• 5 simple steps to develop your evening routine

    We have previously covered how you can master the perfect morning routine. This week is all about constructing an evening routine that is conducive to a restful night’s sleep. By improving your quality of sleep, you ensure that your mind and body are fully rested and prepared for the following day. This will not only make your training easier but you will find you reap many more benefits than if you were tired or lethargic. 

    The perfect evening routine should focus on two main goals:

    1. How do we wrap up the day with a clear mind?
    2. How can we set ourselves up for a deep, glorious, and restorative sleep?

    There is nothing worse than getting yourself cosy and ready for bed but not being able to switch off your thoughts about the things you did and didn’t do during the day. Follow these 5 simple steps towards perfecting an evening routine and this will never happen again!

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    1. List the positive impacts you left on the day

    This approach was first developed by Benjamin Franklin who would reflect on his day and ask himself, ‘what good did I do today?’ before going to sleep. Instead of stressing over how productive you were during the day, shift your focus into a more positive and fulfilled one.

    2. Take the time to wind down for the evening

    Research has found that our brains need about 2 hours to cool down before we can really get into a deep sleep. This means that about two hours before bed you should start winding down your brain. Classical music, meditating, journaling, stretching, and pampering routines are all great ways to relax before jumping into bed.

    Put away your phones and switch off the TV to make your evening more purposeful. It is worthwhile avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol close to bedtime and steering clear of rich meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks, all of which can trigger indigestion.

    3. Make tomorrows to-do list

    So often, we are completely overwhelmed by all the tasks we are facing over the next day. This anxiety can negatively affect those precious sleeping hours. By making a to-do list the night before, it helps to clear your brain so it can relax.

    4. Make your bedroom a sleep haven

    The Mayo Clinic has done a ton of amazing sleep research and found that we need to start thinking of our bedroom like a cave if we want to get a good amount of quality sleep. Consider using blackout curtains, eye masks, ear plugs, ‘white noise’ machines, humidifiers, and fans to keep things cool and quiet.

    5. Utilise Sleep Tools

    There are several apps out there which are specifically designed to help you sleep or monitor your sleep so improvements can be made.

    Sleep Cycle is a great app which will monitor your sleep cycles by movement. This can aid in learning about what evening ‘cool down’ gives you the best night’s sleep.

    HeadSpace is another app which takes you through various meditations and mindfulness exercises to help clear your mind and wind down before bed.

    Lastly, try to use lights without the blue spectrum. Research has found that the blue spectrum in lights and on our electronic devices actually keep us awake and can disrupt our sleep. Be kind to your eyes and use fixtures that have a more calming light or utilise your phone’s settings to disable the blue light during evening hours.

    Remember that an evening routine is just as important as a morning routine. Learn how to perfect both in your life and you will be on your way to a more productive, healthy, and successful day.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more home workouts at your fingertips? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • 10 steps to develop the perfect morning routine

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    Establishing a good morning routine has been proven to have a positive impact on your day but this doesn’t necessarily mean you must drink a glass of warm lemon water and go for a run before the sun rises. Not all morning routines have to follow the same format or pattern. Whether you wake up at 5am or 11am, we can all establish a regimen that is conducive to our goals and lifestyle.

    I have recently started to listen to ‘The Power Hour’ podcast, hosted by Adrienne Herbert, which has inspired my newfound interest in morning rituals. I have since collated an assortment of data and evidence to support a 10-step way to get your own morning routine nailed.

    1. Understand and utilise your body’s internal clock

    To fully utilise your morning, it is important to know when you will benefit the most from waking up and starting your day. Some people operate best in the early hours, whilst others prefer a later start. If you follow your body’s natural cues as to when you should wake up, your circadian rhythm should stay balanced which will keep you feeling energised during the day.

    2. Identify your morning intentions

    It is vital to acknowledge what you would consider a successful day. Would a successful day entail more productivity? Or are you more concerned with getting your health in order? Once you’ve identified your goals, it’s then time to identify the behaviours that will fulfil these objectives.

    For me, personally, a successful day would be one in which I have an adequate amount of time to be productive and fulfil my daily tasks. Hence, my morning routine would consist of:

    • Waking up at 5am to ensure I can fully utilise my day.
    • Exercising to get my body moving and put me in a good headspace.
    • A morning skincare routine to ensure I am looking after my skin.
    • Eating a nutritious breakfast to give me the energy I need for my active lifestyle.
    • Ensuring that my house is clean and tidy, ready for the day.
    • Using my paper journal to list my daily tasks.

    3. Identify what is not on your ‘To Do’ list

    This may seem counterproductive at first, but the reality is that we often engage in morning behaviours that detract from our intentions. Whether you want to stop checking your emails or stay off social media, it is important to establish these behaviours so that we can replace them with more desirable ones.

    I identified the following behaviours which cause me to stray from a productive morning:

    • Checking social media and emails first thing.
    • Having a coffee to ‘wake me up’.
    • Starting work as soon as I wake up.
    • Having a quick fix breakfast that lacks creativity.
    • Procrastination, which prevents me starting my day productively.

    4. Prepare your environment for the perfect morning

    It is now time to set up physical barriers for the things that you wish to discontinue and implement reinforcements to help establish the desirable behaviours.

    Here’s how I ensure my mornings stay on track:

    • Putting my phone on ‘Do not disturb’ so that I am not distracted by notifications or messages in the morning.
    • Organising my workout clothes the night before, so that I can get straight into training when I wake up.
    • Preparing my morning water or herbal tea the night before, so that I’m not tempted by a quick coffee.
    • Preparing my breakfast the night before, to ensure that it is both nutritious and delicious whilst not taking up too much time in the morning.
    • Planning my morning workouts for the entire week so that I know exactly what I should be doing each morning.

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    5. Do not hit the snooze button

    Once your alarm sounds, get up! Christopher Winter who is a certified sleep medicine physician has found that every time you wake up and go back to sleep, you enter a new sleep cycle. Any sleep you get from pressing snooze is too light and fragmented to be beneficial and could actually leave you feeling more tired.

    Following a prolonged period of a consistency, waking up will soon become a breeze. After years of early mornings, I now automatically wake up at around 5am and don’t need to set an alarm.

    6. Move before you start your morning routine

    Have you ever watched a dog or cat wake up? The first thing they do is stretch out. Give yourself time to move and allow your body to acquire some energy through the expansion of stretching. The gentle movement will gradually warm and awaken both the body and mind.

    7. Hydrate before you caffeinate

    Research has shown that your cortisol levels are naturally higher for the first one to two hours after you initially wake up. Higher cortisol levels will increase your alertness naturally and minimise the effectiveness of caffeine. A glass of water will rehydrate your brain which is composed of 75% water and in turn help you to begin your day feeling focused and clear-headed.

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    8. Get into a good headspace

    Allow yourself time to be still and focus your mind. Meditation, doing affirmations, practising visualisation exercises, and undertaking controlled breathing can be great tools to focus your positive energy for the day. Research has also found that our bodies have low levels of oxygen first thing in a morning, so a few deep breaths could help re-oxygenate your body, which will keep you more awake during the day. Regular meditation has also been shown to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help relieve stress and fatigue.

    9. Multi-task your morning’s ‘To-do’ list

    Tackle two of your morning’s tasks at once and feel super productive in the process. Being time poor isn’t a valid excuse for failing to get things done anymore.

    I often listen to a podcast whilst exercising, catch up on the news whilst doing housework, and call various family members during my morning walk. There is always something so satisfying about getting two of my morning tasks ticked off at the same time.

    10. Maintain the routine to make it habitual

    Set up a routine that is reproducible and attainable 7 days per week to ensure that you get the most out of it. Routines can be the desirable balance of work and play, providing they are congruent with your goals and intentions.

    Spend this month perfecting your morning routine and enjoy the enhancements it brings to your everyday life. 

    About the author: Laura Smith is an athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    Want more tips and tricks to aid in developing a healthy lifestyle? Connect with Sundried's Personal Trainers on our app, for top tips, free workout plans and more.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
  • Train Yourself to Achieve your New Years Resolutions

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    A new year is the perfect time to adopt more desirable behaviours in the hope to live a happier and healthier life. More often than not these aspirations will not manifest into victory.

    My intention for this blog is to identify the common errors people make when deciding on their new year’s resolutions and how you can construct a keep-able promise in 2020.

    #1 Too much too soon

    Error:

    Setting unrealistic goals at the start of the year in the hope that you can transform yourself overnight.

    Resolution:

    Instead of trying to change everything at once, it is better to make incremental changes that can be more easily achieved. By setting realistic goals that can be altered over time, success is more likely.

    Example:

    If your goal is to start going to the gym, then begin by working out once or twice a week. Once you have this mastered, consider adding an extra visit. Trying to go from no exercise to working out every day is not the way forward.

    #2 Not identifying your ‘why’

    Error:

    Not understanding the reasoning behind a resolution.

    Resolution:

    Having a good motivational drive is integral to success. It’s important to identify why the goal is important to you on a personal level.

    Example:

    You may want to work harder at University, but it is important to uncover why is this important to you? Maybe it is because you want to graduate and secure your dream job. Whatever your reasoning, make sure you identify it and use it to motivate your behaviours.

    #3 Wishy-washy goals

    Error:

    Setting a haphazard goal with no specificity or personalisation.

    Resolution:

    Keep the goal relevant to you and include fine details. The more specific you can make your goal, the more vivid it will be in your imagination and the more encouraged you will be to succeed.

    Example:

    Adopting a healthy diet is always a popular resolution but this leaves much ambiguity. Think about what a healthy diet for YOU would look like. For example, ‘I will eat five portions of fruit or vegetables each day’ is much more specific than ‘I will eat a healthier diet’.

     

    SMART Goals

    #4 Not checking in

    Error:

    Not measuring or tracking progress will result in the inability to know how you are doing and whether changes need to be adopted for success.

    Resolution:

    Keepings a written record of your progress with help to sustain the ‘can do’ attitude, keep you accountable, and ensure you are moving in the right direction.

    Example

    If your goal is to drink more water, then the only way to know if you are succeeding is to track how much you are drinking each day.

    #5 Not setting the date

    Error:

    Without a deadline of achievement, motivation can dwindle and often the attitude of ‘I will do it tomorrow’ is adopted.

    Resolution:

    Set an end date for targets to keep the pressure on and stop any avoidance of the tasks at hand.

    Example:

    If your goal is to run a 10km then enter yourself in an event at the start of the year. The pressure of a looming race is sure to keep you motivated.

    #6 All or nothing attitude

    Error:

    Giving up completely when something goes wrong.

    Resolution:

    Accepting that slip-ups are likely and are a part of the behaviour change process. The ability to pick yourself up and carry on after a setback is vital for triumph.

    Example:

    Does the occasional sweet treat completely undo an overall healthy diet? No, of course not! As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

    #7 Enduring not enjoying

    Error:

    No one can bring themselves to do something they hate consistently, so planning a resolution that you will dislike doing is not going to work.

    Resolution:

    The best plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life and one which you can appreciate.

    Example:

    Participating in a sport you love rather than dragging yourself to the gym will be much more effective in any fitness venture.

    About the author: Laura Smith is an athlete who has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

    How do I create a Workout Plan?

    Getting the right support for your training plan will mean the difference between success and failure. You do not need to identify your SMART goals alone. If you want some free tips, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.

    Posted by Aimee Garnett
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