I attended a 3 day conference in my early days learning about personal development, motivation, and training. The one speaker taught and led the room of 200 people all the way through the day and night, from 10am till 2am, and was still full of energy at the end of the day. I used to wonder how they do it.
I saw a trainer once who was giving a talk on health and well being. But he was so unfit, he could hardly walk. He had to catch his breath every few minutes. I worried about his health and him getting through the session. And I didn’t find it easy to take his advice.
I also saw one trainer who had to sit in a chair, because standing for too long exhausted her. Smoking a pack a day of cigarettes for over 20 years had made breathing difficult, and her lungs found it hard to talk so much. But still every hour she went outside, for one more.
You can’t train effectively if you are in bad health.
We have a profession that demands you stand on your feet for hours at a time, bending over, demonstrating, using equipment and more. Sometimes we are outside, in the sand, or the mud. Other times lifting and carrying and throwing and digging. It’s a physical job!
Being in good health is key.
Good trainers will work ‘through’ a cold or flu, but that doesn’t mean they plan it that way.
The legends of the speaking, acting and training industry work hard on their health.
Because they know that it is their body that carries their voice.
And even though it’s hard work, if you’re fit and healthy, you can make it look easy.
Because the body carries the voice, and leads it based on energy, vitality, and general well-being, it’s important to watch a few things very carefully in relation to your health.
Let’s consider them, and see what you’re doing already that is helping you to train longer and stronger.
Water. Bodies dehydrate at a rapid rate.
For many years we’ve been hearing about the importance of drinking 8 cups of water a day, or about 2 liters or half a gallon.
At my sons school they introduced a ‘hydration’ policy, because the research is now so strong into the effects of drinking fluids to keep the power of focus and good study habits at their peak. You can’t go outside without a bottle of water. You can have it at your desk all day. And you take it with you when you go to play a sport.
Students pay attention better, learn more, retain more, enjoy school more, play sport better – the list goes on.
So it follows that not only the trainer – but the students also – should be kept well-watered (hydrated) while you’re training. Especially if you are challenging them to think or making them work on projects, or in groups.
The brain is the largest organ in the body. Thinking is hard work, and the water usage of the brain is significant.
Energy and blood flows from other organs to the brain when you are solving problems, delivering speeches, or working on projects or challenges.
When your cells are active and moving, like when you exercise any muscle, there is a heating up of that area. Most of our cells are made of water, and so when you heat up water, it evaporates.
The energy required to make muscles work, in your voice, your legs, your arms, consumes vital water in the breakdown of sugars to Adenoside TriPhosphate in a thing called the Krebs cycle.
OK, enough chemistry.
Think of your body like a kettle. Exercise is turning the kettle on. Talking for an hour is like boiling a kettle for an hour.
You need to put more water in if you still want to make a cup of tea. If you don’t… you run dry.
You ‘burn…out.’ Does that make sense?
It’s the same for your audience. They will be listening, thinking, being challenged, and learning something new.
Those new connections in the brain lead to new nerve connections and new ways of thinking. All of this takes energy, fueled by water.
Let me give you another example. You’re there in the gym, pumping iron.
You get cramps in your muscles from the lactic acid that builds up and makes them feel like lead.
The muscle is dehydrating and instead filling up with lactic acid.
If you don’t flush the system, replacing the fluids that have been consumed to work the muscle and create the acid buildup, you will end up with muscles that cramp and no longer function.
Keep hydrated, train the muscle well, and it’ll get stronger and stronger.
It’s been said the brain is also a muscle. So we can treat it the same.
What about your mouth?
Talking stimulates saliva in your mouth, where it lubricates your vocal cords and throat, but at the same time… because your mouth is open, a lot evaporates.
Like when a dog is panting to cool itself down.
So when you’re panting on stage, it’s important to keep replacing the water or else you’ll end up with… no voice!
I find that I can’t eat a lot before I speak. If I do, then I violate one of the metabolic rules of my body.
Energy flows to where the most work is happening.
Digestion is one of the major energy consumers in the body when there is food in your stomach, and intestines.
Digestion draws blood and sugars from the other vital organs and muscles to the stomach and small intestines, to mechanically pulverize your food. The pancreas injects a few enzymes and then sends it into the vast corridors of the intestines, to extract the nutrition from your food.
If your body is spending all it’s energy having a party with your 3 course meal, it has less available to help you walk and talk.
That means less for you to use for your dynamic presentation.
Eat a heavy meal, it’ll be hard to speak for at least an hour afterwards. And almost impossible to be energetic and enthusiastic, with any sort of physical activity.
So what do you do about food before you speak? Here’s a few ideas
Eat nothing solid at all… stick just to smoothies, juices and
Eat light foods – salads, minimal fats or starchy carbohydrates. Have meat in small portion. You can always eat that steak tonight, or have Fish and Chips.
Keep your snacks during a speech to instant energy foods, like dark chocolate or
You might also like to use protein-rich energy bars during
If you’re a coffee person, beware long training sessions. Coffee is a diuretic which means it tries to get more water to leave your Try to match 2 glasses of water to every one coffee to stay hydrated
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