I hope this finds you better than ever and rocking your weekend.
When it comes to FAT LOSS, there are three things that I rate as super important yet the frequent lack of drives me nuts….
1. Sleep, insufficient quantity and quality
2. People drinking (especially dairy based) liquid meals post workout (or any other time)
3. Insufficient consumption of calories (yes I said insufficient!)
This post covers the sleep part.
If you are stuck on a plateu with ANY body composition goal, then sleep, stress, and cortisol (they are all related) are likely to be your biggest impediments to success. Remove those impediments, and voila!
Biggest issues of getting insufficient sleep…
• sleep deprivation dramatically impacts insulin sensitivity, making you more insulin resistant
THE ABOVE CAN HAPPEN AFTER JUST ONE BAD NIGHTS SLEEP. ONE!
• sleep deprivation dramatically alters cortisol levels
• sleep deprivation limits our ability to utilize growth hormone efficiently for fat loss
• insulin resistance causes us to store fat around the middle and we have issues using fat for fuel
• chronically high cortisol levels cause us to store fat around the middle
• chronically high cortisol levels result in elevated blood glucose, won’t help your fat loss one bit
• chronically high cortisol levels sabotage muscle gain at all times, and sabotage lean muscle retention when leaning out.
YOU NEED THAT MUSCLE to burn fat
• chronically elevated cortisol smashes testosterone out the window – sorry romantic weekend, energetic and happy husbands, or workout recovery (both sexes)
• chronically elevated cortisol levels impact collagen production – say hello wrinkles
In other words, if fat loss is your goal and you are NOT sleeping well…. if you are chronically insulin resistant and have elevated blood glucose levels from cortisol from lack of sleep…. then your insides are very similar to what they would be if you were eating a high carb diet and regularly chomping down on pasta.
“Sorry body, I wanted to give you some serious fat loss, but I couldn’t be bothered making sleep a priority.” ??
Worse, if you don’t get enough sleep your ability to burn fat is effectively castrated by the negative impact poor sleep has on your hormones. Pretty much ALL of them.
You will also feel horrible, have limited sex drive, more likely die of cancer (just google it!), and look old before your time, but I digress.
How about some good news?
If you DO get plenty of quality sleep, here is what you can expect
Yes! Improved cortisol levels in the body
Yes! Improved utilization of growth hormone for fat loss
Yes! More energy
Yes! A longer life
Yes! You will look younger
Yes! You will feel freaken awesome
Yes! Any health or fitness goal will begin to happen a lot more easily
AND… Yes! You will be happier, I GUARANTEE it.
So…. this week, how about a focus on SLEEP quality AND quantity?
Want to get leaner, stronger, healthier? You will thank me for it.
Here are EIGHT basic tips to get your started:??
1. Use black out curtains and sleep in a pitch black room
2. Stop looking at back-lit screens at LEAST two hours prior to going to sleep. That is NO tv, NO computer, NO ipad, NO smart phone.
Instead read, walk, listen, or talk… to someone – especially if that someone is your significant other – see end of post
3. Whatever caffeine you consumed on average per day last week, this week…. halve it
4. Try and stop caffeine consumption within 4-5 hours of waking up, for most people, a simple rule of thumb is stop by midday. whatever you time you set, STICK to eat each day
5. Try and go to bed at the same time each night this week
6. Don’t stuff yourself with a big meal inside 2 hours of sleeping, this can cause sleep disturbances and potentially mess with growth hormone release during sleep
7. By the same taken, avoid alcohol, it not totally, then at least two hours prior to bed
8. And the best one: try and wake up WITHOUT an alarm, every chance you can. If this means you have to go to bed earlier…. then what is your body telling you???
Some extras to play with (btw, there is a whole CHART here folks):
– consider valerian tea, chamomile tea, as a pre sleep beverage
– consider playing with melatonin if you have real issues, but start with low low doses under 1mg
– try bikram yoga in the evening, then don’t look at your phone, tv, or computer afterwards until sleep time
– an ice bath in the evening (this seriously rocks for sleep quality)?- a long japanese style, deep, hot bath (ofuro) with 1kg of epsom salts (watch hydration and finish this with sufficient time that you stop sweating before you get into bed)
– one day, take the entire evening off, read or talk to someone, then get a long deep tissue massage in, then pass out
I go for a rhythm where I try and shut down my brain by not thinking about work, reading work or thinking-related material (or looking at my computer) at least two hours prior to bed. Then for at least the last 15-30 minutes before bed, I read fiction, in relatively low light conditions (just enough soft light that your eyes don’t strain).
Of course, the argument could be made that making love to your significant other is the ultimate good night’s sleep night cap.
Nature designed it that way, there is not a single positive hormone in your body that won’t be happy with you if you do this. So Kiwi Two Cents: Take those endorphins and pass out with a smile on your face.
Feel free to jump in on on the comments with your own tips, tricks, and suggestions.
Asked specifically, what THREE things do you find most help you get a deep, big, happy, long, refreshing sleep??
???”100% Focus on Happiness”??
That is my mantra, and it starts with phenomenal health – now tonight, go get your sleep!
Chris “the Kiwi” Ashenden
ps did I mention I have a CHART on all this? Hehe.
You can see an entire chart and blog post dedicated to this issue on my Fat Loss, Cortisol, and You post. Since I suck at excel and that chart took me a LOOOOOONG time to generate and put into that post I would appreciate it if you could at least check it out, and then if you like it, SHARE it with your mates and family.