We recently wrote a post about how phone use before bed is killing your physical performance. Well there is another detrimental side to this naughty habit! Not only will it kill your physical performance but also your cognitive / mental performance! Let me explain

As we know: stress + rest = growth. (Magness & Stulberg, 2017). So when we have a tough workout, we need rest in order for our body to react to that stimulus, recover, adapt so that we come back better prepared for the next “stress” or stimulus. Now, our brains work in exactly the same way. Our bodies can’t actually differentiate between physical and cognitive workload. So, if you have had a long day in the office or hitting the books in the library for hours on end using a lot of cognitive and mental capacity and effort we can feel just as fatigued as we can after a hard workout!

If any of you are up to date on your top Athletic Performance theory then you may be familiar with Charlie Francis theory of High, Middle and Low Work. If not I will briefly explain. As can be seen in the diagram below, training can be classified into High intensity, Medium Intensity and Low Intensity.

The medium intensity is the area we want to avoid. Let me set another scene: It is just post dinner, the TV is on and you are chilling on the sofa watching TV, whilst simultaneously on your phone on Instagram and WhatsApp switching between the two. What this is doing is keeping our brain consistently in this “Middle Zone”. So, like our bodies, now it isn’t being given a chance to fully rest and recover and absorb and sort everything learnt throughout the day, it is having to work too hard flicking energy, attention and focus between the television and the new information on there to focusing on the new information being received from your phone – therefore with this continuing on a day to day basis our brain never gets a full chance to recover meaning fatigue piles up continuously each day and this is going to overflow into your work or school projects and schedule and then also into the gym – not allowing you to perform at your maximum thus killing your performance!

So, next time you are chilling on the sofa watching tv as well as on your phone, think about concentrating on just one to allow your brain to fully recover…

References Magness, S & Stulberg, M., 2017. Peak Performance. Rodale Books. Hewitt, J., & Hintsa, A., 2016. Exponential. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Jack Coxall

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Published on 23rd Nov 19