Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. And for many of us, that means suddenly having to get to grips with working from home for an extended period – this includes McLaren Formula 1 drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris.
Just like us, Carlos and Lando must avoid the temptations of home comfort to keep body and mind in tip-top condition, as well as maximise productivity and performance outside of a usual working environment.
It all takes a little getting used to, so we caught up with Carlos to understand his approach in the hope that it might help you master the art of working from home, F1 style.
Take it from here, Carlos:
Setting up for the day or the week
Before starting the day or the week, it is important to have a plan! This should include everything that needs to be done (work) and everything that I would like to do (pleasure) to make sure I have a good balance.
For me, work involves anything that needs to be done for our partners and for my team. At the moment, this mainly includes videos and social media content for partners and calls with team members from McLaren and my personal team. Even when there might be little happening on track, it is important to maintain the contact to check everyone is ok and if there is anything more we can be doing from home. Video calls are a good way to keep in touch and make calls more enjoyable now that contact is limited.
I also schedule in physical training, meal times and time to be more relaxed, which might include playing games, interacting with fans on social media or just quality time with my family. I try to do my two daily training sessions when I feel at my peak to get the most out of them; at the end of the morning and at the end of the afternoon (after a siesta of course!). This may not always be possible for everyone or even for me but what is important is to do some form of physical activity daily, not just for the physical benefits but for the mental as well.
Finally, with any work tasks, it is worth considering what the right environment is. If it is something that involves thinking of creative ideas, then taking a walk around the garden or being by a window is good. Or if it is something that involves maximum concentration then taking away all distractions (phone etc) is better. For training, I am very lucky to have a small gym at home indoors (thanks Technogym for the equipment) but I will always try and do it outdoors on the patio when the weather is nice!
The daily essentials
1. Physical training
Both cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength are equally important parts of my physical preparation. For cardio, I do a mixture of intensities depending on the day and how fresh I am feeling - using a treadmill, bike and cross trainer. However, sometimes my trainer and I will include a bodyweight workout in my programme where I do a series of bodyweight exercises in a circuit format and this is also a great cardio workout if you have no equipment.
Strength is always total body, with an extra focus on neck and shoulders considering the G-force demands of driving a Formula 1 car. I use a mixture of equipment for these but a lot of it can be done with limited equipment, even bodyweight, but resistance bands are really versatile. With all this, it is essential to do plenty of mobility to stay flexible and keep the body healthy. I do these as separate exercises before and after sessions or just on their own sometimes, with an extra focus on relaxation and deep breathing.
The amount and timing of the three macronutrients is important and depends on the training. The daily intake of protein and healthy fats is quite consistent but probably the biggest variation is in carbohydrates. On tougher training days I need to eat more and can eat simpler forms of carbohydrate to make sure I am fuelled for those sessions. But on rest days or easier days, I will eat much less as I do not need as much energy. This makes sure I keep lean during this period!
I do a blood assessment every year to decide which supplements I need to take but, as a general rule, a probiotic, fish oils and Vitamin D are important for general health. Vitamin D is probably even more crucial at the moment considering we have to stay at home, and it plays a key role in the immune system. I enjoy a couple of coffees everyday but I do not have any caffeine after 14:00 to not impact my sleep.
3. Mental wellbeing
This is the part that people often forget about. It can vary from person to person but it is crucial to re-charge mentally and you must allow time for it to happen. I enjoy doing things with my family, like playing card games and chess – it’s good for testing the brain and is a fun way to come together at the end of the day.
I also enjoy video games and going on my sim, which also help keep me sharp. Now is a great time to get in a bit of reading as well and my interested topics are sporting heroes and history. TV is also fine but I try not to spend too much time stuck in front of it. I watch the news and maybe a movie or an episode of my favourite series before bedtime. I more or less keep to a regular bedtime and wake-up as that helps with the sleep quality and the routine!
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