Being in the Business of Brainpower…

Rocket Science

By Anne Laing & Tim Bean –

Back in the early days of the fitness industry we used to say “Staying in shape is simple – shut your mouth and move your legs. This isn’t rocket science.”

But hold on: this really is rocket science, as human beings are made up of incredibly complex systems, of which we are only just scratching the surface of understanding. We have systems in the body that need to be functioning optimally, as well as our mental and emotional well-being.

At ground level you have to know and apply the basics in order to prevent, what we call The Three Corporate Career Killers: ‘bail-out’, ‘burn-out’ or being ‘booted out’ from work – or even family.

The good news is that rocket science isn’t difficult for a rocket scientist. Flying a jumbo jet isn’t difficult for a jumbo jet pilot. And being a human being shouldn’t be difficult for a human being. You just have to learn how to do it and, when there is a genuine desire to take control of managing your body, it all becomes easier.

In the quest for a healthy body, one of the most overlooked areas is the brain. Studies suggest we start to lose our edge around the age of 40 when the brain shows signs of slowing. Many will experience some symptoms of mental deterioration, such as impaired concentration, short-term memory loss and difficulties learning new information.

The delicate balance of neurotransmitter production in the brain can be altered by hormone imbalances, chemical pollutants, medications or the choices we make regarding what we eat and drink.

Whenever you drink too much alcohol, or skip a nutrient-dense meal, or only ever eat starchy beige or white foods, you are not only depleting your body, but also starving your brain. It can take just a short time to see some of the effects: irritability, forgetfulness or food cravings. After many years this eventually leads to the formation of brain cell plaques and dementia.

A normal brain processes a thought at roughly one third of a second and the difference between a sharp functioning mind and senility is only a matter of milliseconds. Your brain speed is based on how quickly these electrical signals are processed. This rate is your real brain age, which can be quite different from your chronological age.

You can help safeguard against dementia, depression and other brain disorders.

How?

A healthy brain begins with a diet rich in high quality foods, low in processed grains and sugars, and your own on-going thirst for knowledge. Studies are now linking a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and brain shrinkage to those who eat a low-processed, high-plant and lean-protein diet.

This goes hand-in-hand with a suite of habits to help routine and planning. The power of eight is a good start.

8 coloured vegetables a day

8-inch plate

8 glasses of pure clean water

8 hours sleep a night, and

8,000 footsteps a day

Also:

– Avoid artificial sweeteners and MSG flavour enhancers found in many different food preparations that cause excito-toxicity within the brain.

– Add detoxifying greens such as Chlorella, Spirulina and green smoothies to detox heavy metals that affect the brain.

– Sleep. Get your 8 hours. Your brain builds up toxic waste during a busy working day. It needs restorative sleep to clean up and defrag.

– Take regular exercise. This produces greater blood flow to the brain and strengthens brain cell connections, protecting them from damage.

– Know your numbers. Keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and homocysteine in check. Balance waning hormones with bio-identical help from an anti-ageing specialist.

– Be social and connected, sure, but take time to disconnect and relax.

– Take up a hobby that challenges your brain.

– Never stop learning – go for mentally stimulating jobs that keep you challenged.

– Immerse yourself in another culture -new languages are a start. Russian, Arabic or Mandarin are the most difficult if you want to be really challenged.

– Get out of your comfort zone – challenge your business brain and seek out tough assignments. Take up public speaking!

– Manage stress – Seek out laughter and a yoga class…or the other way around (!)

What’s the link for business?

Like disease, stress manifests itself in a weakened body first and, regardless of the industry you are in, your business essentially runs on brainpower, so there’s tremendous value in protecting and preserving, what we call, your “Cerebral Capital”™. The mental capacity and function of key talent within your organisation is possibly the most valuable asset your business has.

You won’t find this on any balance sheet, yet the cost if something goes wrong – to the business, its customers and to families – is enormous. Incalculable even.

What is good for the body is always good for the brain!

There’s more information, discussion and strategic action points in our latest book “The Wealthy Body in Business” out now. Order your copy HERE

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A Pact with the Devil

 

 

Would it surprise you to know that the average person is on 14 different medications by the time they die?

What most people don’t know is that this process begins much earlier in life, and stress can play a major part in it.

In the traditional sense, stress is simply a physiological response to a perceived circumstance.

Now in situations where a physical action is appropriate, these responses are fantastic.  We become able to function at a far superior level that we would otherwise be capable.  But the modern dilemma is that we are now almost entirely sedentary.

Most of the stress we encounter today tends to be faced from an office chair – and the stress never seems to end.  There is no real resolution, and no realistic way of physically responding to the threat.

In the modern office it isn’t appropriate to leap across the desk and strangle a colleague or your boss, and running away simply isn’t an option either. In many cases (such as time pressure, decision-making or workload) it’s a threat we can’t even see.

Physically, inside, the very responses that were programmed into us since the dawn of time to ensure our survival in a crisis now become the greatest threat to our lives themselves.

  1. Heart rate and blood pressure increase putting strain on our heart, blood vessels and arteries, placing us a greater risk of a heart attack, aneurism or stroke.
  2. Digestion suffers as the body prioritises activity to the muscles and major organs.
  3. Additional sugars and fats dumped into the bloodstream to use as extra energy are re-cycled and deposited as dangerous trunk fat.
  4. The constant unresolved stress overloads the adrenal glands, thyroid and pancreas – further compounded with the addition of coffee, cigarettes or other stimulant drugs.

Without the natural responses available to us, we become completely wired, yet worn-out.  Exhilarated, yet exhausted.  Fired up, but fed up.  And we can be assured of one thing – it will kill us sooner rather than later.

Let’s face it; stress is already embedded in the city, and it’s a devils pact. You sell your soul to the corporation, and it rewards you very well and looks after you. But it expects you to do its bidding, and generate the money.

Your private life can at times be extremely difficult, but it often takes second place along with your health and family.  Sometimes we have to remind people, “You’re going to burn out – you won’t be in a job, but in a hospital if you continue like this.”

One of the reasons that burnout is so severe and traumatic when it arrives, is that few accept that it is coming. It’s our ‘alpha’ drive that keeps the wheels of business turning. What the markets won’t allow, and what you can never admit to, is breaking down, burning out or stressing out.  Failure at any level is inconceivable, unacceptable – and unforgiveable.

It seems the first rule of command at the top is NOT talking about the psychological meltdown that’s just around the corner, so you start the day with coffee to get going, use high sugar snacks to get you through the day and unwind with alcohol at night.  Alcohol starts as an anaesthetic against the pain of pressure, yet can quickly become a destructive force in its own right.

Younger and younger men and women are ignoring the needs of their body and suddenly find themselves flaming out, having depressive episodes, or worse, experiencing a stroke or heart attack too early in their working lives.

Most people don’t really know what else they could do without their jobs. It’s a vocation and a profession, of which social standing and self-worth are important elements. However it’s also a lifestyle that by its very nature encourages more stress.  The perpetual treadmill that keeps going faster, and faster and faster…

That being said, statistics do show consistently that top performers in business, who survive the rigors of command, share some common traits.  They ALWAYS take their holidays, and they always prioritise quality sleep and time out.  They never miss exercise, they feed their body high-performance foods to keep it healthy – and what’s more they don’t abdicate this responsibility to others.

It is a top-down issue as leadership behaviour influences everyone else in the organisation. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a personal option, but there is no doubt that the behaviours of senior management strongly influence the behaviour of employees.

And the key here is visible behaviour. What a manager says or writes has limited effect, but what he or she actually demonstrates through his or her behaviour is extremely powerful.

The great physicist, Albert Einstein, said, “Leading by example is not the main means of influencing another.  It is the only means.”

Companies now have to recognise the value of their cerebral capital. Their top people have to be looked after because it’s too costly when they break down.

Stress-Busting Strategies.

On the face of it there are some very obvious solutions.

  1. Prioritise 7-8 hours sleep – without a mobile phone in the room.
  2. Build stress-burning physical activities into your day – like weight training and climbing stairs.
  3. Get an Adrenal Stress Index Test, (ASI) to assess the body’s production of the major stress hormones, cortisol, and DHEA. This profile serves as a critical tool for uncovering biochemical imbalances that can underlie anxiety, chronic fatigue, obesity, diabetes and a host of other clinical conditions.
  4. Supplement with nutrients, such as vitamin C, magnesium and zinc, which can become depleted during ongoing stress – causing a hyper-active brain that won’t switch off…
  5. Commit to eating only nutrient-dense, high-performance foods.
  6. Avoid alcohol during the working week.
  7. Commit to a lean bodyweight. Excess fat is toxic to the business body and brain.

There’s more information, discussion and strategic action points in our latest book “The Wealthy Body in Business”. Pre-order your copy HERE

So Who’s Going to Mind the Shop..?

By Tim Bean –

The problem of ‘Succession Planning’ is one faced by many small and family-sized businesses – but larger companies and corporations are not immune.  In fact the bigger the business, the darker the storm that looms on the horizon, threatening even the most successful firms.

As I explain below, there is a solution that may help…

PS: Has stress affected you negatively recently? To find out how you can deal better with stress, fire up energy, boost resilience and build recovery, check out our new book “The Wealthy Body in Business (Bloomsbury, London) due out April 6th!

wealthy-body-cover-bloomsbury

It Ain’t So Hard…

1930s-ny-party

By Anne Laing –

Common Myths #42: “It’s so hard to change eating habits back after the Christmas period”.

The Facts: Yes, it may feel hard getting back to normal healthy eating again, because festive food and drink is often very addictive.

But you are more than the sum total of just your eating habits.

You can change your behaviours and your choices anytime that cause your physique to be out of shape.

We have up to 100 trillion cells in our bodies, each demanding a constant supply of daily nutrients to function properly. What you eat affects all these cells and their operating ability and therefore every aspect of our being from mood, energy levels, and food cravings, to thinking capacity, sleeping habits, immunity and general health.

You are totally made up by what you eat and drink, how you exercise, how you sleep, and the status of your internal medical biomarkers.

Our body requires essential nutrients to survive and if we keep eating food that is lacking in nutrients our cellular stocks of these become depleted so we slowly start to malfunction. It will become increasingly harder to concentrate and process information as this continues. There is also less energy and it is more difficult for the body to metabolise food and burn fat.

This is why processed, packaged and sweet foods are called anti-nutrients. They are addictive; they literally attack your stores of nutrients and change health for the worse.

Take time to think before you eat, forget the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods… think what food the body needs to operate optimally.

Practising this technique will help you naturally make healthy choices based on your bodies needs and once you have got the hang of it you will never have to bother with diets.

Get this right and you’ll have more energy for exercise, sleep better and your internal health will improve.

You see, you can change your choices. Over the last few weeks you’ve learned to behave in a particular way, but you can also unlearn it because persistence, desire and education will always win out over an out-of-shape physique and ill-health.

“Be careful the environment you choose, for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose, for you will become like them.” – W. Clement Stone, 1902-2002, Author and Businessman

Are You Torching Fat – or Muscle..?

By Tim Bean –

If you have a sedentary job and thinking of introducing exercise into your daily routine – that’s a great move. But it’s important to get the right balance.

New research has added strength to the case for adding strength to your frame, by lifting heavy weights…

Don’t Just Do It – KEEP Doing It..!

By Anne Laing

beach-run

While running along the beach this morning I listened to a business interview on my iPod. I couldn’t help thinking about the parallels with this and the weight-loss journey many of our clients are on right now.

The gist was, there is never going to be a perfect time in your life to get your health into shape. There will always be injuries, unexpected emergencies and time constraints to disrupt you.

The secret (so the interviewee said) was making small changes each day, and always trying to do them better – rather than give up when you think its not working.

Being better next week than you were in the last week is all that is required.

If you can achieve just 1% better eating and exercise habits each day then that’s 100% improvement in 100 days!

In business many people want to go from A to Z overnight, but there are NO short cuts in business, just as there are NO shortcuts to physique success.  You have to follow the tried and true process of A+B+C+D+E+F success steps, and that’s the only way it ever happens.  It is when people get to D+E+F,  they start to give up because it gets tough.

I get that, and believe me it gets tough for every single person in business, exactly as it is for losing weight and getting in shape again. Self-doubt sets in, boredom, you feel disempowered because you have Aunt Mable’s genes, you are missing out at social occasions, your metabolism is rigged against you, and it seems sooooo easy for everybody else.  This is all distraction and diversion, and it’s when most want to quit – yes, it happens to us all.

Some of our greatest changes happen when we surround ourselves with supportive people, and we allow them to hold us accountable.

digging-a-hole

So the secret is not just doing it, but to KEEP doing it. It’s like digging for gold. People will dig down a little way and not find anything so they dig another hole, and then when they don’t find anything they dig another hole, and another, and still find nothing.  This goes on until there are holes all over the place – but the gold is there at the bottom of most every hole!

Dieters often give up too early and become too impatient to keep building on even the smallest successes.

You are not alone if you think like this; the diet industry is huge and can derail your resolve with the next new miracle fat gadget or super food around each corner.

Success comes not with stopping and starting, but in doing just one small thing each day, and taking the journey up one step at the time.

Keep talking yourself into success, rather than out of it.

What are you THINKING…?

By Tim Bean –

As a business leader, you’re faced with making strategic decisions every day of the working week.

Sometimes it’s not so easy to have the clarity you need to make the most EFFECTIVE decisions for your organisation – or yourself…

What three things could you be doing from TODAY, to build a better wellbeing platform to support your own professional outcomes…?