Training with Olympic champion Jochem Uytdehaage

Training with Olympic champion Jochem Uytdehaage

Are you mentally and physically fit? Then you are sustainably employable! Because Spark cherishes the energy and creativity of its employees, top athlete Jochem Uytdehaage and Jan van Zwieten – coaches from Mentally Fit – came to train the Spark team for a day.

April 26, 2016

Top performances

Mentally Fit trains employees using the expertise and techniques applied in professional sport. The idea behind this: you can only produce a top performance when you are mentally, physically, emotionally and socially fit. Jochem: "If I had known in 2005 what I know now, then I might also have been at the Winter Olympics in 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi)!"

In the zone

If you have ever been in it, then you’ll recognize the feeling: top performances are achieved primarily when you’re in the 'Passion Zone', according to Jochem and Jan. We’re also looking for that focused, energetic 'Flow' at Spark. Diederik: "When we embark on a project as a team, and complement each other at the right moment, this is when we are in the Passion Zone, and this is when the best ideas emerge.”

But what if it doesn’t work? We know now that as a result of multitasking, stress, lack of good sleep, too few breaks and lack of relaxation, you can end up in the Zombie Zone. We have to prevent this!

Long-term stress

We were surprised by the significant effects of long-term stress. The stress hormone Cortisol has a huge influence on your mood, focus, sleep, creativity, decisiveness, resilience and all-round health. The longer you experience a high stress level, the longer it takes to for you to get it down again. Conclusion: it is important to give yourself time to recover after a busy and stressful period. Jochem Uytdehaage: "Compare it with a good a training schedule for athletes, in which pushing your limits is always followed by a rest period that allows the body to recover and, in turn, get stronger ".

Measuring stress levels

But how do you relax? Breathing exercises, laughing, music, and socializing are a few effective ways to relax. Jochem and Jan have a device to measure your stress level. Sonja: "I tried to relax, but I only managed it when I was talking with a colleague. We burst out laughing and suddenly the device indicated a state of total relaxation!"

Top Tips for staying sustainably fit:

  • Go to bed at 22:30 to give your brain enough time to rest. Your recovery-sleep doesn’t shift with your bedtime, it’s always at the same time. So if you go to bed later, then you recover less, and then next day you’ll perform up to 15% less.
  • If you have a lot on your plate, sleep between 22:30-04:30 instead of between 01:00-07:00. No intense sport after 20:30; otherwise you won’t be able to get to sleep because of the adrenaline.
  • Have a healthy breakfast: eat slow carbohydrates, but no fats and no protein
  • Drink a minimum of 1.5 litres of water per day to ensure that the toxins are expelled and your organs (including your brain) function well. Otherwise they end up in stand-by mode. You need 1 extra glass of water for every cup of coffee. And 5 extra for every glass of alcohol.
  • Move more, work and meet standing up, take regular walks.