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Our fitness expert discusses the secret ingredient to feeling your best every day

Our fitness expert Ollie Thompson has some advice to help your feel good.

Feeling your healthiest and most energised is the result of synergy across multiple areas of your wellbeing. Whilst there is a long list of factors that influence your wellbeing, I believe that aside from exercise, there are four big hitters that stand above the rest and play an important role in all of our lives. These are sleep, stress, nutrition and caffeine.

Personal trainer, Ollie Thompson, wellbeing consultant and creator of Welltolead. Picture: Keith Heppell
Personal trainer, Ollie Thompson, wellbeing consultant and creator of Welltolead. Picture: Keith Heppell

Sleep, stress, nutrition and caffeine are all major components of our modern lifestyles that can significantly impact how we feel each day. These factors play interconnected roles in our physical and mental well-being and when balanced well, can contribute to increased energy levels, improved mood, and enhanced overall quality of life.

First and foremost, quality sleep is truly the cornerstone of health. During sleep, the body undergoes critical restorative processes, including tissue repair, memory consolidation, and hormonal regulation. Adequate sleep duration (typically 7-8 hours for adults) is crucial for cognitive function, emotional stability, and physical vitality. When you consistently get a good night's sleep, you wake up refreshed, alert, and ready to tackle the day.

Stress management is another key factor in feeling your best. Chronic stress can lead to a range of physical and mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even cardiovascular problems. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and regular physical activity can help mitigate the negative effects of stress. By reducing stress levels, you can enjoy greater mental clarity, emotional stability and overall contentment.

Next up, we have nutrition. Healthy nutrition is essential for our health because it provides our bodies with vital nutrients and energy needed for optimal functioning. A well-balanced diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, proteins and of course plenty of water will also help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. A healthy diet is also crucial for weight management, brain function and mood stabilisation. In essence, healthy nutrition is the backbone to our overall well-being, enhancing both physical and mental health while reducing the risk of preventable illnesses.

Finally, we have caffeine. Most commonly found in coffee, tea, and certain energy drinks, caffeine is a widely consumed stimulant that can offer a temporary boost in alertness and concentration. When consumed in moderation, caffeine can enhance both cognitive and physical performance by providing a sense of wakefulness and alertness. However, excessive caffeine intake or consumption too late in the day can disrupt your sleep architecture and therefore, will cause you to wake up groggy, wanting a coffee, ultimately, the dependency cycle begins here. So what time should you have your final coffee? Well, for the vast majority of us, caffeine will have a half life of roughly five hours, meaning if you consume a typical double shot coffee at 4pm, you’ll have one espresso shot worth of caffeine still in your system at 9pm. My advice is to have a caffeine cut off of roughly 2pm to avoid impacting your sleep quality.

Personal trainer, Ollie Thompson, wellbeing consultant and creator of Welltolead. Picture: Keith Heppell
Personal trainer, Ollie Thompson, wellbeing consultant and creator of Welltolead. Picture: Keith Heppell

In summary, the combination of good sleep, caffeine in moderation, effective stress management, and a nutritious diet all work together to optimise your daily well-being. Prioritising all of these aspects of self-care will enable you to make the most of each day.

Ollie specialises in helping career-focused professionals get into great shape, build long-term health and perform better in their work. Named as one of London Evening Standards top London Personal Trainers, Ollie works across Cambridge and London and offers both in-person and virtual personal training. Visit www.welltolead.com and follow Ollie on Instagram @olliethompsonhealth for more.

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