The Energy Bank
The alarm goes off. It's 3:45am.
It's Friday morning and I'm EXHAUSTED.
A full week of training clients has left my Energy Bank account a little low. I begin every week with the goal of maintaining proper energy balance, but sometimes, I just don't seem to do a good enough job. I think this is a common issue for Trainers everywhere, and when we find ourselves in that state, it's important to address the situation before it gets out of hand.
What is the Energy Bank?
It's a term I use to describe the amount of willpower, drive, desire, and ability I can bring to my work, to my creativeness, and to my life. It's an internal bank account that you can either make deposits or withdrawals from. And trust me, there IS a finite amount. As a trainer, it is important to keep a healthy account balance, because that directly impacts your effectiveness with your clients.
Everyone has an Energy Bank account. And if your account starts to run low it will prevent you from operating at the high levels you know you can achieve. Just imagine what would happen if you went into overdraft...
So, how does a trainer--or anyone for that matter--go about delivering the same great quality in their daily life as they continue to withdraw their account lower and lower?
1. Cutting the cord 1/2 hour before bed
I am a project guy. I like to make things and flex some creative skill; however, it's hard to do anything other than count to 15 when I'm out on the floor training. So, I save my at home time for producing anything new.
It is fantastic when my brain starts turning and the content starts flowing, but this can be a real problem when I NEED to go to bed for a 3:45am wake up call... It sucks being in the middle of creating something amazing, and then realizing that I am waaaaaaaay past my sleep time.
So, I started making a rule for myself to have no electronic devices near me within a 1/2 hour of my scheduled bed time. At first I was frustrated because I felt that it was hindering my creative juices, but then something amazing happened. The increased rest made me a better decision maker; better about which projects to start, what words to write, and how to accomplish what I needed in less time. It made me more targeted, and efficient; that is what I call killing two birds with one stone!
2. Make your breakfast in the a.m.
You might think that preparing your breakfast the night before and just re-heating it would be the way to go here. After all, every single shred of sleep you can get needs to be gotten, right? Sorta. Believe it or not, I have found that my ability to maintain my energy level INCREASES if I have a more active morning. It helps to engage me and start my day right. Also, I think it helps to be up, moving, and creating early on in the day--even if it's just eggs...
3. Stay on your meal plan NO. MATTER. WHAT.
A trainer must practice what he/she preaches all the time. Unfortunately, the amount of energy you have in your Energy Bank account will determine how much resolve you have. It's so easy to go off your plan, supplement with a bar, a shake, just something to get by... The food you put in your body is a direct deposit into the Energy Bank. Quality matters. If you are always putting in sub-par nutrition, you're getting sub-par deposits. Meal prep your heart out on the weekends and make sure you stick to it!
4. Avoid sitting down in between sessions
The irony of this piece of advice is that I am completely disregarding it as I write this! I had an extra half hour and my exhaustion was on my mind, so I thought I'd write a bit about it. I find that if I take time to rest after a session (even 5 - 10 minutes), it allows my heart rate to fall ever so slightly and my body begins to go into 'rest' mode. This is all too apparent when my client comes in the door and I have to take extra time to restart my engine. I'm most effective if I take the time in between sessions to walk around, chat with other members of the club, or just think to myself. But no matter what: Keep moving.
5. Power nap like a champ
This one doesn't take a lot of explanation. Naps are the greatest thing grade-school ever taught us and we learned it Kindergarten. It only takes 15 - 20 minutes to really hit the reset button and make a deposit into the Energy Bank. Find a quiet place, shut your eyes and just let the world slip away for a little bit.
6. The weekends need to pay dividends
Early in my career I envied the 9 to 5 community. They always seemed to have much more fun than I did. They went to work, finished when the sun was up, and actually had a life! I was at work before they were, and I was there long after they had left. I found myself trying to make up for the "fun" I was missing on the weekends. And that was a mistake.
The weekend is your time to really pay back all the energy you've withdrawn. It needs to be a time of rest, relaxation, and honestly, a whole lot of NOTHING. There is always a time for work and a time for play. If you take the time to recoup your lost energy, you will have even more to use when the true fun time comes! Winners always pay a price to win, and if you want to rise to the highest levels of service possible, this will be no different.
A word on Borrowed Energy...
Stimulants work. They work very well. If I was going to be a drug addict, I would easily give Heisenberg from Breaking Bad a run for his money! But, all stimulants are merely BORROWED energy. They are like taking out a loan from a PayDay lender--you'll pay 1000% interest and some guy named Guido will come break your legs if you don't pay it back on time...
You can run from him, borrow even MORE energy, but at some point, it MUST be paid back--in full. I won't lie and say I don't use these tools to help me keep my service levels high, but I will tell you that they are not something to be taken regularly thru the day with no real thought or planning. Use them strategically. A little sip here or there of caffeine can be a game changer, but to slam one and hope it gives you enough to maintain is just a Rookie mistake.