team in front of the individual.

In this day and age, this is rare. And the attitude of "me first" and putting oneself before the team is plaguing everything down to youth sports.

You see it as early as little league and into high school sports. Kids jump teams because they don't think they are playing enough or can't deal with competing for the position they want to play.

One of my favorite sayings in these situations is you have to "give them no choice." Meaning if you want a spot on a team, if you're going to be recognized as a great contributor in anything you do, it's your responsibility. Ninety-nine percent of the time you can't blame it on anything else.

Manning is a competitive elite athlete. He's disappointed. It never feels good to be demoted, especially in the national spotlight.

But, I admire his ability to keep it about the team, helping Daniel Jones become a better player, and about figuring out a way to get his team back to winning games.

Take note, especially young athletes. This is how you handle adversity. You don't cry and blame things on everyone else. You do what's best for your team, continue to work hard, and work to the point where the team has no choice but to put you back where you belong.

Daily Dose of Coach #417: How to Get 5 Servings of Fruits and Veggies a Day

For most of us, it seems difficult to get in 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But for optimal health and performance, this should be a non-negotiable.

Below is a breakdown of how to get this done:

Breakfast: Add a 1/2 avocado with two eggs. But blueberries in your Greek Yogurt or Steel Cut Oatmeal.

Mid-Morning: Pack a Banana, Orange, Baby Carrots, or Sweet Peppers.

Lunch: Have a mixed-green salad with a protein topping (grilled chicken, steak, tuna).

Mid-Afternoon: Protein shake with some type of green like kale. Add mixed berries as well.

Dinner: Have vegetable kebabs with steak, chicken, or shrimp.

After Dinner: Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit (blueberries, mixed berries, grapes, pineapples, etc.)

Daily Dose of Coach #416: The Greatest Limiting Factor in Performance and Health

Dr. Cheri Mah, of the University of California San Francisco, who is a sleep consultant for all major American professional sports, did a study on the effects of sleep and athletic performance about ten years ago.

The original study was with collegiate basketball players. Her research showed how players who went from 6.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night made large improvements in their performance.

The statistics were pretty staggering: a 5% increase in speed, 9% increase in free throw percentage, and 9.2% increase in three-point percentage. These improvements happened in two months.

In her research with other athletes, she found everything from football and baseball players having better reaction times, to tennis players having better first serve percentages.

Her work concludes that athletes need 8-10 hours of sleep!

And not just athletes. Lack of sleep is an epidemic in industrialized nations and is a precursor to everything from type II diabetes, to cardiovascular disease to anxiety and depression.

Sleep is a low hanging fruit. It's not something most of us have to work hard for. It's something we just need to commit to doing.

While athletes need to commit to 8-10 hours of sleep, adults should commit to at least 8 for health and performance reasons.

Whether you are an athlete or someone who wants to perform at a high level in life, your health is where it all starts.

And health begins with getting plenty of quality sleep.

Don't take this for granted, it could, right now, be your greatest limiting factor.

Daily Dose of Coach #415: Losers and Should Of's

“Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one, it makes you that much stronger. If you do little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves.” Andrew Carnegie

Baseball legend, Ty Cobb was thought to have a nervous tick of kicking the base every time he got on first base. However, this was no tick at all. It was a seemingly paltry strategy to move first base closer to second base.

By doing this enough times, Cobb thought he could get the bases a full two inches closer together. By doing this, it improved his chances of stealing a base or reaching second base safely on a hit.

When you think of two inches, you would think that wouldn't make much of a difference in ninety-feet. But a great competitor understands it's the small things done with consistency and focus that make all the difference in the end goal.

And not just at the end of a game, but at the end of the season, or the end of any goal we are trying to achieve. Author Kevin Eastman says, "Every day counts on the last day."

I'll take it a little bit further and say every action or inaction we take EACH day counts on the last day.

Taking plays off during a game, taking workouts off because you just don't feel like working out, giving a half-hearted effort in practice because you think practice doesn't matter, it all counts.

Whether your goal is to win a championship, look like a physical specimen, or become the top salesperson in your company, everything counts!

There are a lot of things that get away from us during the day that should have been done. And when the time comes for results, and they weren't achieved, you'll have to sit back and say, "I should have done this."

Most of the time you find those should of's weren't that difficult to do, you just decided at that time it wasn't that important.

Losers lose and talk about their should of's. Winners get done what needs to be done. They take care of every day, every day.

Daily Dose of Coach #414: Athletes Success Is Found In Their Schedule

I read a great article this week by former New York Yankee's Director of Strength and Conditioning, Dan Cavalea .

In it, he talked about just how structured Derek Jeter was with his day, especially during the nine months of the season.

Everything important to Jeter's performance was scheduled and ritualized from training, to meals, to work, to rest and recovery.

To get and maintain this type of rigid structure, Coach Cavalea suggested asking yourself these questions:

  • What do I do in the AM when I get up

  • What do I do in the AM before lunch

  • What do I do after lunch

  • What do I do after work/school

  • What do I do after dinner

  • What I do right before bed

These questions will help you as an athlete develop the habits and rituals to become the highest performer possible. These should especially include improving and executing valuable practices in sleep, nutrition, and recovery.

Training in both skills and performance are usually the "easier" things to get done as a motivated athlete, but are only a part of what it takes.

Coach Cavalea quotes this years tennis great and US Open Champion, Rafael Nadal saying, "To win, you have to be prepared to suffer."

There's nothing fun about doing all these things consistently. But, this is the sacrifice that all great athletes and high performers will make to be the best for themselves and their teams.

Daily Dose of Coach #413: Three Daily Supplements for Health

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about not worrying about supplements until you have mastered the basics of your diet.

But even with improving the basics, daily servings of protein, vegetables and fish oils can be challenging to attain.

These supplements, taken daily, will help you accomplish this:

1. A Protein Supplement: Most days it's difficult to get the recommended amount of protein. When you are training, it's advised to consume 1g of protein per body weight. However, most males only ingest 110-130, while most females are around 80-110. A good protein supplement can fill the gap. The best way I've found to do this is one to two protein shakes per day.

2. Green Foods Supplement : Fruits and vegetables are another areas where we tend to fall short. On average, only 5% of men and women meet the recommended fruit and vegetable intake of 3-5 servings per day. An excellent green food supplement can help you reach that goal.

1. Fish Oils: The average American gets only 1/3 of the recommended 900mg of DHA and EPA per day. Fish oils contain DHA and EPA which are healthy fats that are only found in fish oils. Fish oils have been shown to help prevent and manage heart disease, lower blood pressure and reduce chances of heart attack and stroke.