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- “When I don’t prioritize recovery, my work suffers and therefore, the mission suffers.“
- If you are looking to enhance your routine for the days leading up to something big, as well as your recovery process, learn about my own event routine that keeps me showing up and delivering at my best!
- “Recovery begins before you need it!”
- Watch the video to get the full training.
- Are you about to embark on a challenging project or event and worried about the build up and recovery of your body and mind? This episode is a MUST WATCH to get an in-depth look into my recovery process and receive takeaways to adopt for your own routine.
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I’m back home after an epic 5-day certification training for 300 of the top-level coaches in the world. I’m resting up, and thought I’d share how I survive and recover on this beautiful Sunday. My entire event routine and recovery plan is in this long, super detailed video! The event I just finished was for, basically, the Navy Seals of life coaching and executive coaching. They’re called Certified High Performance Coaches. It takes everything out of me to deliver their training. But sometimes the HARD things we take on — and the excellence we demand from ourselves — is what personal development is all about. Right? I think few people realize that so much joy and bliss can come from doing incredibly hard things. For me, this 5-day event is the hardest thing I do all year. Most of my peers in the industry consider it the most difficult event in the world for a single trainer to deliver.
So I thought I’d share my recovery routines for you guys because I know you take on hard things too, otherwise you wouldn’t be in my tribe. And I hope to inspire you to develop routines that help you perform at your best!
“How Hard Is This Event?” I’m always asked by new speakers or influencers how the heck can I deliver 5 days of training on stage, at my intensity level and programming, without a M.C. or other speakers, without collapsing or losing my energy, voice or focus.
First, you should know, it has never been easy. And the truth is, I spent my first 5 years teaching events (on average 8 per year), just trying new things. I was a mess! I was losing eleven pounds per event and not feeling like I had enough energy. But I got it dialed in because I had no other choice! And while I get a ton of attention for this, I also have an amazing team who helps me execute this event twice per year, in addition to eight other large events! I can’t do it without them!
But I’ll focus this video on my personal routines at the event.
Full disclaimer: What works for me now might not work for everyone. I can tell you one thing: Even today, after all these years on stage, coming up on nineteen years teaching in some form or another, it’s still not easy for me.I really have to prepare to endure the long hours. I need to prepare a solid curriculum plan, and an equally strong recovery game at the events.
To give you context before I share my plan, here’s a little about the 5-day event.
Have you ever prepared a 60-minute speech, and worried that you might forget what to say? Have you ever lost your voice, just talking for an hour or so? Have you ever given an hour-long presentation, and felt exhausted afterwards? Well, try 45 hours of content and speaking! That 45 hours doesn’t even include the time preparing or managing the event.
So, Certification Week is over 45 hours of standing, training advanced curriculum, and running an event for the highest-level coaches in the world. They don’t put up with B.S., and they expect awesome. We do nearly 100 pages of curriculum together, and dozens of role plays executing the only academically validated high performance coaching framework in existence. Honestly, just remembering and preparing for what comes next is mentally fatiguing.
If you don’t know the coaching industry, most coaches simply teach from their opinion. We train from validated science, and empirical insights from over 40,000 rated sessions from 80+ countries around the world. It’s rigorous to say the least. Plus—the level of energy and passion I attempt to bring is not the kind of relaxed, easy delivery that happens at multi-day retreats. (If you’ve ever seen me speak live, you know how much energy I bring for you!). There is no M.C. No other speakers brought in. Just me. Sometimes I bring coaches on stage — but I’m still there, guiding it. I really don’t get a second off. Dumb decision, I know. But it’s my jam. We all have ways we push ourselves — this is mine.
My vitals show I basically run a marathon per day, for five days. Think about that. A marathon per day, for five days. And I’m no athlete, so it’s hard. I have a pace I have to keep because the audience is so dang good!
These coaches aspire to be the best in the world. Many of them have been life coaches or executive coaches for a very long time. Many are truly experts in their craft. Many are new and wanted to be the best from the get-go — they skip the online marketer coaching world and actually get certified from someone who does real coaching with a science-backed curriculum from our institute. Many of these coaches come from corporate America and coach, or will coach at the largest companies in the world.
People pay $10,000 to get certified, making it one of the highest-level certifications in the world. (If you ever want to join this elite few, apply for our 2020 Cert Week). To say the least, the expectations are enormous and the ripple effect opportunity is a great huge blessing.I truly want to deliver for these folks.
So you can imagine, just like multi-millionaire athletes prepare well because they are paid to, so do I. Keep in mind I do 8 other 4-day events, and our main business is online education, so even while I’m at the event there’s the reality that we are still, simultaneously, running four companies with over 100 employees and serving millions of students. It’s a lot to deal with if I don’t get my head on straight and practice my high performance habits all year.
I hope that tells you a little about why I take this so seriously and have tried to become my best for my audience.
Let’s start with this:
Recovery begins before you need it!
I try to stay in optimum health all year long so that my events aren’t huge shocks to the system. I’ve previously shared that the lifestyle Denise and I have keeps me focused, healthy, and ready to serve most of the year.
1. The Pregame
But let’s get to it and talk pregame. Here’s the plan right before the big event:
a) Three weeks before the event, I switch my workout scheduling from lifting to nothing but cardio and extended, aggressive HIIT work. I need extraordinary lung capacity and marathon-level endurance.
b) I also incorporate a ridiculous amount of mobility work and stretching because I have to cover a 30-40 foot wide stage all day, every day, walking sideways, jumping up and down 4-6 times per day, leaping across that stage. The torque on your hips is crazy on stage.
c) Forty five days prior to the event, I try to pack on 8-11 extra pounds. Not all lean, either. I need some fat to fuel me that many days!
d) I spend a full week on my off hours preparing the teaching, even though I’ve delivered this curriculum for 7 years. I go through every sheet, every slide, every role play, every possible Q&A, and every announcement. I envision the first day of the event meticulously prior to arrival. You wouldn’t assume that backstag because the reality is I still have to wing a lot of the event’s flow based on how the audience is responding. So I come prepared but super flexible.
e) Two weeks out, I cut out most vices. Rarely any bread and I don’t drink any alcohol or coffee — though for sure I sometimes fail on that if friends are around, or I want a treat.
f) I review my notes and student surveys from prior years, looking for ways to improve.
g) I personally design and create all the handouts, worksheets, and presentations so I know them backward and forward.
At the event, it’s all about pacing, food, meditation, stretching, and stress management. Of course, most people just want to know what I eat and how I supplement, so I’ll get to that.
Here’s the full plan:
a) Every morning I wake up and do mobility, calisthenics, and yoga for 15 minutes, followed by 3 sets squat presses with 35lbs dumbbells to kick the hormones on.
b) Breakfast is a 3-egg omelet with veggies, avocado toast, a bowl of spinach, and a bowl of blueberries. I also make a coconut milk protein shake with about 20 grams of vanilla vegan protein. I need to start pounding the calories early.
c) I do vocal warmups all morning, for about 20-30 minutes total. I also do vocal warmups after every lunch break before going back on stage.
d) I’m constantly moving backstage — I do calisthenics, Qigong, shadow boxing, and stretching.
e) I have a backstage manager and friend, Mel Abraham, who is on radio to the entire team. He and I work together to call the entire show backstage — what music to play, what handouts are needed, and how long each session might go. He’s the man, and a hell of a business expert in his own right. I think we’ve done like seventy events together.
f) I do a mid-morning protein shake with more avocados, spinach, and blueberries. I don’t add any nut butters, sugars, or citric acids because they can cause phlegm. I do another shake, if I’m paying attention, mid-afternoon.
g) I have a supplement stack I swear by, anchored by my HPX OPTIMIZED supplement for mental clarity and brain optimization (get it here). I take a multivitamin, and have a longevity and anti-inflammatory stack that includes fish oil, curcumin, maqui berry, and astragalus. I also take ginger, probiotics, and a complete amino acid supplement for repair.
h) If I’m losing steam, I’ll have a pre-workout that includes caffeine. I never had caffeine for the first 6 years of events. But the year after my brain injury, I found it can save me if my brain has trouble kicking on. I only have like 40mg though — about a green tea’s worth — and that will light me up like Christmas!
Important: NEVER drink hot water while speaking. Ever. The old and bad advice about green tea and honey? Lame — not science. Hot water expands tissue and when your vocal cords are inflamed the last thing you need is to gulp hot water and sugar! If I have caffeine, it’s from a pre-workout mix shaken in room temperature water with some electrolytes thrown in.
i) No one is allowed backstage in my green room. No VIPs, no celebs, no friends or family until we finish. My mom is allowed, and so is team, but they know just to pop in and be brief. If I need to know something, the team radios Mel so that I can have my space. This is so important to my creativity— to be alone and have time to think.
j) Water is life. I drink electrolytes twice per day and still need about 10-12 liters of water per day. When you’re running, jumping, dancing, speaking, and projecting on stage at that level, you need way more water than you think. If you’ve ever been to a concert and thought, “How can that performer do 3 hours?”, then imagine 5 days, 45 hours. Again, no other speakers, no use of video, just boring ol’ me.
k) I meditate at lunch, always. I even try to get in a short 15 minute power nap. Lunch is usually fish or chicken tacos, spinach, berries, and avocados. I eat until I’m 120% full. I don’t like to eat that much, but I know that I need to.
l) Dinner is usually tons of veggies, salmon and quinoa, or every other day steak. Tons of greens. I eat until I’m 130% full. It’s awful but I need those calories. Post-dinner I stretch, do mobility work, then…
m) Ice bath every night. If you filled up those little hotel ice buckets, you’d need about 30 of them. Luckily, they send me up huge containers or bags of ice. I run cold water, put in the ice and immediately add about 10 cups of epsom salt. I do 9-14 minutes in the ice bath depending on my mood. NOTE: Don’t try this without medical advice, permission, and supervision. I’ve found this knocks out all my inflammation and soreness and helps me sleep like a baby.
n) After the ice bath, I take a cool shower. (I don’t cold-hot cycle at events. That’s for spa days or recovery days. At events, it’s cold, cold, cold). After the shower, I do one more round of stretching and I’m out. I sleep 8 hours every night, no problem. I’m exhausted, and I sleep 8 hours every other night at home anyway. (Note: Do NOT change your sleeping rhythm at big events!).
o) After dinner and prior to bed, it’s no phone, no email, no socials, no news, and no noise. I’ve been with hundreds of people all day, so this is me time, quiet time. I turn the temperature down to 66 degrees, block out all light, pray, give gratitude, and sleep peacefully. It’s critical that I don’t try to plan the next day. I save that for the morning so my mind can be at peace after a full day of service.
I know that sounds like a lot. But when you do this for a living, you get a routine! The truth is, despite all the demands, I don’t often feel super tired at the events because you guys energize me so much. Every time I see a light go on in someone’s eyes, and witness their life transforming right in front of me — well that is energizing.
3. Post-Event Recovery
I finish my part of CHPC at around 6PM on Friday, after taking photos with attendees. I say “my part” because my team still needs to break everything down, from the staging and lighting to all the gear, swag, banners, etc. It truly takes a village to do what we do.
But when I’m done, I eat a celebratory meal, usually a monster burrito or a steak with all the fixings. Then I stretch and do mobility work for about 30 minutes. Then an ice bath, directly into a hot shower, and cycle that 2-3 times. (Again, don’t do ice baths without training or supervision, period). Then more stretching. By then, I’m dead tired. I nap for 2-3 hours, wake up, talk to my team if needed, eat again, and wind back down.
When I travel home the next day, I don’t speak for the next 72 hrs. No whispering. No talking at all. I’m usually alone recovering, but if I’m with Denise we just text each other, even as we face each other at dinner. Absolutely no talking. Not a peep. That’s the rule to allow my voice to heal. That’s how I still sound human after a decade at this level, because remember, I also do about 10 videos or lives per week, so I’m always using my voice not just as a stage trainer.
Over the years, I’ve come to value the recovery and reflection that happens in silence.
I’m entirely silent, without speaking a word, for over 20 days of the year. It’s become meditative for me. During these critical post-event 72 hours, I focus on sleep, walking, stretching, mobility, reading books, and naps. I don’t workout the first day. Just brisk walks, then light workouts the next two so that I can continue flushing the system. By the 4th day I’m back at my 2x2s. (That’s 2 days of 60 minute cardio, and 2 days of weights/HITT).
I truly try to relax after an event. Books and movies help. Often life or work can get in the way, so I have to do some team texts and emails or run errands with Denise. But in general, I’m really good about these 72 hours of recovery.
When I don’t prioritize recovery, my work suffers and therefore, the mission suffers.
Long video, I know! But I hope that gives some insight into my events and life. I also hopes inspire you own routines and recovery. Seriously, I know you’ve had a long year, my friends. So prioritize creating great routines and prioritize your recovery! Because the world needs you at your best!