27.07.21

BRAIN POWER: IT’S THERE FOR THE TAKING

WITH A TEAM OF EXPERIENCED ENGINEERS ON CALL TO LOOK AFTER THE RACE CAR, COLIN EXPLAINS HOW HE LOOKS AFTER HIS OWN CPU

Our brains perform a multitude of critical functions and decision-making processes every second behind the wheel.  Driving a race car is an emotionally charged, very exciting but completely unnatural environment.  Everything in your brain tends to go into overdrive naturally, it’s a highly anxious state.  But highly anxious isn’t going to be helpful if you want to be successful.  Ideally you want to be almost ahead of yourself, nice and relaxed and in a state of calm, focused attention.  This will help the correct parts of the brain do the right things.  This is the state of mind where you can get the best out of your brain, but as well as access, it’s just as important to think about the health of your grey matter.  Brain functions, processing speeds and cognitive ability can make the difference between winning and loosing in our sport. 

CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT

Sometimes if a day hasn’t gone so good at the track, I’ll go back to the hotel with my brain actually hurting!  Every time you’re in the car you’re logging information, analysing a change, deciding how something felt, thinking about what can remedy an issue.  Alongside this you are also trying to improve technique and drive the perfect lap.  Racing drivers are continuously acting and reacting whilst using their brain as a filling cabinet for all the information they gather along the way.  In the racing environment this decision-making process is amplified and pressure on the brain to make accurate choices and think clearly is intense.  Needless to say, it soon became clear to me that I need to tend to my own CPU as well as relying on the team to look after the car.    I’ll try to highlight the key areas that are important for me and the steps I take to boost my brain power!

Colin applies as much care and consideration into improving his own performance as given to the race car.

FOODS TO BOOST FUNCTION

The foods we eat can have a big impact on the structure and health of our brains.  The brain is in energy intensive organ, using around 20% of the body’s calories.  The energy and nutrition I put in to maintain concentration on hectic race weekends is crucial!

Oily fish, berries, avocadoes, eggs, broccoli, seeds, nuts and vitamin rich vegetables are all superb for increasing blood flow to the brain, improving plasticity for brain cells and in turn assisting with learning and memory.


Colin’s diet and dedication to his health is what gives him an edge over his rivals.

THE REWARDS OF REST

One of the easiest wins for brain function is good sleep.  I tend to be like a broken record on the importance of good sleep, but again it’s value is unrivalled.

CLICK TO READ MY ARTICLE ON HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP

EXERCISE

This is another quick step to improving blood flow to the brain.  Blood flow in turn assists with brain growth and better function.  The more you do it, the greater the growth!

HYDRATION

We’ve all experienced that feeling of brain fog, when you just can’t think fast enough. Along with other factors, dehydration impairs the functions of the brain.  Keeping well hydrated in competition has a multitude of benefits not least concentration levels and accurate decision making.  This also means reducing your intake of alcohol.  Even in the short term, alcohol affects areas of the brain controlling cognitive and motor functions, causing them to slow down.  When we spend so much time and money on trying to go faster, it seems crazy for me to want to slow down my brain functions! 

SUPPLEMENT YOUR ATTENTION

Even with a great diet, you can always supplement with high quality and trustworthy products.  I turned to the COGNITIVE COMPLEX from Nordiq Nutrition. I find I can think much more clearly and access the various layers of stored information much easier when I’m on these. Memory is a critical aspect of the modern racing driver.  When you go into a corner, you do a number of things and the car will respond in a number of ways. You need to store all that in your brain, because unless you can store the consequences of everything you’ve done, you won’t be able to analyse them and know what to do differently next.

CLICK TO VIEW PRODUCT

ALERT BUT TRANQUIL

The ideal state of mind for me on race weekends is being highly alert, but almost existing in tranquillity despite the mayhem going on around me.  All of the hints and tips above are standard procedure for me now and looking after my energies gives me the best chance at achieving this.  Again, this can be enhanced with the correct nutrition and management.

CLICK TO READ HOW I MANAGE MY ENERGIES AND WHAT FOOD I USE FOR FUEL

NEXT TIME

Closely linked to brain function is mental health, so it’s a no brainer to zone in on mental health.

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BRAIN POWER: IT’S THERE FOR THE TAKING

BRAIN POWER: IT’S THERE FOR THE TAKING

WITH A TEAM OF EXPERIENCED ENGINEERS ON CALL TO LOOK AFTER THE RACE CAR, COLIN EXPLAINS HOW HE LOOKS AFTER HIS OWN CPU Our brains perform a multitude of critical functions and decision-making processes every second behind the wheel.  Driving a race car is an emotionally charged, very exciting but completely unnatural environment.  Everything in […]