Office Athlete

Many of us exercise and go on diets because society said we should. But, your primary focus isn’t exercise and nutrition. It’s..

-your career
-your kids
-your furry kids (pets)
-your time with family and friends

I understand that. I don’t want you to waste your time with senseless exercise programs and diets. However, you will need to shift your mindset. I am here to grant you the new identity as an office athlete.

Office Athlete: noun – an individual who aims to perform at their optimal level in all the domains of life

You will no longer exercise and diet. You will train and nourish yourself to perform at your highest level. I want training and nutrition to help you:

-Enhance your career
-Have more energy for your kids (furry ones included), family, and friends
-Set an example for your kids and family
-Empower yourself and others
-Lower your stress
-Increase your stamina
-Elevate your confidence
-Enhance your quality of life

These may be bold statements, but you can see how certain aspects can affect your performance and health below.

Sleep

  • Stage 2 sleep was associated with motor skill improvements2
  • Sleep can assist in faster motor output thus aiding in reaction time2
  • Sleep deprivation may contribute to decreased concentration, alertness, attention, and sport-specific skill execution2
  • Complete sleep deprivation was shown to decrease reaction time by 8%2
  • Sleep extension can aid in motor skill accuracy3
  • Naps can improve altertness3
  • Sleep loss can negatively affect flexible thinking and learning leading to decreased performance long-term3
  • Sleeping less than 7 hours per night showed a 3-fold increased risk for developing a cold compared to individuals who slept more than 8 hours3
  • Longer sleepers report fewer illnesses than shorter sleepers3
  • Sleep deprivation can affect decision-making and motivation which can affect practice duration2
  • Partial sleep deprivation can affect glucose homeostasis which can affect energy levels and focus during long duration practices3 4

Nutrition

  • Gut hormones (leptin, ghrelin, glucagon-like peptide 1, and insulin) influence cognition,5 thus can play a role in focus and decision making
  • Polyphenols, found in a diverse array of vegetables, is associated with enhanced cognitive performance6
  • Dehydration can lead to a greater perceived effort to complete a task6
  • A healthful diet was associated with reduced mild cognitive impairment7

General Fitness

  • Fitness is associated with greater focus and can diminish task fatigue8
  • Fitness can help with maintaining positivity after stress and thus aid in resilience after tough matches9
  • Leisure physical activity can lessen the effects of stress and anxiety10
  • Moderate and high fitness levels were associated with a lower number of days reported sick and reduced severity of sickness11
  • Training with an emphasis on injury prevention can assist in keeping the joints healthy

Mindfulness Training

  • Mindfulness and mindfulness-related practice is beneficial for performance especially for precision12
  • Aid in the ability to increase frequency of flow state13
  • Reduce performance anxiety13

Overall, assessing and improving sleep, nutrition, general fitness, and psychological factors can potentially increase your performance. Improvement in these factors can produce greater focus during work, more energy and vigor, decrease fatigue, prevent injuries, and at the end, lead to greater quality work. It is important to note that some aspects will assist certain individuals more than others. An individualized approach would generate the greatest benefit and lead to more noticeable changes in performance. For example:

  • Genetic variations allow some people to require little sleep (~5 hours) while others need a greater duration (~9 hours). Assessing qualitative (Do you wake up refreshed or hit snooze multiple times?) and objective information (It takes you 3 cups of coffee to feel ‘right’) can help you determine how much sleep is best for you.
  • People who are able to readjust focus after a tough loss may not benefit from mindfulness training as those who ruminate. Do you find yourself constantly beating yourself up after a loss or does a loss negatively affect your performance for the next game?
  • Individuals respond to food differently. Although oatmeal may make one person feel great, it may make the next feel bloated and cause indigestion.

Overall, incorporating a holistic approach to performance training can aid office athletes potentially increase performance through optimizing sleep, nutrition, physical training, and mindfulness training. As an office athlete, I want you to move away from exercise & diets and move toward training & nourishing. This will entail adjusting to optimize the above aspects. Sign-up to the e-mail list to get a 10 question assessment to see where you stand and where you can improve. If you want to take your performance, nutrition, and training to the next level then feel free to reach out to me at CoachNickMack@gmail.com.

  1. Maxwell JT. Ergonomics Within the Workplace: An Occupation Based Injury Prevention Program for Computer Users. 2017
  2. Nédélec M, Halson S, Abaidia A-E, et al. Stress, sleep and recovery in elite soccer: a critical review of the literature. Sports Medicine2015;45(10):1387-400.
  3. Simpson N, Gibbs E, Matheson G. Optimizing sleep to maximize performance: implications and recommendations for elite athletes. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 2017;27(3):266-74.
  4. AlDabal L, BaHammam AS. Metabolic, endocrine, and immune consequences of sleep deprivation. The open respiratory medicine journal2011;5:31.
  5. Miller AL, Jong H, Lumeng JC. Obesity-associated biomarkers and executive function in children. Pediatric research 2015;77:143.
  6. Meeusen R. Exercise, nutrition and the brain. Sports Medicine 2014;44(1):47-56.
  7. Dominguez LJ, Barbagallo M. The relevance of nutrition for the concept of cognitive frailty. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 2017;20(1):61-68.
  8. Stroth S, Kubesch S, Dieterle K, et al. Physical fitness, but not acute exercise modulates event-related potential indices for executive control in healthy adolescents. Brain Res 2009;1269:114-24. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.02.073
  9. Childs E, de Wit H. Regular exercise is associated with emotional resilience to acute stress in healthy adults. Front Physiol 2014;5:161. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2014.00161
  10. Carmack CL, de Moor C, Boudreaux E, et al. Aerobic fitness and leisure physical activity as moderators of the stress-illness relation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 1999;21(3):251-57.
  11. Nieman DC, Henson DA, Austin MD, et al. Upper respiratory tract infection is reduced in physically fit and active adults. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2010:bjsports77875.
  12. Bühlmayer L, Birrer D, Röthlin P, et al. Effects of Mindfulness Practice on Performance-Relevant Parameters and Performance Outcomes in Sports: A Meta-Analytical Review. Sports Medicine 2017:1-13.
  13. Scott‐Hamilton J, Schutte NS, Brown RF. Effects of a mindfulness intervention on sports‐anxiety, pessimism, and flow in competitive cyclists. Applied Psychology: Health and Well‐Being 2016;8(1):85-103.