Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.
Last May I was fortunate enough to attend the inaugural Women’s Peak Performance Summit in Abu Dhabi. I was super excited to have a conference like this here in Abu Dhabi. This year it is back and you may be thinking about going. The Women’s Peak Performance Summit features a guest speaker for 7 Peak areas of Performance: Physical, Mental, Career, Environmental, Finance, Emotional, and Social. I think that about covers every area of our life. For me it is a opportunity to learn and grow whilst networking with some of the strongest and smartest women in the UAE.
One talk from last year that stood out – because it was the first and really set the positive tone for the event – was from Jules Lewis. Who is Jules Lewis? She is one of the founders of the summit, founder of Mountain High (an expedition company designed to test your personal limits) and now an author of newly published Moving Mountains: Discover the Mountain in You. She discussed the Keys to Physical Peak Performance.
Reaching Your Peak: The Keys to Physical Peak Performance
First you need to Set Your Intention. You need to have an awareness of what you want. Clear the mental obesity (love that term – referring to a busy mind), disassociate from the negative thoughts and reprogram yourself. Reprogram is just another way to say change your habits. I think the term reprogram sounds a bit clinical – but that could just be me. For me it means to start looking at things differently. You work your mind and train it to think differently.
The keys to physical peak performance:
- Mental: Think Positive. Focus on what you do want, meditate to connect with your inner voice, keep growing and evolving.
- Eat: This was simple. As Jules put it “Cut the CRAP.” CRAP an acronym for Carbonated Drinks, Refined Sugar, Alcohol, Processed Food.
- Move: Be physical. Get up everyday, move around, stretch out your body and be flexible.
- Sleep: Get your 6-8 hours sleep, switch off 1 hour before bed, set bedtime rituals.
So when I left the conference, whilst I felt motivated and energised – I went back to living my life. I did take on these things on board but didn’t actively act upon them in the sense of “Jules Lewis says this is how I need to reach my peak physical performance, so this is what I am going to do.” A year later as I reflect on my notes from last year’s summit I can’t help but wonder if Jules Lewis made me a stronger person. I’ll explain. I am going to share with you how I implemented these keys into my life and the results that I have gotten.
I have experienced a shift in my life this past year. Sure each year we grow and change. Maybe I am more aware of it. There are lots of factors at play. Getting older, being a mom, being a wife – the list can go on and on. There are so many different areas but I’ll just focus on the Physical Peak. I can honestly say that I feel I am the strongest I have ever been Physically. Even stronger than when I was in my 20’s.
When I was younger, I just thought of strength in terms of what I could do specifically. For example, if I was going to run a 10 miler race, I just trained for a 10 miler (as you do) with running. Putting little thought into what I was eating, thinking or other exercises that could aid my training. My goal was to have my physical strength get me over the finish line – whether that took 2 hours or 4 hours. My goal was just to finish. That was then. I have a much stronger appreciation for my health which causes me to look at training differently now. All of the keys that Jules discussed are really what make up reaching your physical peak.
I aim to think positively, however, it’s not easy. Sure I get negative thoughts. I often remind myself thoughts become things so I try to mentally stay positive. I have come to focus on the things that I DO want to happen rather than what hasn’t happened. It’s a learning process (reprogramming process) to shift thoughts but with practice it does become easier. Meditating. Meditating clears the mind. A part of ourselves that often gets overlooked. When you are tested to your physical peak, and your body wants to give up, it is your mind that gets you over the finish line. Any time I do a challenge now, I mentally prepare. I went Mental for RAK Half Marathon and am a firm believer. This is just as important as the physical training aspect of it.
Cut the CRAP. Sure, we know this. Right? We are women who have been on diets forever trying to lose weight whatever our reasons are. You don’t have to have a degree in Nutrition to know this is not good for your body.
- Carbonated Drinks
- Refined Sugar
- Process Food
This past January I did a fitness program where I committed to a eating plan that did this. It was tough – mentally and physically. But you know what? I saw the biggest changes in my body than I have ever seen. I can remember finally seeing some sort of muscle on the side of my abs and feeling so elated. What is that? Could that possibly be abs coming through? One morning I mentioned to my husband I wasn’t going to have the sort of abs I wanted by the end of the program. My husband looked at me and said, “Just keep it going.” It seemed so simple. The penny dropped. I was putting a time limit on my sugar detox. I was seeing results I never thought possible WHICH showed me that I COULD actually achieve what I referred to as my pipe dream goal of having awesome abs, BUT if I want to have those results it will take a continued effort. I’d have to cut the CRAP. It’s a way of living, not a one month or even 6 month fix.
I have never been one to miss out on my sleep, however, I have made it more of a priority. In the past I would stay up late just puttering but when I do that now I am baggage in the morning. What use is that to me or my family? Yes. Could be to do with age but if I don’t get my sleep, the next day is not good. I hate waking up groggy, I am not productive and my patience threshold is shot – which is not good with small kids around. I am an early riser, so I really enjoy waking up in the morning and being ready for the day – instead of running around trying to catch up. I definitely make sleep a priority.
This year I have been really physical. Testing the limits of my abilities. I am much more aware of the value of my time, so when I work out, I want to make the most of it. If I do a race, I want to do the best that I possibly can do. I used to be a fun runner, just happy to turn up but now my approach is much more competitive (with myself). Putting everything together – Setting my intention with the 4 keys: Think, Eat, Move, Sleep I have had my most successful physical year. I ran my fastest half marathon, 10k and 5k. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the Under Armour Challenge obstacle course which I didn’t particularly train for. That showed me was that I was keeping myself physically strong enough not to be too intimated by such a challenge. That is a great feeling to have. I am not anyone special, I am not breaking world records but I am setting my own personal records – which is something that is measurable to me. This is not a one time thing. I want to keep going to get in the best physical shape possible.
So did Jules Lewis make me a stronger person? When you hear a talk from someone, like Jules, a successful businesswomen, author, and adventurer giving you advice that is so simple you have to listen. It is not rocket science. Anyone can do this. Look at the Keys again. YOU can do that. I definitely have come to the realisation that all the factors go hand in hand. The mental seeds were planted last year in May. I may have already had an awareness that this is what needed to happen but until I experienced it, I know it to be true. That makes all the difference.
When I reflect on the entire summit, read through my notes from all the speakers, there is a common theme of finding your own personal strength. I think of the other areas of my life where I have made changes. There will always be room for improvement but I am living a more positive life than I previously was. The strive to reach peak performance is a constant because we should be constantly learning and growing. This is a lifelong journey. We all have greatness in us. It’s a very exciting journey to be on.
I look forward to this year’s summit. Don’t miss out on your chance to grow. Reach YOUR Peak. It is happening on Saturday May 28th at Eastern Mangroves Hotel in Abu Dhabi. I will be there, so let’s connect. The wonderful women at WPPS have been kind enough to offer any of my readers at 20% discount on tickets. All the information is below.
For more details visit www.womanspeakperformancesummit.