After more than 14 years in Nascar and six Sprint Cup championships, I know what it’s like to be cruising along and then suddenly—bam!-you hit a wall. For instance, in 2000 I slammed into a barrier at Watkins Glen International, totaling my car.
You may not spend your workday speeding into the backstretch at 200 miles an hour, but the last thing you want is to crash in those crucial laps between lunch and quitting time.
So instead of spinning your wheels or drifting toward a collision with unconsciousness, use these maneuvers to get back on track. There’s no trophy at stake, but you might get a boost from your corporate sponsor.
1. Top Off Your Tank
Whether you’re on the track or at the office, it takes high-octane fuel to fire on all cylinders.
For breakfast, fill up with two eggs, 1 cup of fresh fruit, and a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter. That’ll provide slow-burning energy and keep you full longer.
To avoid stalling out, stay fully hydrated with this rule of thumb: Guzzle enough H2O (or, ahem, Gatorade, my sponsor!) to make at least five pit stops a day. And go before you drive home. No stopping with the checkered flag in sight.
2. Boost Your Battery
You might think all those left turns I make would put me to sleep. But I’m more likely to conk out in a dimly lit office or cubicle.
Lack of light can trick your brain into secreting the sleep hormone melatonin at, say, 3 p.m. rather than before bedtime.
Prevent that by hitting the gym at lunch. The loud, brightly lit space will help slam the brakes on melatonin and accelerate your production of endorphins, neurotransmitters that are as energizing as a roaring Nascar crowd.
(For an even better workout than you’ll get at a gym, try The Anarchy Workout. One guy lost 18 pounds of fat in just 6 weeks.)
3. Engineer an Edge
If you miss a workout, you can keep your mental engine humming with a quick power nap. Sit back in your chair, close your eyes, and drift off for 10 to 20 minutes.
That relatively short duration means your sleep cycle stays in the non-REM stage. You’ll wake quickly with a surge of alertness, shift right back into work mode, and set a new track record for productivity.
—with MH Sleep Advisor W. Christopher Winter, M.D., and Wesley Delbridge, R.D., of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics