The Importance Of Sleep

If you’re working hard to achieve a healthier, happier you by working out, then the last thing you want to do is sabotage your efforts with a few simple mistakes. Sometimes our old habits are the biggest stumbling block to our new goals. Do you see yourself making any of these mistakes?

To get the most out of your workouts and nutrition plan, having good habits to support them are exactly what will lead you toward your goal faster and make the road much easier.

Let’s have a closer look at how these bad habits can have an impact in all areas of your health.

SKIMPING ON SLEEP

Sleep quality is in the eye of the beholder. Many people don’t realize they’re getting poor sleep. Let’s split up sleep disturbance into two categories.

Difficulty falling asleep

This is mostly due to, but not limited to, high cortisol levels—the stress hormone—late at night. Short of taking a blood test to measure cortisol levels, you can tell if you’re setting yourself up for high cortisol by looking into your nighttime routine. Working late is the number one culprit. The stress from working into the night increases your cortisol levels before bed.

Your brain needs time to unwind and prepare itself for sleep. Create a pre-bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time for bed and give it time to relax. Dim the lights and close computers, tablets, and phones at least one hour before bed. Electronics emit blue spectrum light, which inhibits your body’s production of melatonin—the hormone that makes you sleepy.

Waking up during the night

This can be a sign of a food intolerance that causes a spike in cortisol during the night. Your best bet in this case is to keep a food journal and look for patterns in your diet and disrupted sleep. Some usual suspects include dairy, nuts, gluten, and coffee. Coffee, when consumed in large quantities throughout the day, can make your sleep quality suffer. If you suspect that coffee keeps you wired, stop taking it after 2 PM.
– via Muscle & Fitness

Sneaky Ways You’re Stalling Your Progress

There’s no doubt that sleep has to be one of your top priorities. Along with getting enough to eat, letting your body rest enough – and rest well – is a vital building block to health and success.

But what do you need aside from enough sleep? How else could you be sabotaging your workout?

Not Warming Up

Any good trainer will tell you that an adequate and efficient warm-up is essential to any workout, especially dynamic ones that get you moving in the right movement patterns. “Not warming up can decrease the effectiveness of your workout and increases your chance of injury,” says Nick Ebner, NASM, PICP, New York City-based trainer. “Your muscles won’t be elastic enough, which could lead to tears, meaning long term setbacks and recovery.”

Training Too Long

A common physiological response to training is the release of certain hormones into the bloodstream, such as testosterone and dopamine. “Going past 45 to 55 minutes per workout can put the body into a negative hormonal state,” says Ebner. This is more so true for those who stay in the gym for hours, taking one class after another, and then weight lifting or running on the treadmill to try to burn as many calories as possible. This could mean serious overtraining, adrenal fatigue and performance decrements in the long term. All of these things, both individually and when coupled together, make for a negative effect on your goals.

Texting

Leave your phone in the locker. If you must have it, say for music, put it on airplane mode. Texting can lead to longer rest periods than normal, which could “allow your nervous system to return to homeostasis,” says Ebner. This could also mean your nervous system won’t be ready to lift heavy weight, and without a spotter, this can be risky, Ebner cautions. And did we mention ‘text neck‘?

Talking Too Much

Are you at the gym to change your body (and your life!), or to chit-chat? While workout buddies can be great for added motivation and accountability, talking during a workout can decrease the metabolic, or fat-burning, effect of your workout, Ebner says. The reason? When rest intervals increase, “the body will cool down, leading to a slowed metabolism,” Ebner says. Also, talking during a set of squats and shifting your focus from the exercise form to the conversation “can lead to form breakdown, and in turn, serious risk of injury,” he says. If you have a workout partner, be sure to save the small talk for those short and sweet rest intervals.
– via Life by Daily Burn

Have you been guilty of any of these bad habits? Are you ready to make the small changes that can yield such big results? Get started with this workout originally designed for Olympic athletes.

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