"You can go minutes without air, days without water, weeks without sleep, months without food."
I heard this quote, or a version of it, from Laird Hamilton on the Joe Rogan Podcast. I love it because it clearly points to the essentials we all need to survive and thrive.
For me, this quote is a reminder to focus on the basics. The consumer health industry is a marketing machine, constantly selling us the newest thing we "need" to optimize our health. It's too easy to get distracted from what really matters.
I like to think of these 4 areas - breathing, hydration, sleep, diet - as the foundation of health. On top of this foundation, I've built fitness and endurance. But what I've learned as I've gone deeper on my endurance journey is that if the 4 basics are not solid, recovery and performance are limited.
The best thing is that these things are simple, easy, and mostly free.
Breathing - I try to take some deep breaths every now and again, and get some fresh air everyday.
Hydration - I try to drink enough water and eat water-rich hydrating foods.
Sleep - I try go to bed between 10-11pm and wake up between 7-8am almost every day.
Diet - I try to eat whole foods and lots of veggies everyday, and limit the junk.
Most importantly, I rarely drink alcohol or go out drinking like I used to, which is dehydrating, ruins my sleep schedule and quality, and messes up my digestion. This one bad habit can single-handedly destroy my other health habits.
Sometimes I like to get fancy and take these things to the next level. For breathing, I'll do some nasal breathing during a run, or some breathing exercises during yoga or with the State breathing app. If I'm feeling a little dehydrated, I'll make a little hydration mineral cocktail with some water, pink sea slat, and fresh squeezed lemon or apple cider vinegar. For sleep, I take naps sometimes and try to read a little bit in the evenings instead of stare at screens, but honesty I'm not very disciplined about that, so I at least have the screens on Night Mode. And for my diet, I like to drink mushrooms and make fancy superfood smoothies.
However simple or fancy, I know that these 4 areas need to be dialed in if I'm going to set a new fitness goal, dive in to a heavy training block, or even if I just want to feel good everyday and be able to perform at my best in sports, career, and life.
And this would be my advice to someone who wants to set a new fitness goal of their own, or start a new exercise regimen, or add new supplements into your diet, or whatever is the new exciting thing - make sure they basics are dialed in.
DO THE BASICS AND DO THEM WELL.
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