It’s hard to create an “on” day. For those that have played sports, you know that an “on” day is just not like any other day. Say what you will about statistics. But. The feeling doesn’t lie and even a non-athlete knows what it is like to be in the zone. While “checking in” and focusing on a daily basis does yield results, being “on” is something that only happens a few times a quarter or so (generally you have more “on” days when you’re younger due to higher energy levels). So. We’re going to take a stab at a long step by step process to try and create an “on” day. Our process is tuned for people who are already in good physical shape… time to jump in!
Two Days Before: Trying to create an “on” day typically starts two days before. While this is likely obvious we will point it out here: no alcohol/drug use. If you drink alcohol or use party substances you have to wait a full week before trying this out. Even though it is two days before, when you go out hard or alter your sleeping patterns… it takes at least a week to recover. So we’d say it is possible to have an on day if you haven’t gone out to drink in about a week and try this.
During the day you won’t need to change much, try to eat healthy and have a normal daily gym routine. At the gym and for your exercise, focus on something lighter such as arms/abs/light cardio. This way you can push hard on arms/abs but you really won’t be all that tired the next day. Try to drink a slighter higher than normal amount of water and keep caffeine intake equal to your daily dosage (no more no less). Other than that, you should be good to go for the day.
Now we move to the most important step in day two: nighttime. To create an on day you want to wake up at exactly the same time. So if you’re going to wake up at 7am you want to be asleep (that means already knocked out) by 11pm or a tad earlier. Generally speaking, it takes about 7 minutes to fall asleep so you’ll want to be in bed by 10:50pm using this example. In addition, you want to prepare for sleep by reading and consuming a small amount of melatonin which could be obtained through milk or by a 1/2 dose of melatonin from any over the counter pharmacy. This is done to make sure you are out cold at 11pm at the latest. The dosage is also small so it won’t impact your tolerance levels in the future.
The Day Before: Now it’s time to take every single measure possible to create an “on” day tomorrow. As usual there are no guarantees that this will work for someone else but it’s essentially a formula that has worked numerous times in the past.
Morning: To re-emphasize, the exact time you wake up isn’t relevant, you just want to be consistent. If you normally wake up at 6 you would go to sleep at 10 and if you were going to wake up at 8 you’d be asleep by midnight. The goal is to keep your rhythm in tact. Continuing with our 7am example, you’ll wake up right at that time. Sure it will likely feel like a normal day where you feel “okay” and that’s the point.
As soon as you wake up we would do two things: 1) squeeze a whole lemon into 16 ounces of cold water – drink it and 2) jump into the shower. Drinking some lemon in the morning has become popular… because it works. You can also use Apple juice + lemons (100% made at home, not apple juice from the store) to get an extra boost in the morning. Apple cider vinegar has also become popular but it hasn’t worked as well as natural apple and lemon juice in the morning (notice consistent theme of being fresh).
At this point we would recommend doing a few sit-ups and push-ups *after* taking a shower. No, you’re not going to get sweaty from a few pushups and sit-ups, the whole goal is to create some basic blood flow after your muscles have been warmed up by the shower.
With your blood flow working, a standard morning routine is fine. Go with berries & nuts for breakfast (no cereal or breads like the masses) and get ready to start your day. As a quick note, we would *avoid* espresso and coffee in general. Instead if you’re a coffee person we would replace this with green tea. This is an important stopping point since we’ve noticed that coffee is “harder” on the body. Probably because it has more caffeine content, is generally “dirtier” when compared to tea leaves and it could be overly concentrated if you grab a coffee from a store (sitting in a pot for a few hours). While coffee is fine as a daily drink, we would replace the content you normally get with green tea. Quick math is that you need about 12-16 ounces of green tea for 8oz of coffee (depending on strength of the tea).
Work Activities: We will assume that you start work right after the morning routine and in this case you’re going to do about 75% the amount of work you normally do. You’ll conserve around 25% extra energy for your workout that will occur later in the day.
The next thing we assume is that you work at a desk. If that’s the case “sitting is the new smoking”. Which means you want to break up this sitting nonsense a bit more today. Since you’ll work a tad less, spend extra time stretching and drinking more water. Putting some numbers around this, every hour on the hour try to get up and move around stretching for 5 minutes or so and try to drink an extra 2 glasses of water (more than usual).
Noon: Around this time (doesn’t have to be perfect) you want to go outside and get additional sunlight. Most people who work at a desk all day suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Even if you’re already rich, chances are you still work inside for most of your work activities. Either way, you’ll go out to catch a few extra sun rays. To attempt to put numbers around this as well, we’d say around 15-20 minutes extra. The key is doing this during the day when the sunlight is stronger (hence the mid-day break). To close this out, a good way to get the extra sunlight is to do a brisk walk outside, there is no need to do extreme cardio today.
Lunch: Since one of the goals is to go to sleep “lighter” you want to eat a heavier lunch. This is a little bit harder to gauge since the reader could be 5’6” or 6’6”, we don’t have a clue. What we can recommend is the type of food though. Here we would go with a quinoa salad with vegetables and either chicken or pork (steak is a bit too heavy). Pretty specific there but the point is to consume something vegetable heavy with some light carbs (quinoa, brown rice etc) and a good chunk of protein. This should be a bit larger than what you normally eat for lunch but not overkill.
In terms of drinks we’re sticking with the same three: 1) water, 2) green tea and 3) fresh vegetable juice. As a note, we’ve found that doubling juice consumption is one of the keys to having an “on” next day. This is certainly dependent on your body so if you typically drink 12 ounces today it would be 24 ounces (if 16oz then 32oz etc.). Lunch is typically a good time to get approximately half of this intake before going to the gym later in the day.
If you’re forced to work a little bit more than expected, feel free to combine lunch and the additional sunlight. The 15 minutes of extra walking around isn’t going to change much. We’re simply emphasizing that you want to be more relaxed. Working long hours and all night is not going to allow your body to recover in a meaningful way.
Finish Up Work: The timelines get a bit blurry here but you’ll simply finish up work. Don’t skip anything you *must* do since it’ll weigh on your mind as something you neglected. That said. Don’t go the extra mile today and try to close up the day a tad earlier. By the time you leave work/business should no longer be on your mind and you’ll shift your focus onto a workout.
Work Out: The items in Efficiency still apply but we’ll get more specific here. You’re going to a little bit less cardio to warm up and do more active stretching. Simply do your normal cardio routine minus 25% or so and spend a few extra minutes stretching and making sure you are loose. For the workout you’re going to do heavy weights at the *end* of the workout. Most of your exercises should be normal (sets of 8-10 or so). The trick is to end your workout with a heavy leg exercise (say squats or deadlifts).
Essentially, your workout will either be back/chest (we recommend back) with a strong set of either deadlifts of squats at the very end. Interestingly, you can either do 1) heavier weight or 2) you can do the weight until failure on your 2nd and third sets (typically 15+ reps in a row). We would recommend the second strategy (reps until failure) as it’s a bit safer when compared to ramping up heavier weights. You should be tired and have that *slight* wobbly feeling at the end of the 3rd set.
Stretching/Massage: With your workout complete you should feel a slight high from being more energetic than usual. There is no need to pay for a massage if you’re able to do solid stretches…. that said? Massages do much more work than basic stretching. We’d recommend around 45 minutes or so (an hour is overkill).
When you go for either the massage or stretching, just focus on the high tension areas in your body. We don’t know what those areas are for you. And. To help, we would say it’s typically where you are strongest. If you have strong legs it is usually your IT bands, if you have a strong bench, you probably have flexibility issues around your delts/shoulders. Generally, if you’re strong in one area, it overworks the “helper” muscles that don’t have the same genetic gifts. To wrap it up, most high end gyms have a massage person nearby so it shouldn’t be an issue, any major city typically has a massage place within 15 minutes.
If you decide to stretch yourself? Simply add a massage ball. This can be the strange ones that look like they have spikes or they could be as basic as a golf ball/tennis ball. After doing your major stretching you’ll shift gears to mirror a massage experience. Focus additional pressure on the tense areas (as mentioned above). You’ll be good to go when you physically notice an improvement in your flexibility (larger range of motion)
Time to Stay Loose: At this point you should already feel pretty good. This is because your body is tired but loose so blood flow is usually high. Around this time we would typically finish up the juice consumption (should be nearby the gym anyway) and toss in a shot of ginger with cayenne (if you like this type of drink). You don’t need to do anything special as you go home, just try to keep your body open and loose. As an example getting a massage but then going onto a crowded train and curling up into a fetal position essentially defeats the purpose.
Dinner: At this point your consumption of blue lights should end. No more cell phones and no more computer screens/television. The only exception will be music… if you need to turn it on for meditation later in the night.
For dinner you’re going to go with the normal healthy options. Fish, vegetables, fruit and maybe some nuts as well. The difference is you’ll try to eat a little bit slower so you end up consuming a little less than you normally do. If you’re concerned about the protein intake and recovery you can toss in a small low calorie protein shake or toss in the extra protein “boost” when you had your juice after the massage/workout.
For what it is worth we’ve found that berries and cucumbers are the best items to eat if you’re looking to feel a bit fuller (earlier) without the heaviness on your stomach. You definitely don’t want to go and eat a greasy hamburger since it’ll make you feel way to heavy when you’re heading to bed soon.
Meditation/Relax: We’re at the home stretch now. You’re going to simply meditate. For those that have never done this before all it means is to “rest all thoughts” which is harder than you’d expect! If you can get this part down you end up falling asleep naturally. We’ll assume that isn’t the case and help map it out.
Since we’re using a 7am wake up time, you want to be sound asleep at around 10:15am. You don’t want to over do it and sleep for 12 hours, so you should meditate at around 9:30pm or so. 30 minutes of mediation followed by going to sleep should allow you to catch the extra 45 minutes of rest without incurring the downside of accidentally sleeping for 12 hours. Definitely set an alarm, that said, if you’ve done this right you should wake up naturally at or just before the buzzer goes off. For those that have already made it and don’t set an alarm in general, just try to add the extra 45 minutes of rest.
Wake Up: Congrats (we hope!). At this point you should feel like you’re operating in a different playing field, feeling 110%. This should last the entire day and if you feel yourself slipping feel free drink higher intensity caffeine (coffee, espresso, Yerba mate etc.). The only cautionary item is to drink these items after around 1pm, if you drink it early you could have a crash during the day. Besides, if it worked, you’ll feel great 5-10 minutes after you wake up and will likely skip the caffeine anyway.
Items to Avoid: With the step by step out of the way we’ll do a quick list of the things to avoid. Some of this should be obvious but we’ll do it anyway: 1) no alcohol/drugs, 2) no flights during the 2-3 day period, 3) do not attempt this routine if you’ve been doing nothing for a week, your body is already rested, 4) this typically won’t work during emotional turmoil – death in family, recent trip to hospital or other extreme events and 5) also won’t work if still suffering from jet lag. While these are probably obvious we’ll now highlight the less obvious ones as well: 1) minimal carbs – no pasta/bread, 2) no fake ingredients such as sugar free soda and fabricated butter, 3) avoid heavy foods like flank steak, burgers, pastries and high content caffeine, 4) avoid extremely hot temperatures, for what it is worth anything above 90 degrees is probably overkill. For some reason cold weather is fine. and 5) avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Try to keep your feet elevated while sitting and walk around for extremely short periods of time (3-5 minutes).
Getting the Most Out of the Day: This is going to vary for each person but our best guess is that you want to use the energy for work and knowledge. This means 1) earning money and 2) reading. Focus all of your energy on item number one and when you lose focus you can switch to reading. While this is our guess, you can also use the higher amount of energy for social purposss or physical gains (breaking through a plateau). When you feel 110% you’re going to naturally focus your energy on the task most important to you (so we hope!) and maximize the additional focus and intensity. As a note, you’ll usually feel on for at least 12 hours so you’ll have a ton of time to get extra work done. If you want to ratchet it up even more just limit your cell phone use to about an hour to focus more on work.
How Many Times Can You Do This: The boring answer is “it depends” but we’ll go ahead and throw a basic range out there. You can definitely do this at least once a quarter (every 3 months) and once a month is generally the maximum. If you’re younger the numbers are higher and if you’re older the numbers are lower. This makes logical sense as energy levels level off as we get older and no amount of hormone replacement therapy or other such protocols will make it exactly like being 20 years old (if all those therapies offset everything, athletes would never retire!). Don’t get it twisted though, hormone therapy works we’re simply adding the note that it won’t turn back Father Time… nothing currently does.
Manic Episodes vs Focus: One of the main differences between being “on” and having a manic episode is control. Generally, manic episodes as defined by those with legitimate personality disorders lack focus and control. This is how we would draw the line between a manic episode and being “on” or “in the zone”. A manic episode for people with personality disorders are usually triggered by alcohol/drug use. They are overly excited and typically lose a bit of control. It really isn’t possible to get wasted and write an advertisment at the same time (or play a sport at a high level). This is why we used sports to help define being “on” since it is a different level of focus and flow.
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