In this episode: Sleep, Eat, Move. I discuss the importance of getting enough sleep, eating healthy and moving more being critical aspects to improving your life and your poker game.
In episode 167, I answered 4 of your questions about improving skills, playing online, poker definitions and the PFR Stat.
Sleep, Eat, Move, Improve… Your Mind
All of this mindset talk is from a “working man’s perspective”. I’m not a professor nor a licensed therapist, I haven’t done a ton of research nor am I a mindset guru who’s taught this stuff for years. I just know what works for me and I’m telling you what I do and why I do it.
Get Enough Sleep (3:00)
Most of us are not getting enough sleep. We stay up late watching Netflix, playing poker, or building a Lego set. And then we barely wake up in time to take a shower, get dressed, slam down a bagel and some coffee before going to work.
We need to sleep 7 to 8 hours in order to perform our best. There are some people that claim they can function perfectly off of 4 hours of sleep a night. Maybe that’s true, and maybe you’re one of them. But I know I am not.
I definitely need at least 6 hours of sleep a night but preferably 7 to 8. When I get that much, my mind seems more clear, I’m able to work throughout the day, and I am much more productive.
4 Recommendations for more sleep
1. Schedule your sleep. I go to bed every night at 930, and I wake up around 5 AM. This gives me a scheduled 7 1/2 hours of sleep every night, and I always try to stick to it.
2. Make your bedroom to be asleep sanctuary. Don’t sleep with a nightlight and cover up all LEDs with some black electrical tape. Keep all electronic usage outside of the bedroom (computers, tablets and phones). It may even be a good idea to remove the television from your bedroom. If you treat your bedroom like the only thing it’s for is sleep, then when you go to bed at night you’re more likely to fall asleep.
3. Get shit done through the day. I’ll have more to say about getting shit done in a little bit, but for now, sleeping is more difficult when you have incomplete tasks weighing on your mind.
4. Keep a pad of paper and a pen next to your bed. If something is weighing on my mind, I write it down so I can take it off my mind and address it in the morning. I also write down any cool ideas or realizations or even dreams that I have. I’m writing my next book right now, and occasionally I’ll be stuck on something and not know how to proceed. While I’m sleeping my subconscious is working through the issue and the answer is there when I wake up.
Morning Ritual (6:10)
I do these 4 things right after waking every morning.
Hydrate. I wake up and go to the kitchen and I drink a full glass of water.
Meditate. After that glass of water, I sit down for 10 minutes of meditation. I’m using an app called Calm right now, and it’s great.
I’m really getting into the practice of meditation, and I just hit a record, 17-day streak for me. Meditation helps me to calm my mind, avoid distraction and focus my thoughts.
All day long I face distractions. When I allow myself to be distracted, I’m giving things of low priority undue attention. Like I said, I’m writing my next book right now. When I find myself distracted by Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or email, the mindfulness techniques that I learn with meditation help bring my focus back to writing the book.
Another aspect of this digital life that we’re in is the information overload we’re subjected to everyday. Our attention is getting pulled in a thousand ways by social media, television, email, movies, games and fun mindless distractions all day. Meditation helps me avoid information overload by keeping me focused on my priorities.
Apps like Calm and Headspace offer free trials and make it super easy to test out.
Motivate. Sometimes I don’t feel like working in the morning, and when that happens I try to motivate myself. I’ll go to YouTube and I’ll check out a few different channels:
- CT Fletcher Motivation: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBDWo0g9N8pL8c9QhE8Lxxw
- ET The Hip Hop Preacher: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1d28mrBqCQliL_N48tZZiw
- GaryVee: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCctXZhXmG-kf3tlIXgVZUlw
Watching these guys is total motivation, especially CT Fletcher. Everything he says about motivation and working hard can be applied to any other aspect of life as well.
Aspirate. Finally, I do some breathing exercises. I follow the Wim Hof method of breathing, and I do this for 3 sets. This technique increases the oxygen levels in your body and that’s supposed to help with reducing stress, increasing energy levels and helping the body heal.
- Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9zS94x2nd8
- Interview #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np0jGp6442A
- Interview #2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2NtdOKn630
Take Breaks (9:50)
Just as sleep helps to rejuvenate and heal our bodies to get us ready for the next day, taking breaks is another important rejuvenation technique. If you’re feeling like you need a break from poker and poker study, go ahead and take one. There’s nothing saying that you must study or play every day. Taking breaks helps to rejuvenate the mind and to rekindle excitement, inspiration and motivation for what you’re doing.
Eat Healthy (10:25)
I’m not going to tell you that this is the way you have to eat, this is just what works for me and what I really enjoy doing.
The very 1st thing when it comes to eating is you’ve got to eat sensibly and in moderation.
“Get strong in the gym, get lean in the kitchen.”
If you want to lose weight, or keep the pounds off, you need to eat less.
“No amount of exercise can make up for a bad diet.”
My style of eating is very simple: lots of protein, healthy fats and lots of fresh veggies. My favorite meals are just grilled meat of any type with a humongo pile of fresh vegetables either sautéed or grilled as well. I say fresh but frozen veggies are fine as well.
There are two things I try to stay away from: sugars and grains.
Sugar is a health killer. Some of the biggest culprits are sodas, candy and desserts. I only consume these on my cheat days. Sure, they give you a boost of energy, but if you’re eating enough veggies and healthy fats, then you don’t need the sugar. Drink a coffee instead. There are so many issues with sugar:
- They’re empty calories with no nutrients
- They turn to fat in your body
- It’s bad on your liver like beer and alcohol
- It raises cholesterol and can lead to heart disease
- High sugar consumption has been linked to high rates of cancer
- They’re addictive
I also avoid all grains. Breads, pastas, cereal, cake. They’re all bad for you. Most of the grains and flour available have been overly milled and processed, so most nutritional goodness has been removed. Most grains contain gluten as well, which is a protein that many people can’t digest properly. The high carbohydrate aspect of grains is also a problem, as this just turns to sugar and ultimately fat in our bodies. One important aspect to grains is that there is nothing there that can’t be obtained from other food sources.
Cutting sugars and grains from your diet
This can be tough because there are addictive aspects to both sugars and grains. What I recommend is to start cutting these out one meal at a time. When I made the decision to ditch these, I started with breakfast. No more potatoes or cereal or bagels for me. Now my breakfast is bacon and eggs or sausage and eggs. Sometimes I’ll make a vegetable omelet, or I might skip breakfast entirely and just have my coconut oil and butter coffee. Eventually I cut them out of lunch and then dinner as well. I do have rice maybe once per week and a sweet potato once per week as well. But, really, my sugar, grain and starch intake is limited to my Saturday cheat days, and even then in moderation.
Cook more, eat out less
Another thing I recommend is to cook more and eat out less. Cooking more means more grocery shopping, so when you do, try to shop only the outside aisles. All the processed and packaged foods, all the things that contain a ton of grain and sugar, they’re in the center aisles. Stay away from them.
For your shopping list, here’s are 11 brain super foods that I learned about from Jim Kwik.
- Coconut oil
- Green leafy veggies
- Dark chocolate
These are great in your meals and as small, in-between meal snacks.
Move Your Body (16:15)
Exercise is critical to a healthy body and a healthy mind. The human race was never meant to be as sedentary as we are. If you think about it, for millions of years we evolved doing work in fields, hunting animals, repairing our homes and building our own furniture and fighting with neighboring tribes. None of that involves sitting on our asses like we do today. That can be sitting at a computer, watching television, driving your car or commuting on the train.
We’ve got to get more active and move more. The simplest way to do this is to start a daily form of exercise. If you’re doing nothing now, even as little as 5 or 10 minutes per day is going to benefit you. You need to try out various forms of exercise, see what works for you and what you enjoy doing, and do more of it.
I used to use a standing desk and I really liked it. Standing broke up the monotony of sitting at a desk all day. I haven’t done it for a while, but I’m going to get an adjustable desk pretty soon so I can get back to it. Also, Tim Ferris and others use a treadmill desk. Now that is getting active while working.
Improve Your Mind (17:45)
It’s natural to have expectations, but problems arise when we form an attachment to an expectation.
Here’s a great example I heard once:
- Let’s say you have a 1-hour trip ahead of you, but due to some unforeseen circumstance, the trip takes 2 hours. That’s twice as long as expected and will piss lots of people off.
- But, what if you had 3-hour trip that was reduced to 2 hours due to some unforeseen favorable circumstance? Well, you’d be hella happy about that.
- The end result between these situations are the same: you had a 2-hour trip. But, in one instance you’re riding high, and the other you’re down in the dumps.
That’s the thing with expectations: when met, you’re happy. When not met, you get frustrated or angry or tilty or chip spewy. What you need to do, and it’s easier said than done, is not be attached to your expectations.
How many times have you been dealt AA and you look at them and you start salivating and say to yourself, “Man, am I going to make some money now!” That’s the wrong attitude to have. We should look down at AA and say to ourselves, “This is a good opportunity to win some money, let’s figure out the best way to play this hand.”
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” – Alexander Pope
Poker players talk about luck all the time, but luck is all in your perception of what happens. You can get lucky to catch your 2-outer to beat your opponent on the river, or you could get unlucky when your opponent catches his 2-outer on the river. Here’s the thing about luck, it’s out of your control and you never know what will come from any so-called lucky or unlucky event.
Here’s a great Chinese proverb about luck:
Good Luck Bad Luck!
There was a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Later that week, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?
Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may really be an evil. Leave it to the future to determine what is good fortune or what is misfortune.
I love that proverb. Who knows if it’s good or bad luck. Something happened, and it’s up to you to react to it positively or negatively.
66-day Challenges (21:25)
I love doing 66-day Challenges. I’ve completed two so far. I used to do 30-day challenges, but they just weren’t challenging enough. It takes 66 days on average to form a habit, so if it’s a habit worth forming, it’s best to tackle it over 66 days.
If you want to see my most recent 66-day challenge, you can go to YouTube and see my 66 Days of Hand Reading videos. My next 66-day challenge is going to be to stream my poker play on Twitch for 66 days in a row. That’s gonna be a tough one because currently I don’t play every single day, maybe 4-5 days per week. I’ll be attempting this challenge sometime in the new year.
Here’s my challenge to you for this episode: This week focus on one of the 4 points I mentioned today: 1) Get enough sleep, 2) Eat healthy, 3) Move your body or 4) Improve your mind. Take one of the practices I mentioned in regards to your chosen point, and get active with it. You’re only going to make positive changes to your life if you target something and commit to doing. Improve that one aspect, then move on to another, then another and so on. Improving your life in some way will improve your poker game as well.
Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.
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In episode 169, I’ll hit you with class #5 in this 10th MED when I discuss making SMARTER goals and achieving them by developing some great habits.
Until next time, study smart, play much and make your next session the best one yet.