Hello there, this is Mark.
I have worked out and kept relatively fit most of my life and was recently asked what music I listen to when I am training, and when I’m working from home.
It prompted this small blog post with my view on listening to music when exercising or working, plus 2 other suggestions for optimizing your productivity, focus, and time.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
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Lose the headphones for better focus.
Listening to music through headphones can be the quickest way to distract your attention.
I’m sure we’ve all typed a message or email to someone at some time and found the last word we typed was not the one we wanted – but rather the last word the singer just sung!
“Focusing all your attention on what’s coming out of your headphones gives no room for the mind to wander.
Over time, this lack of headspace hinders memory and problem-solving” says sports psychologist Victor Thompson.
Tests done on motorists listening to music while driving found those subjected to soaring rock and heavy metal music gradually began to drive more aggressively and erratically.
Those however listening to classical and jazz music drove defensively, cautiously, and safely.
Enjoy running? Let nature be your soundtrack…
Personally, I often work in silence – only accompanied by the whirring of the cooling fans inside my desktop computer – which has grown over the years to be my favorite noise to work to.
The constant drone of the fan’s tiny motors provides a soundtrack to keep my monkey mind occupied into the late hours.
If I do have music on, I’ll ensure it is minimalist with no lyrics.
Instrumental guitar, Acid Jazz, or something uplifting without too much going on with the rhythm to disturb my concentration.
I highly recommend you check out the YouTube channel ‘Strive with Me’.
This channel, and those like it, feature a single person studying on camera with gentle background music – designed to keep you company while you also work.
There are a lot of these ‘study buddy’ videos done by different people.
In many cases, you also get to hear all the ambient noises made by your online buddy, including them turning book pages, tapping the keyboard, or sipping their coffee…
Sounds weird I know, but give it a try and I think you’ll be hooked – especially if you’ve recently found yourself working from home and are finding it hard to concentrate alone.
“But what about in the gym?”
In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s classic 70’s movie ‘Pumping Iron’, big Arnie explained he always shut out noise and put all his focus on how the muscle he was working felt as he lifted.
He explained during his chest training that he imagined his pecs inflating and filling the room.
That’s all he would focus on.
As 7 times Mr. Olympia, his tactics are not to be scoffed at. There’s also a lot to be said for enhancing results through the mind-muscle connection.
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation discovered in test subjects, that simply imagining flexing your arms while tensing the muscles, 5 times a week, increased actual strength by up to 13.5%!
Infamous British serial killer Charles Bronson was said to have built himself an incredible physique while in solitary confinement.
He was not allowed weights to train with so would tense his muscles and just imagine himself lifting heavy weights.
He’d keep his muscles taught and contract them through the full range of motion, causing them to tear and grow thicker.
Try doing 10 bicep curls now with nothing but a pencil in each hand, yet imagine those pencils weigh a ton.
Keep your mind focused solely on the bicep and tense hard as you curl your arms as if it really was a heavy weight.
You have to do it slowly though. Take 30 seconds to do one full rep and see how long you last!
This exercise alone is like meditation and can strengthen neural pathways enhancing focus and concentration levels.
Try working, training, or studying in silence.
While at first it may seem uncomfortable, or that the boredom causes the mind to wander, after around the 10 – 15-minute mark you should find yourself deeply engrossed in what you’re doing.
Get your temperature set for success.
Room temperature can play a huge role in how our brains function – and more importantly – how easy it is to focus.
Dunn and Dunn of Learning Styles conducted controlled tests on 52 students under three different room temps: 72, 80, and 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
In all tests conducted, the students scored higher marks during the tests in the room set to 72 degrees Fahrenheit – the other two temperatures distracting students thought processes as the body tried to adjust to being either too cold or too warm.
So if you dream of launching your own business and running it from your laptop on the beach – you’ll likely fail due to the heat alone!
If your room is too cold your productivity is going to suffer
Take the secret ‘God ingredient” to fuel mental and physical power output (Via increased ATP energy).
I know what you’re thinking… “Mark! There is an amazing ingredient you haven’t told us about?! And why isn’t it in Nitrovit?!”
Well, yes there is a secret ingredient (commonly referred to as the ‘God ingredient’) that I take daily, but we have had to leave out of Nitrovit…
That ingredient is called Creatine and is usually found on the shelves of bodybuilding shops and health stores.
So why isn’t Creatine in Nitrovit? Well, it takes about 3 – 5 grams a day of this marvellous substance to reap the benefits and that would require another 8 – 10 capsules per day on top of the 3 Nitrovit caps you should already be taking.
While we are looking to stock our own Creatine soon, you’ll need to go to your local health store to pick this up for the moment.
What can Creatine do for the brain though?
Creatine has long been known to be a muscle building tool in much the same way protein is, and has plenty of robust research to back up the claims.
But Creatine also provides benefits to the brain…
You see, the body and brain share one very powerful energy source; Adenosine Triphosphate – or ATP – and as the day progresses, we deplete this vital power source.
A fat sugary Coffee has long been known to provide ‘fake energy’ with little true benefits.
While caffeine does a good job of temporarily increasing blood flow and dopamine – a hormone that plays a major role in focus and memory tasks – no amount of caffeine will ever provide the ATP ‘currency’ the brain needs to function optimally.
Creatine on the other hand is very different. Neuroscientists at the University of Chichester in the UK discovered Creatine made ATP resynthesis more efficient.
On top of that, it slowed dopamine depletion.
One 3 – 5g scoop in the morning with your 3 Nitrovit capsules can provide a full day of unbroken focus and learning – with better retention on those learned topics.
Forget ‘one day’… Make this day one.
So with no headphones and a solid focus on either your work or your workout, the room temp set to comfortable, and a healthy dose of Creatine to accompany your daily Nitrovit, Nitroamp, and Nitrodrive regimen, you can expect vast improvements to your performance.
Give at least one of the above tips a shot for 7 days and mindfully assess your output each day.
Let me know in the comments below how it goes.
Also, what do you do to get the most from your day that we may not have thought of?
I’d love to hear your ideas and will get a gift code or two out to the people who leave the best suggestions.
(Make sure to include your email address so I can reach you).