Archive for the ‘performance’ Tag


slide-brainresearch-photo“Our cognitive and physical abilities are in general limited, but our conceptions of the nature and extent of those limits may need revising. In many cases, thinking that we are limited is itself a limiting factor. There is accumulating evidence that suggests that our thoughts are often capable of extending our cognitive and physical limits.” A recent article in Scientific American explores recent research on the direct relationship between thought and human performance, suggesting that too often our thoughts limit our capabilities. In addition, it is also possible for thought to tap into deeper capability and improved performance. Read the full article HERE.


Kirk Parsley (Navy SEAL) published an informative video onthe importance of sleep for training and performance. He also providestips for improving sleep. Personally when I need guaranteed high quality sleep, it’s a slumber mask and earplugs that get the job done. Self-check your own sleep patterns and how they may be impacting your training and performance. Check it out!


Your body, and especially your brain, have a built in clock and daily rhythm of activity. It’s called your circadian rhythm. There are times of high activity and low activity. Tracking these ties can help you do your best at a task by doing it when your body is most capable of thattask. In the worse scenario, when you need to do a task at the time when your body (and especially your brain) is least up for doing it, you know what you’re up against and can take precautionary measures or get some additional support.

A recent article in the Wallstreet Journal by Sue Shellenbarger reviewed some circadian rhythm research, and I want to share my highlights and notes with you:

1. “Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California.” — This tells me that paying attention to circadian rhythms is an important part of any physical fitness plan. I knew it before, but this statement reinforces the priority.

2. “When it comes to doing cognitive work, for example, most adults perform best in the late morning, says Dr. Kay.” — If I need to hit something hard cognitively, and have the choice as to when, it may be best to schedule it for the morning rather than afternoon or evening.

3. “Most people are more easily distracted from noon to 4 p.m., according to recent research led by Robert Matchock, an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University.” — If I need to do a task that requires sustained attention, the afternoon might beb a time best avoided.

4. “Alertness tends to slump after eating a meal, Dr. Matchock found. Sleepiness also tends to peak around 2 p.m., making that a good time for a nap, says Martin Moore-Ede, chairman and chief executive of Circadian, a Stoneham, Mass., training and consulting firm.” — OK, more indications that the afternoon is not the best time for attentive thinking. I get the idea! 😉

5. “For most adults, problems that require open-ended thinking are often best tackled in the evening when they are tired, according to a 2011 study in the journal Thinking & Reasoning.” — Evening might be a good time for creative thinking.

6. “Of course, everyone’s body clock isn’t the same, making it even harder to synchronize natural rhythms with daily plans. ” — I have experienced this! Just because I am a “morning person” doesn’t mean anyone else is, and those that aren’t sure do let you know!

7. “Morning people tend to wake up and go to sleep earlier and to be most productive early in the day. Evening people tend to wake up later, start more slowly and peak in the evening.”– Sure, but which one is a better dancer? (lol)

8. “Physical performance is usually best, and the risk of injury least, from about 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., says Michael Smolensky, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, and lead author with Lynne Lamberg of “The Body Clock Guide to Better Health.” — This tells me there might be advantages to working out immediately after work, which is something I currently do on Fridays, and around that same time on Saturdays as well.

9. “Muscle strength tends to peak between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at levels as much as 6% above the day’s lows…” — See #8.

10. “Another boost for physical strength comes from the lungs, which function 17.6% more efficiently at 5 p.m. than at midday…” — See #8 above. Maybe 8 through 10 have to do with chasing down dinner!

11. “Eye-hand coordination is best in late afternoon…joints and muscles are as much as 20% more flexible in the evening, lowering the risk of injury, Dr. Smolensky says.”

12. “These body rhythms hold true regardless of how much you’ve slept or how recently you’ve eaten.” — That’s interesting to me. These rhythms are what I call “hard-wired.”

You can check out the full article HERE.