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Here I am out on a five-day exhibition with my family. We decided to get out of Dodge and go explore the wilderness of eastern Oregon, and we’re having a great time. What I’ve asked the team to do is put together a mashup of some of the best listener requests that we’ve had for Author of Your Own Story with the over a hundred daily growth hacks we have, so I hope you enjoy over these next couple days. We’re going to revisit these older daily growth hacks. You can go ahead and go back, if you haven’t heard them, go back and do the work and get a chance to actually listen to them.

Remember, go back and listen to the whole library while it’s still available. Now, if you have heard these before, don’t worry. Doing the work again … You’ve changed, so you’re going to have a different outlook on each of these daily growth hacks. That’s it for me. I’m out living the author of my own story lifestyle, and I hope you’re doing the same.

Hi, I’m Doug Holt with Author of Your Own Story and this is your daily growth hack. Now, back in middle school, I started reading fitness magazines and health magazines that my dad had lying around. I used to cut these articles out. One of the things that I read about was upon waking up, drink a solid glass of water, eight ounces or more, first thing in the morning. Back then even I started added that to my routine and saw big benefits.

I saw that when I hydrated myself I just felt better throughout the day. Now then, I didn’t know why, and it wasn’t until college, studying physiology that I actually understood the health benefits of that. One of them is aiding digestion, like I said, alkalizing the blood, as well as cleansing the liver. Just by simply getting up in the morning, grabbing a glass of water, whatever it is, if you’re a Nalgene drinker, I like big Mason jars, that’s what my wife and I drink out of, and adding a squeeze of lemon.

I personally add a whole lemon in there, I use a lemon squeezer and sometimes just my hand to get that juice in there. I’m going to challenge you for this. If you’re not already drinking a big glass of water upon waking up, I’m going to challenge you to do this for a week and write down how you’re feeling. Each morning you get up fill up a glass of water or you can fill it up the night before. Now you want this to be room temperature.

Then add a squeeze of lemon in there. Fresh lemon is what I always recommend. Add that lemon in there, drink the water even before you have your cup of coffee, tea or get out the door. This should be done first thing in the morning and write down how you’re feeling throughout the day. My guess is you’re going to have more energy, you’re going to feel more clear-headed and you’re just going to enjoy the day better.

Now I had a fitness professional reach out to me that needed help with a client. What they were talking about is their client’s back was hurting while working their abs, and so what they were looking for are ways of strengthening the back so they could advance. Now I get this topic a lot or I get this question a lot because of my background. Especially when getting ready for the summer everybody wants to look good when the weather gets warmer.

Oftentimes what these people think they’re doing is working their core when really they’re just working their abs. As they’re working their abs, they notice that their back starts to hurt. They feel a strain and the first thing that comes to mind, of course, is the back is screaming, “Hey, help me!” How do I strengthen it? How do I make that back better? They take all their focus and energy to make their back stronger when really in reality what most likely is happening is the back muscle is doing extra work it shouldn’t be doing for the abdominals and the rest of the core region and therefore is getting fatigued.

Now the analogy that I often use is if you and I, we pick up a really heavy desk, I have a really heavy wood desk in my office, we pick up that desk and we start walking down the street because we need to move it. Halfway down the street, you decide hey, I’m going to get coffee. I’m going to go get a beer. I’m just taking off and I’m left alone carrying that desk. It’s on my shoulders and I’m starting to fatigue. I’m starting to cry for help because there’s no one there.

Am I the problem? No, not at all. The problem is the person that left, left me alone. They checked out. Oftentimes this is what happens with your muscles. Now again, this is a gross generalization, but oftentimes when people complain about a low back pain or strain or fatigue while working out their abs, really what’s happened is they’ve lost that neurological connection and their abs are fatigued and they’ve given out, but they have that determination so their low back starts doing the work when it’s not supposed to. It’s not physiologically meant to do it.

The low back raises its hand and says, “Hey, I’m not supposed to be doing this work. I’m fatigued. Get me out of here.” Now, this happens often, so when I was actually a trainer many years ago I would tell y, clients, “Hey look, there are two options here. One is sucking it up or give it up.” What I meant by that is regain that mind-body connection to your abdominal region and try to perform the exercise safely.

Now if it does not go away, again, that low back stops screaming if it doesn’t stop screaming, quit right then. Oftentimes, and I would say nine times out of 10, people are able to train their abdominal muscles longer and have a better mind-body connection to get the results that they want. Now if they were just focusing on the lower back, what happens, they would actually shorten the muscles of the low back causing additional issues while weakening the abdominal.

The exact opposite approach for the result they’re trying to achieve. Today we’re going to focus on your body. In particular, we’re going to talk about supplementation. We’re going to talk about magnesium. Now, magnesium is a mineral that most people in western societies are deficient in. Magnesium has a lot of benefits. Some of the reported benefits are an increase in energy with supplementation of magnesium, calming your nerves and anxiety, which is something that I can attest to, help with digestion by relieving constipation, relieve muscle aches and spasms.

The reason that is is it helps regulate levels of calcium, potassium, and sodium and your muscles work in what’s called the sodium, potassium model. Also, there’s been reported benefits for heart health, osteoporosis as well as migraines. Now a lot of times with what we’re seeing as modern farming and agriculture, the mineral depletion of the soil is so great that we’re losing magnesium in most western diets.

I originally heard about this back in about 2000, 2001 from a guy named Charles Poliquin who’s a very famous strength coach. I started supplementing with a magnesium back then. You’ll also notice that magnesium’s often put into a lot of sleep supplements. Because of that deficiency that we have in our bodies, it really helps us get a calm state and really relax into sleep.

Now this is also something to watch out for, so with excessive magnesium supplementation, it actually is going to act like a diuretic. Again, I’m going to warn you, when I first started supplementing with this particular brand of calcium, being a typical guy it calls for two teaspoons and I put heaping teaspoons in with a more is the better attitude. It drained me. It drained me because it does act like a diuretic.

That’s my tip for you today. I highly recommend checking out supplementing with magnesium. Of course, I’m not a health professional, excuse, a medical professional, so consult your physician before starting any supplementation program, but I think you’re going to find that magnesium in the evenings as well as potentially in the mornings is going to help you throughout your day.

Now, blue light as you probably have heard comes naturally from the environment, it comes from the sun, but it also comes from staring at screens or fluorescent lights overhead or anywhere else in your household. The problem with this blue light is that it really can disrupt our circadian rhythm. Now our circadian rhythm is the body’s natural biological clock.

One of the problems with this is not only causing strain on the eyes, but it also disrupts sleep patterns. If you read studies, most people, especially in the US, have horrible sleep patterns. We don’t get the recommended seven, eight, nine hours of sleep a day. To top that out, if you’re an entrepreneur listening to this like I am, chances are your average is closer to four or five hours and that just adds up.

To top it off, according to The Harvard Journal, Medical Journal, having blue light can also contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and even obesity. Obviously, it’s something that we want to avoid, but if you’re like me I have three screens going right now. Oftentimes my cell phone will be going. Because I practice the Author of Your Own Story lifestyle I’m constantly traveling, exploring new things, but oftentimes I have a screen to check in.

Now there are some things that you can do. Of course, if you own an iPhone or an iPad, there are actual settings on there that you can set. It’s called night shift. I set that throughout the day. There’s just no need. Unless I’m watching a movie or something else on my iPhone I have no need to have that extra blue light. That actually helps.

On my computers, all my computers, I use a software program called F.Lux. F.L-U-X. What this does is actually times my day through normal circadian rhythms depending on the time zone that I’m in so when I’m traveling, if I’m at a country in Columbia or if I’m in Europe or even just across the States, it knows the time zone I’m in and adjusts the blue light levels to match the natural circadian rhythms for that time zone.

Of course, I can adjust those as well. To take it a step further I also often wear these blue blocker glasses. I’ll also actually wear something a little bit less evasive. These allow me to work longer hours when I’m staring at a screen. I find that this reduces my eye strain. Also, I also try to move away from the computer every hour. I have an alarm set on my phone so every 50 minutes on every hour it goes off. I walk around, I actually do some exercises, get my body moving, get the blood flowing, but I also have these blue blocking glasses on.

This reduces the total eye strain I have and also helps mitigate hopefully some of these health problems that I just referred to. My question to you would be is to look at your day and often ask yourself how often are you really checking screens? If you have an eight to five job or maybe you’re just at home, if you’re a stay-at-home mom or you’re a busy executive like I am oftentimes it’s even just looking at your cell phone. It becomes habitual for a lot of us.

How can you reduce this blue light and really add that extra value to your sleep patterns? Try a set of blue blocking glasses or try a problem like F.Lux. Hopefully, this will help you produce your eye strain so you can keep going and when your energy’s flowing, produce great results.

One of the things that I keep seeing over in the personal development and business development field is getting up early and the value. We’ve heard the old axiom the early bird gets the worm, but what cost is that? Now, during my career I’ve really focused on getting up early, whether it be for the fitness industry when I owned a gym or for just the entrepreneurial lifestyle, owning a business and wanting to get up before everyone else did so I could be as productive and get ahead of the curve.

What I started doing is getting up at 6 AM, then it became 5:30, then 5 AM. Next thing you know I was getting up at 4 AM in order to get all the things I wanted to do done in the day. This was great for a very short period of time. What I found was I was extremely productive. Before any of my staff got in or before anybody else woke up that I was doing business with I had already gotten done two to three hours worth of work and I felt way ahead of the curve.

This was awesome until it wasn’t. Now what I found and you may find yourself is throughout the day I found myself getting more and more tired. I was a little bit more irritable throughout the day. I was having mood swings. I wasn’t really fun to be around. After about my first and second pot of coffee just to keep myself going and possibly a nap here or there, I really started to know that my health and well being was going by the wayside.

So one of the things I started to do was adding in my daily journal is I started to write down my bedtime, when I actually went to bed, not necessarily fall asleep, but when I was lying in bed with the anticipation of sleeping and then when I woke up. That was great, but the key differential that I did was I put what was my rest factor? For me, I do it on a scale of one to five. I started recording how I was feeling.

I also at the end of the day was recording my productivity. How productive did I feel I was in the five key areas. What I found was is when I actually slept in more, so I actually went to bed at the same time but actually slept in, I was actually a lot more productive. Now, I didn’t get as many to-dos done on my to-do list, but I found that the actual output I was getting was at a much higher level. I was also able to relate to people around me and just, in general, enjoyed my days more.

So what I’m going to ask you to do, your call to action today for your daily growth hack is to start writing down in your journal your times. When you’re going to bed when you’re waking up and more importantly how are you feeling? Something that I found at this stage in my life is actually sleeping in and making sure I’m getting enough rest is the right thing for me. I’ve made a lifestyle for myself that allows me not to have a schedule that’s that tight and maybe you have to get up early.

I totally respect that, but really honor your rest and make sure that your rest is serving you in your five key areas. Have a great day, and remember, share this with at least three people that you know. Build your tribe, start the conversation. I’d love to talk to you about it more in the Author of Your Own Story Group. That’s it for today. Have a great day and remember, go out and be the author of your own story.

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