Personal Training

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How To Avoid The Slowdown Syndrome

As of today, we are now about 14.5% into 2012. The question is are you 14.5% closer to your goals?

If you are kudos to you and keep working hard towards achieving excellence. If you are not, you still have time to get things headed in the right direction.

Sometimes what I've noticed that slows your progress, is that many people tend to skip on their workouts and take too many cheat meals sabotaging their own efforts.

Other times, however, even with the best intention and sticking 80 to 90% of the time to your plan, you still find it hard to see any progress made in your fitness quest.

The truth of the matter is that as much as being compliant with your training and nutrition program, there are many other factors that can impact how much you progress. Often time some of these are out of your hands and some you can actually manage with a few tweaks here and there.

Lets talk about at least 3 of these factors: SLEEP - STRESS - GROUP ENVIRONMENT

Today I will focus this post on SLEEP only (I'll cover the rest on the next couple of days one topic at the time).

SLEEP is essential for you to lose weight and maintain or grow your muscles. When you sleep, your body goes to work by helping you recover and rebuild muscle tissue. When you don't get enough sleep your immune system gets weak, you tend to gain weight and store fat and your overall performance, mood and energy is affected.

This occurs because your body has a hard time balancing hormones. Lack of sleep will affect how these interact.
Lack of sleep increases cortisol: when you don't sleep enough your body releases too much cortisol (a stress hormone) which in turn makes you release and store more fat and breaks down your muscles as an energy source.

Lack of sleep reduce testosterone: This in turn creates a significant drop in testosterone (men or women it doesn't matters) which leads to loss of muscle gain, strength and performance.

Lack of sleep reduces human growth hormone production, which mainly occurs when we sleep. An important natural occurring hormone for muscle repair and growth.

Lack of sleep affects insulin levels. It causes a demand for more insulin which leads to you gaining more fat and could lead to diabetes.

In short a drop of sleep hours below 6.5 to 7 hours a night leads to muscle loss, your metabolism slows down, and you will gain weight and store fat.

You should aim for at least 7 hours a night of proper sleep to insure your body gets what it needs for optimal performance.

If you have a hard time sleeping, consider the things that take place during the night that leads just before to bed time.

- as much stress as possible, especially within the hours prior to going to sleep.
- caffeine, at least 5 - 6 hours before bedtime can interrupt your sleep or keep you awake, robing you from precious sleep time
- alcohol can also interrupt your sleep, not to mention that in its self too much of it leads to muscle breakdown. Limit the amount you drink as much as possible. 
- if you have a sleeping partner, I can't recommend much that would be healthy in case they are the reason you are not getting proper sleep... So try to at least make sure your bed is comfy enough that will help induce your body to rest.

If you follow the above advice and get your Zzzzz in, you are off to saving your precious muscle, losing fat and feeling good. Of course like I mentioned above there are other factors you must consider in your quest for fat loss and muscle gain, outside of exercise and nutrition.

In my next post I will talk about how STRESS can affect your weight loss and muscle building goals.

No comments:

Post a Comment