Finding greatness in 2020: Part 1

Welcome to our three-part series on how to ride – and feel – your best during these months of change. Hear from Swisse Naturopath Maya Muckalt and Nutritionist Lauren McDowell about all things sleep and wellbeing, nutrition and hydration.



Sufficient sleep is essential not only to take on the day ahead with a clear mind, but it’s also important when riding regularly. Plus, meditation techniques can improve your focus and help you to stay calm – a good skill to learn in 2020!

Muscle growth, tissue repair and the release of growth hormones all take place in our sleep. Sleep really does allow the body to heal, grow and repair. Whilst the amount of sleep needed to function optimally can differ from person-to-person, adults generally may require around 7-8 hours per night.

As creatures of habit, humans love consistency. When riding regularly it can be beneficial to develop healthy sleeping habits, allowing the body to adequately rest, repair and recharge for the next hit out.

Simple ways to prepare for a better night’s rest:

  • Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime to avoid that post exercise adrenalin rush
  • Avoid stimulants – for example coffee and black tea after 2pm
  • Reduce screen time 1-2 hours before bed, and switch to ‘night mode’ in the early evening
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends!)
  • Assess your sleeping environment – temperature, lighting and sound.


If you still struggle to switch off or stay asleep at night – herbs such as hops, passionflower and

lemon balm are traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to help relieve nervous tension, restlessness and provide relief from mild symptoms of mental stress. Plus, magnesium can help with muscle relaxation, and may support a natural, restful sleep. Always remember to consult your Primary Healthcare Professional to discuss your individual needs.


Meditation is the one skill that requires no effort. And this year is the perfect time to try it!

You just need to close your eyes, stay focused on your breath and let your mind do what it needs to do. Maya says, this practice can help cultivate a sense of wellbeing or contentment because it calms and relaxes your mind, and therefore your body.

Consider meditating before going for a ride as part of your preparation. Using specific meditation techniques such as mantras can also accelerate you towards certain training goals and help you overcome obstacles – hello Challambra!

If you are practising a mantra meditation, try repeating it when you are riding. This can help bring your mind back to a clear, calm and positive state – even when your body is under physical pressure.

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