Sleep Rules For Athletes

How serious do you take your sleeping habits? I remember being in college and the one NCAA champion on the team told me that she sleeps about 14 hours a day. This actually blew my mind because I was lucky to get 8 most days. She was sleeping at least 6 hours more than me on a daily basis.


That is 6 hours more of sleep in just one day. Now take that number and multiply it by 7 days or even 365! That is a lot more sleep and recovery that she is getting.


If you want to succeed as an athlete you need to get proper amounts of sleep. There is no way around this!


Sleeping for Better Athletic Performance


Take Sleep as Serious as Training


To change my sleeping habits for the better it meant that I needed a change in my mindset. Sleep was an after thought for me for a lot of my career. It was something I would get to when I felt like getting to it.


I never approached my training like this though. I built my whole day around what time I had to train. Why not build my day around what time I wanted to be sleeping also? Taking sleep serious means that when you don’t get the sleep that you set out to, you take it as serious as missing a workout.


Set the Wake Up Time


Everyone lives a different life and has a different schedule. Knowing YOUR wake up time is important because you work backwards from that time in figuring out when to go to sleep.


If you need to be up at 6am make that your wake up time everyday. This includes the days that you may not have to be up that early. This gets your body into a rhythm that it craves. When you do this your body gets to a point where it no longer needs an alarm because it just knows when it is time to get up.


Doing this also means the harsh reality that you wont get to sleep in. Regardless, when you are sleeping properly you don’t even need to sleep in. In 2012 when I made the Olympic team I was getting 10 hours of sleep every night, and I never craved more sleep once the morning came.


Have a Reason


Do you really want to be great? If so, that should be reason enough to put some proper sleep work in. Don’t think of things in a small way on a day-to-day basis, it is all about the small consistencies. One hour of sleep more is not a big deal in one day but over four years that adds up to be massive.


Get Off the Screens


Once you commit to turning off your light it is now time to sleep. We trick our bodies and suppress our melatonin production when we stare at our cell phones in the dark.


A simple solution for this is to put your computer and phone on timers where they go in sleep mode earlier then you plan to sleep. This is the only way I can detach myself from electronics at night to be honest.


We live in this constant fear of missing something important but you have to remember that you can always see Twittter and Instagram in the morning. Life will go on if you are not connected as long as possible.


Relax Before Bed


A great thing to do before bed might shock many people because it seems our generation has gotten far away from this. READ a BOOK, it is an amazing thing that many of us pass up. The great thing about reading is that when we do it for a while it makes most people tired, which is an awesome transition for what this whole article is about.


Prepare Way in Advance Because Time Flies


Funny how when we say we will go to bed at a certain time, we end up going at least 15 – 60 minutes later. I can’t explain why this happens but I know time just disappears around bedtime. The only way I can get in bed at 10 is to act like I need to be ready for bed at 9:30 that gets me in bed for 10 every time.


When You Put It All Together


You train hard to break your body down.


You eat properly to give your body nutrients to put it back together.


You sleep so that your body can actually take advantage of these nutrients and put the body back together.


That is why you need to take a no nonsense approach to sleep! Without sleep you will not have a complete train/recovery cycle.


Sleep Rules


What time are you going to start getting ready for bed?


What time are you going to wake up?


How are you going to find a way to take a nap everyday?


What distracts you the most before bedtime and how can you get ride of it?


What distracts you the most during the days and how can you change that?


How bad do you want to be great?
If you want to have better solutions you need to ask better questions. If you can answer the questions above you will have your new sleep rules to stick by. If you stick by them you will be well on your way to better performances.


Connect with the Author, Ian Warner:

2012 Olympian
Website – Cover Ground 
Twitter- @CoverGround

Take that wall of fear (like the fear of my brother) and turn it into a stepping stone.

How to Take a Wall of Fear and Turn it Into a Stepping Stone

We are born with a natural fear of loud noises and falling, but every other fear we actually acquire over time. The boogeyman, heights, snakes, spiders… WE LEARN TO BE SCARED OF THESE THINGS.

They are not natural to us and because they are not natural to us it means that we can conquer our fears. Learning to conquer our fears means we can always progress and move forward towards any dream or goal. Imagine you can use something that would hold you back, and turn it into something that propels you forward?

Real Fear

Bottom line is that fear is a natural mechanism in all of us designed as a warning system to something we don’t want to happen. If someone puts a gun to your face, you are scared because a bullet in your head will not be a good thing for your life.

For some that fear might be failing. Whenever we approach something we could fail at, warning signs go off in our brains warning us to STOP! That is not even the problem though, the problem only comes if you actually listen to the warning signs telling you to stop.

Custom Made Fear

Fear is a strong feeling and we tend to build it up to be so much more than what it is, and it all resides in our head. We are scared of so many things that we can’t even name them. When you’re an athlete this is a problem because you need to be fearless in your actions.


  • Fearless of any competitor
  • Fearless of coming back from injury
  • Fearless of failure and success
  • Fearless of your next workout

No person should ever be feared because we all put out pants on one leg at a time. Fearing your competition means that you have already lost without giving yourself a chance. You have built something that is not real, but it is very real for your mind. Everybody is human, everybody can get hurt and everybody can lose so what is this fear you speak of?


Turning Our Negative Fears Into Positive Outcomes

To conquer a fear you have to first accept that you are scared of something. It does not require no longer being scared of it to conquer it though from here it requires you to be courageous.


The best example this that I can think of is when it came to racing my older brother. We both ran the 100m dash and though he was faster, I would crumble whenever I had to race him and run way below my potential.


In 2012 when the outdoor season was starting, I knew I had a race against him coming up and I had to just admit that I was scared and the truth really did set me free. I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders because I finally admitted out loud and told other people. I came up with excellent strategies to cope with it and the three times I raced him that year I almost beat him each time and I ran personal record times.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, it is when there is a presence of fear, yet the will to go on.” 

Courage is the true answer to our fears. When everything inside of us is telling us that we need to stop going forward, courage shows up and gets us through it all. As an athlete, and a human begin we will never get far in life if we can’t bring out your inner courage when we are scared.


Connect with the Author, Ian Warner:

2012 Olympian
Website – Cover Ground 
Twitter- @CoverGround

24 Things To Help You Reach Big Goals

24 Things You Must Understand to Reach Any Big Goal

by: Ian Warner |


We all have goals, whether we write them down or just set them in our minds we have places we always see ourselves being better tomorrow than we are today. These are the goals that we do not go a day without thinking about. I have learned throughout my journey that there are some key principles that you need to understand to find a successful moment. I really wished someone had told me some of these things early in life, so I figured it was my duty to pass it on.

1. Wanting to Quit is a Good Thing

  • When you want to quit you are usually closest to succeeding
  • If a goal is easy to reach you will never want to quit but you will never actually challenge yourself
  • Wanting to quit is the test to your will power


2. Patience + Hard Work is the Combo

  • If you work hard everyday and know that everything great takes time, you will make it in a big way
  • The two traits are weak without each other but are powerful together
  • Hard work with no patience will last a week
  • Patience with no hard work is just a dream


3. Sometimes You Hit the Jack Pot Most Times You Don’t

  • In “Athlete CEO” we explain some of the rough failures we have had and the lessons that go with them
  • Not doing as well as you expected is not a reason to quit or never try again
  • Not doing well is a reason to learn and get better


4. It looks a lot Easier on the Outside

  • I think people can underestimate just how much work it actually takes to accomplish anything great
  • Before I could ever complete my first book “Endure” I had to write over 500 articles on Cover Ground to learn how to write in a way that an audience would love.
  • Any dream you have you must understand that it is not as easy as it looks… IT TAKES WORK


5. Communication Can’t Break Down

  • Communication is key for everything
  • In any relationship- coach, friend, business partner it does not matter
  • When communication breaks down failure precedes it


6. Embrace Failure

  • When you do fail don’t cry about it or act like the world is over
  • Learn from it and don’t make the mistake again


7. The Passion must be there

  • Anything you are passionate about you will fight through failure for
  • Find the things that you LOVE in life and do them often


8. Love People

  • Enjoy other people as much as you can
  • When you are surrounded by people who love you and you have the same love in return it adds to your life


9. Help People

  • Even when you don’t want to help others
  • Nothing in the world matches how you make people feel when you help them succeed
  • Helping people just changes lives


10. Live for Things Bigger Than Your Own Selfish Desires

  • We all have our own selfish ways
  • We all also have something inside us that drives us to help others
  • When life is bigger than ourselves its easier to press on


11. Expect Nothing in Return

  • The biggest mistake we make when trying to help others is expecting them to help back
  • Expect nothing in return so if you do get something it seems that much sweeter


12. Know that The World is Still a Good Place

  • Bad things happen all the time but so do A LOT of good things
  • See the Positive in the world
  • The negative is most often brought to light so try and avoid it


13. Money is Not Everything

  • Being broke is not fun but money will not answer everything
  • If more money is the only goal you have it will not last


14. You Have to Learn to be Satisfied and Hungry At the Same time

  • Do not be greedy because you must be thankful for everything you do have
  • Do not be satisfied because you will settle and it will get taken from you
  • Be thankful but always be working to get better at the same time


15. You need to be Confused and Lost Sometimes

  • Confusion just means that you are doing things you have never experienced before
  • This is when we grow the most
  • Nothing helps us grow than finding ourselves when we grow


16. You Have to Get Good at Avoiding Distractions

  • When you are not distracted you’re focused
  • If you are focused you are getting things done
  • If you are getting things done you are getting closer to your goals


17. People are going to HATE You

  • It sucks but you just have to deal with it because the more fans you attract the more haters you will also attract


18. Practice, Practice, Practice

  • How else do you plan on getting better?
  • Perfect practice makes perfect


19. You Have to Be Broken Before You Can Be Built

  • Things simply have to get bad before they can be awesome
  • There is something refreshing about hitting rock bottom, the only place you can go is up


20. You Cant Please the World

  • Trying to please everyone is a horrible idea
  • Some people will never approve of what you do


21. Success is Elusive

  • You think you know success and then you get it and find out you want more
  • Know when it is time to celebrate a milestone or else you will always feel like a failure


22. Your Image is Very Important

  • Treat it like GOLD
  • It is all you have at the end of the day
  • Be a person of outstanding character


23. Embrace Social Media

  • Social media can be awesome if you use it right
  • Use it to protect and sustain your image
    Use social media to propel you closer to your dreams


24. Procrastination is Not a Great Idea

  • Do it now because tomorrow is not a promise
  • The worst word you can ever believe in is tomorrow


If you understand these 24 things well and apply this to your life on a daily basis, you will reach your goals quicker and more often. I challenge you to choose 5 things from this list that you have been struggling with an for 30 days straight make it a part of who you are.

Connect with the Author, Ian Warner:

2012 Olympian
Website – Cover Ground 
Twitter- @CoverGround

The Athlete Extinguisher- Avoid This Thing to Seriously Boost Your Health

The Athlete Extinguisher- Avoid This Thing to Seriously Boost Your Health

by: Ian Warner |


We live in a society that is hell bent on promoting activity, and eating less. You don’t have to go very far to find a new diet craze, or a new workout routine. You don’t have to go far to find people who think they are eating healthy yet they are not. We live in a time where obesity is normal. We live in a time where that guy you thought was healthy because he runs marathons all the time, was actually rotting from the inside and he passes away from a heart attack.  The reason this is happening is because of the athlete extinguisher.


What is The Athlete Extinguisher?


The extinguisher is processed sugar. It is sugar that is rotting us from the insides out. This is why we often see people who are obese and they start working out and they don’t lose a pound. They switch the foods they eat to low fat everything, and they eat more veggies here and there and see no change in their bodies. It is because they have not gotten rid of the sugar.


Foods like protein and fats come with a % of daily intake on labels, but sugar does not! The reason sugar does not is because it would make the label look horrible because something like the syrup we dump over our waffles actually contains over 100% of the sugar that we need in a day.


“It is not about what you do 10% of the time, it is about what you do 90% of the time”  – Tai Lopez


“The % on these food labels being hidden is NOT to your advantage. It is to the advantage of the food companies. It makes people feel better about eating sugar, hence making them more money. The food companies have one goal and that is to get you to buy more food, even if it kills you.


Why is Sugar a Killer?


Sugar converts to fat inside of us.  Sugar is basically empty calories that our bodies do not know what to do with. That is why FAT FREE is a lie.  You could take a bag of sugar and put a fat free label on it because sugar does not go inside of us as fat. Once it gets inside of though it switches to fat.


According to research studies done, our brains respond to sugar in the same way that a drug addict responds to getting some cocaine in their system. I have seen this first hand in my own life to be honest.


When I first tried to cut down on sugar my body went NUTS. I remember I went grocery shopping and only got meat, veggies and fruits for the week. I got home later that day and I knew there was no sugar in the house but I still rummaged through the fridge looking for my fix knowing nothing was there.  I felt like a drug addict!


What Do You Do About It!


  1. Buy better groceries and pay attention to labels
  2. Change your habits
  3. Encourage those around you


Shopping Better


By buying better groceries you don’t give yourself access to the athlete killer. If you buy ice cream and cookies then when you get home you will eat ice cream and cookies. The simplest advice I ever was given was to stay on the outside of the grocery store when shopping. Most groceries have the fresh and natural food on the outer isles. That is where the veggies, the dairy, the meat and the fruit all are.


The second that you start going down the isles, you run into the processed foods that have insane amounts of sugar on them the majority of the time. The more time you spend in the isles in the middle of the grocery store, the chances of buying sugar increase.


Habit Change


Here is the thing about habits, they are really strong but they also can be changed. Before we can change a habit thought we must understand that a habit cycle is taking place. Every habit starts with a cue or a trigger, then there is a routine and then lastly the reward.


Sugar Habit Cycle


  • Cue = Urge for something sweet
  • Routine = Eating something sweet
  • Reward = Feeling satisfied.


The cue probably will not change and the reward will not change so the key is to find a way to change the routine. Now that you are aware of the craving for sugar instead of smashing cookies, you switch your routine to eating a fresh fruit or doing some push ups, or doing something that takes your mind off of food. Everyone has to find his or her own path but the key is to be aware of a negative habit if you want to change it.


Your Support Team


Lastly you want to encourage those around you.


It is hard to stop doing crack if you hang around crack heads.

It’s hard to be successful if you hang around the unambitious.

It is hard to stop eating sugar if you hang around candy lovers.


It’s that simple.


If you help those around you eat better it will help you to do the same.


Sugar is not our friend when we eat the amounts that the average person does. Working out is important to being healthy but sugar is the real cause of obesity.  Free yourself from sugar and you can free yourself from an early death. What changes are you going to make in your life today? What are you willing to throw out? Who are you willing to bring on this journey with you?  Sugar will put you out if you don’t make a change!

Ian Warner is…

Ian graduated from Iowa State University with a business degree while on a track scholarship. He is an Olympian and author of “Endure: An Athlete’s Guide to Faith, Hope, and Success”. Ian instills his hard work and dedication into others and people realize the focus, determination and how hard he trains to become the best.He loves entrepreneurship, but most of all he loves helping other succeed weather it be as an athlete or in business. He is truly an Athlete On Fire!