Are you an early riser, late riser or somewhere in between? Do you go to bed early or do you prefer to burn the midnight oil? Are you most alert and productive mid-morning but experience a mid-afternoon crash? Do you jump out of bed as soon as the alarm sounds and hit the ground running – literally. Or do you hit the snooze alarm once, twice or more preferring to exercise later in the day?
According to Andrew May’s “Flip the Switch”* research shows that your productivity and performance can be affected by up to 15% depending on the time of day. Knowing your energy personality and tailoring your day, and your training, to match your energy highs and lows can help you setup your day for optimal performance and a more enjoyable workout.
So What’s Your Energy Personality?
Complete Andrew’s Quick Quiz below to find out:
Choose the most appropriate answer
1. Do you sleep in if you forget to set the alarm clock on weekdays?
A B C
Yes Sometimes No
2. Are you bubbly and chatty when you arrive at work in the morning?
A B C
Yes Sometimes No
3. Do you do your best work in the afternoon through to early evening?
A B C
Yes Sometimes No
4. If you could choose your ideal working hours, what would they be?
A 12pm – 8am
B 9am – 5pm
C 6am – 2pm
5. When you go to a party are you:
A Usually the last to leave?
B OK as long as you get to bed within 3 hours of normal sleep time
C Agitated and tired if you don’t leave before your usual bedtime?
Tally your answers for A, B and C and refer to the table below for your energy personality
Mostly A’s Mostly B’s Mostly C’s
BEAR TIGER GAZELLE
Bears are “Night Owls” and function at their best during the afternoon or evening.
If you have a 9 to 5 job, it’s a good idea to arrange your day so that your thinking tasks are actioned later in the day and simpler tasks requiring less brain power, eg filing and email are scheduled during the morning. Bears often find that they exercise best during lunchtime or later in the day when their energy levels are higher.
Tips for Bears
• Sleep with your curtains open and let the sun wake you up
• Get up at the same time every day and eat breakfast – bears have a tendency to skip breakfast which is vital to optimal brain performance and weight management
• Don’t stay up late on weekends or start a new project or ‘thinking’ tasks right before going to bed
Gazelles are “Morning people” and tend to spring out of bed and hit the ground running.
They don’t need an alarm clock and are usually quite bubbly when they get to the office. Having already completed their workout for the day, they’re switched on and ready to go! If you’re a Gazelle, you’ll tend to peak around midday and notice a lack of concentration by late afternoon. Unlike the bear, Gazelles should plan their day so that tasks requiring creativity and high-level thinking are scheduled for the morning and simpler, more routine tasks for the afternoon. Generally, Gazelles have no problem training first thing in the morning.
Tips for Gazelles
• Exercise in the morning or before 6pm so that you are rested and ready for bed early
• Spend some time outdoors in the afternoon to boost your energy for the later part of the day
• Avoid shift work
• Don’t exercise within 4 hours of your usual bedtime
Tigers make up 55 to 60% of the population and usually get going around 7am with peak concentration between mid-morning and lunchtime.
Tigers usually experience a mid-afternoon slump and get their second wind later in the afternoon. Tigers are able to switch more easily between Bear and Gazelle energy levels and are usually comfortable exercising anytime of the day. Tigers usually have no problem mixing up their exercise regime with both morning and afternoon/evening sessions.
Tips for Tigers
• For Tigers needing to be at their best first thing in the morning, follow the tips for the Gazelle
• For Tigers needing to be at their best in the evening, follow the tips for the Bear.
Whether you’re a Bear, Gazelle or Tiger, the key to optimal performance both at work and play is to find what works best for you and make it a regular part of your day. Test out Andrew’s tips above and see just how much more enjoyable your workouts can become when tailored to suit your Energy Personality.
* For more information on improving your performance and productivity both at work and at play, I highly recommend “Flip the Switch” by Andrew May, Messenger Publishing, Copyright 2007