Leak 4: Ignoring Your Physical Health | Podcast #191

I discuss the leak of ignoring your physical health and what you can do to get on a healthy track.

In episode 190, I answered 3 questions about improving your 3bet game, defending against 3bets and late stage MTT strategies.

Why is Ignoring Your Physical Health a Leak? (4:10)

I believe that to mentally perform at your peak, you’ve got to be in good physical shape.

We all know a healthy body and healthy mind go hand-in-hand. But, why do so many of us not live it?

Why are there so many out of shape and unhealthy poker players? Are you one of these players? Do you spend time daily studying and playing, but never exercise, get terrible sleep, eat crap and drink sugar and stay indoors all day?

Human beings are made up of 2 things: body and mind. If both of these are working at their peak levels, then you are more likely to succeed in whatever you want to do.

For poker players, you want your mind nimble and spry enough so that you can play the player, think through a hand and make +EV decisions. You also want your body healthy enough so that you can endure long sessions at the tables or have energy after work to play and study with focus.

Eat Better (6:00)

There are two aspects to this: what you eat and what you leave on the supermarket shelf. What I’m about to discuss are generally good foods to eat. Don’t take this as gospel, though. Do your own research and figure out what’s best for you and your body. We’re all individuals, and what’s good for me may not be good for you. Just use your common sense and do a little digging on the internet or speak to a nutritionist for more help.

What to eat:

  • Proteins like eggs, steak, chicken with the skin, fish, bacon and sausage,
  • Dairy items like cheese, full-fat plain yogurt, cottage cheese and heavy whipping cream in your coffee.
  • Plenty of vegetables, but stay away from starchy ones like potatoes and carrots and stay away from corn as well.
  • Fats like butter, olive oil, avocados
  • Water, coffee and tea

What NOT to eat:

  • Anything with sugar or grains. Sugars and grains have the effect of making you feel hungrier, so you eat more. They also cause insulin and glucose spikes, and your body automatically converts these into fat stores for future energy needs. Sugar also causes internal inflammation, causing some of your daily aches and pains.
  • Anything with a label that says Low Fat or Low Calories or Diet. Fat is good for you and contains a lot of calories.  If they remove the fat, they’re replacing it with sugar or chemicals to trick your mind into consuming it.
  • Sodas and juices. Basically, stop drinking sugar and calories.

How to Eat Better

Throw out all the crap in your fridge and in your home that you shouldn’t be eating. If you live with others, it may be tough to do. But stick to your guns and clear an area of your fridge and give yourself one shelf to hold your healthy foods. If you have to eat different things from the rest of your family, so be it. Don’t try to change them. They’ll begin to eat healthier as you lead by example and start losing weight and getting in better shape.

Do most of your food shopping around the outside edges of your supermarket. The inner aisles are full of processed foods. Stay away.

It might be easy for some to make the necessary changes when it comes to meal time. But for others, especially if you eat with your family, it can be tough. I recommend making changes one meal period at a time. Start with breakfast. No more cereals or sugar and chemical-filled coffee creamers. No more bagels or donuts, either.  Eat sausage and eggs instead and put a little bit of heavy whipping cream and a tiny bit of sugar in your coffee if you must. After you do this for a few weeks and you learn that skipping the cereal, pancakes and donuts won’t kill you, make a change to your lunches. No more sandwiches, pizza, burgers or left-over spaghetti. Have meat and cheese rollups with left-over broccoli, lettuce-wrapped burgers or left-over grilled chicken instead. After a few weeks of this, change up your dinner items.

Valuable Resource: https://vinnietortorich.com/ This is where I learned about the NSNG lifestyle (no sugar, no grains). He’s got a great podcast and you can also hear his advice weekly on the Adam Carolla Show.

Move More (9:50)

The next thing you need to do is move more, and this is basically getting yourself on an exercise program.

There are many physical benefits that come with exercise:

  • If you exercise and stay active you have stronger bones, stronger joints and of course stronger muscles. These all help your quality of life as you get older.
  • With more muscle on your body, you’ll burn more calories to help you manage your weight better.
  • Good physical health also lowers your blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
  • Also, being physically fit reduces the risk of heart attack.

Poker’s a mind-game, so how does exercise help your mind?

  • Exercise creates new brain cells through a process called neurogenesis. These new cells help to improve brain performance.
  • Exercise develops a healthy body which improves your memory.
  • Being physically fit also prevents brain decline due to aging.  I’m 40 years old and I can use all the brain help I can get.
  • A healthy body also helps you get more stuff done. It fires up your brain and you are more inspired and more creative. You also have more energy, so that should translate to GSD.
  • And, exercise improves self-confidence, reduces stress and punches depression right in its ugly face.

When it comes to choosing your exercise activities, do what works for you. Whether it’s running, lifting weights, kettle bells, swimming or biking, it really doesn’t matter. As long as you love it, you’re more likely to do it on a daily basis.

Stretching is also a great practice. Before and after exercise for sure, but occasionally step back from your desk at work or stand up from your couch and stretch those hams, your quads, your chest, back and your shoulder muscles, and roll your head around to hit those kinks in your neck.

Also start incorporating as much movement into your day as you can. When I had an office gig, I would force myself once per hour to leave my desk and do something physical.

Also, turn your desk into a standing desk.

How to Move More

I know that starting a new exercise regimen can be tough, so let’s make it simple for you. I want you to commit to just 10 minutes per day. That’s all that I’ve committed to for the past year.

10 minutes is such a simple and easy to accomplish commitment. I’ve honestly put in at least 10 minutes per day for over a year now. This means that in the past 365 days, I’ve put in 3,650 hours, or 60 hours of exercise. This is over 1 hour per week at a minimum. What often happens is I end up exercising for between 15 to 30 minutes.

When you commit to small, easy-to-accomplish tasks like this, you’re more likely to get it done.

Also, try to fit more movement into your daily life. Like my examples of getting up from your desk every hour and doing something. I’m sure if you put some thought into it you can find active things to do at work instead of sitting in front of the computer typing on the keyboard and moving the mouse all day.

In the show notes you’ll find a video of a clip from Joe Rogan’s podcast. He’s talking to Firas Zahabi about exercise. Firas is discussing the importance of consistency over intensity in your training. It’s an enlightening video that I highly recommend you check out.

Valuable Resource:

In this clip, Joe Rogan is talking to Firas Zahabi about exercise. Firas is discussing the importance of consistency over intensity in your training.

There’s a saying I love that I heard a long time ago on a podcast that perfectly encapsulates eating better and moving more. Here it is:

“Get lean in the kitchen and get strong in the gym.”

Sleep More (16:40)

For the longest time, at least in America, it’s been a point of pride to say “I only sleep 4 or 5 hours a night.”  Sleep deprivation causes so many problems:

  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating – exactly what we don’t want as poker players
  • Weight gain – exactly what we don’t want when trying to eat healthy and lose weight
  • Poor memory – again, antithetical to the poker player
  • Mood swings – this may cause us to get angry and tilt more often
  • Risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

Most people function best on 8 hours of sleep per night.

How to Sleep More

The best way to get more sleep is to create a sleep schedule and commit to it. For me, I go to bed at 9:15 every night and wake up at 5:15 the next morning.

Also, cut out the cell phone, the tablet and the computer use one hour before going to bed. The “blue” lights from these devices trick your mind into thinking it’s daytime, making it harder to get to sleep. Also, try to darken your room by closing the shades or covering any little LED lights on your TV or satellite receiver.

And, while alcohol can make you sleepy, it’s detrimental to the quality of your sleep. Try to minimize alcohol intake and don’t drink coffee after 2 or 3 PM.

If there are things keeping you up late, like studying and playing poker or Netflix binging, you’ll have to figure out how to do the things you want and still get the sleep you need. I know you want to be the best poker player you can be and sleeping properly so your mind is functioning well should be a goal of yours.

Valuable Resource: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. He has a great podcast called The Model Health Show as well.

Get Some Sun (19:35)

The final part of this physical health improvement equation is getting some sun on a daily basis.  Humans evolved over millions of years by being outside all of the time.  We rose with the sun and went to bed with the moon.  We’ve gotten away from the sun as we spend all our time indoors or in our cars. Sun is good for your body and helps promote the production of Vitamin D, serotonin and endorphins. These are all great things for our bodies. Here are some benefits of sun exposure:

  • Improved mood: serotonin and endorphins help us to feel happier and decrease depression.
  • It also promotes the production of melatonin which helps us sleep better.
  • It lowers blood pressure and promotes stronger bones with all the vitamin D it causes our bodies to produce.
  • You look healthier with a bit of color in your skin.

All it takes is 10 to 20 minutes of direct sun exposure every day to see these benefits.

How to Get More Sun

Some of you might be thinking, “I work all day, I get home, have dinner with the kids, help them with their homework and by the time we’re done, the sun has set. There’s no time for sun.”

Well, I say to this, “Really? You can’t fit in 10 to 20 minutes?”

Let’s do the $10,000 Challenge: If I gave you $10,000 for completing the task of getting 20 minutes of sun every day for a month, could you find a way to do it? If the answer is yes, and I know that it is, then you can do it right now for free.

Here are some simple ideas:

  • Go for a walk on your lunch break. You got 30 minutes, scarf down your healthy lunch in 10 and use the remaining 20 to develop that Jack Lalanne face and arms.
  • Take your 10-minute smoke breaks out in the sun, not in the shade.
  • Before work at 7 AM, go on a 20 minute walk with your dogs in your tank top.
  • When you get home at 5:30 sit outside for 30 minutes with your kids as they work on their homework.
  • On the weekends, put in some gardening your yard work time.

Challenge (22:00)

Here’s my challenge to you for this episode:  Make a plan to get yourself into better physical shape, no matter where you’re at now. If you sleep only 6 hours, add two more hours for the next week and see how it affects you. Exercise twice per week at 30 minutes? Change this to 20 minutes per day and double your weekly output. Eating unhealthy foods? Make different food choices one meal period at a time, starting with breakfast. Skin as white as a golf ball? Get outside, sun those buns, and add color to your cheeks.

Now it’s your turn to take action and do something positive for your poker game.

Support the Show

Andreas Roeder bought PokerTracker 4 through my affiliate link and now he’s analyzing his game (and his opponent’s games) and is on his way to poker domination.  The only way to play online is with a solid poker tracking software, and PT4 is my #1 choice.

Two awesome poker peeps, Josh Ziolkowski and Mark Andrew purchased my PT4 Smart HUD this past week.  Along with the HUD (cash, MTT and SNG) they received access to some great video training on how to use the HUD and get more out of PT4.

Liu Sheng is hitting the books hard with my Expert Hand Reading Webinar (click for $5 off).  If you play with Liu, look out because soon enough you’ll be seeing lots more +EV decision making and “soul reading” coming from Liu’s play.

Sky Matsuhashi
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