Publicado el 17 comentarios

Why You Need Rest and Sleep to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Why You Need Rest and Sleep to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

You may be ready to push yourself to lift heavier weights or run faster times, but it takes more than determination to reach your goals. It may be counterintuitive, but what you may actually need is sleep. Building a stronger, healthier body is a continuing process in which the body needs time to heal, build, and rejuvenate. While your time in the gym is essential, you need sleep to hit your full potential.

Sleep for Muscle Recovery and Enhanced Performance

Heavy training or even a new workout can create micro-tears in the muscle tissue. We’re all well acquainted with rest days—the days you don’t push your body. Muscle recovery does take place on rest days, bit it during sleep that rebuilding goes into high gear.

The repair of micro-tears requires the presence of human growth hormone, which gets released in it’s heaviest doses during slow wave sleep. Your typical seven hours of sleep is consists of five or six 60 to 90-minute sleep cycles. Human growth hormone reaches its peak during the first cycle and, while released in all subsequent cycles, the amount released steadily goes down throughout the night.

If you cut your sleep cycle short or even if you go to bed late, the release of human growth hormone gets altered. Without enough sleep, your muscles don’t spend enough time in slow wave sleep to repair themselves as they should. And, as you age, your body gets less efficient at the release and use of growth hormone, which makes getting enough sleep that much more important.

Adequate sleep can also enhance your athletic performance. Stanford’s men’s basketball team improved their sprint times, free throw percentages, and three-point field goal percentages by extending their sleep time. Their moods stabilized and players reported more satisfaction in all aspects of their lives.

You may not be an elite athlete, but sleep will help you get more out of your workouts and improve your performance on the court, road, or field.

Why You Need Rest and Sleep to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Sleep Better and Smarter

You need sleep, but how do you get more? And what about quality? Not all sleep is the same. Your body needs to enter all sleep stages to fully recover. It’s not always as easy as closing your eyes, but there are ways to train your mind and body to fall and stay asleep.

  • Create the Right Conditions: Check your mattress. If it looks more like a canoe than a bed, it’s time for something new. You want a model that’s comfortable, firm enough for your weight, and reduces motion transferal, especially if you share your bed with a partner.

  • Set a Bedtime: As simple as this sounds, a consistent bedtime is one of the easiest but most powerful ways to enhance your sleep. For the best results, go to bed at the same time on weekdays and weekends so you’re not behind on sleep come Monday morning.

  • Use a Routine: You’re not a kid anymore, but that doesn’t mean a bedtime routine can’t lull you to sleep. Routines act as a trigger that sets the brain in motion and starts the sleep cycle.

  • Eat Better and More Consistently: Meal timing plays a part in the onset of the sleep cycle. Eat your meals at regular times and evenly spaced throughout the day. Dinner should be eaten early, but keep it light to prevent uncomfortable indigestion or heartburn.

Conclusion

Muscle repair, energy levels, and appetite control all rely on sleep. It acts as a foundation on which you can build an active lifestyle. When you’re getting at least seven hours, your body can function as it was intended. Move sleep higher on your priority list and start building habits that will support your workout goals.

Amy Highland

Amy Highland

Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy's a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.

Publicado el 33 comentarios

5 Things You Should Be Doing Before and After an Intense Workout

5 Things You Should Be Doing Before and After an Intense Workout

5 Things You Should Be Doing Before and After an Intense Workout

Exercising is one of the most important habits that a person can develop. Regular workouts help the body to build strength and muscle, fight off diseases and remain healthier overall. While working out is an integral part of losing weight and staying healthy, there are other things that can be done to help facilitate this process. Here are five things you should be doing before and after an intense workout. 

1. Sleep 

When trying to lose weight or gain muscle, people tend to forget the importance of sleep. Even the most dedicated people will focus all of their attention on diet and exercise. While these are two critical components of a great routine, sleep cannot be forgotten. During this time, the body is able to repair worn-down muscles and other cells within the body. Sleep is also a time when the brain can reset to ensure all bodily functions are running smoothly and properly. This recovery opportunity becomes even more important when undergoing intense workouts. The body needs more sleep and rest when more energy is being used. Experts recommend around 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night for adults. 

2. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! 

Preparing a healthy diet is a critical component of maintaining a good physique and making the most of an intense workout routine. However, many people make the mistake of stopping there and paying no attention to proper hydration. While calories are critical, it can be argued that hydration is even more important. After all, the body can survive for twice as long without food as it can without water. As the primary energy source for the human body, the importance of proper hydration should be clear. It is recommendable to be consuming water before, during and after an intense workout routine. 

3. Stretching 

Exercising doesn’t have to start and end in the gym. There are still exercises and movements that can be performed before and after the primary routine. Those who workout and forgo stretching are on a collision course for trouble. When people exercise, their muscles are being stressed, pulled and flexed. While this stress can promote growth and an increase in strength, there are some other components involved. Before and after a routine, it is important to stretch the body parts and muscles that are involved in that day’s exercises. Refusing to stretch can lead to pulls, tears or other potential issues. Stretching only requires a few minutes of time and can lead to a world of benefits. 

4. Tracking 

It is helpful to imagine a workout routine like a plan of attack. The exercises used during the routine can be likened to specific chess moves. Each movement is a small step towards an overall goal for the workout. Whether the goal is to lose weight or build muscle, each exercise in the workout routine should be working towards that goal. A great way to achieve this plan of action is by tracking your progress. These logs have been proven to increase the chances of people achieving their goals. Planning can be done before a workout by outlining the routine for the day. After the workout, it is important to write down whether the performance lived up to expectations or fell short. This tracking helps individuals to track their progress and make adjustments when needed. Without this overview, people are essentially working in the dark without a clear direction. 

5. Supplementation 

With proper hydration, an intense workout routine and a clean diet, most people would assume their fitness goals are maximized. In reality, there is still more that can be done to help those goals become a reality. Supplements help the human body to receive vitamins, minerals and other components that are hard to get through a normal diet. There is a massive supplement industry that provides these types of products specifically for those undergoing intense workouts. Creatine is one such supplement that can be taken before a workout. Creatine helps to produce more ATP, which is an energy source within the cells. Protein powder is another excellent supplement that can be taken before and after a workout routine. 

Creating a great physique and staying in shape doesn’t have to be complicated. It is important to remember that an intense workout routine isn’t enough. These five habits can be performed before and after a workout help maximize the effects of an intense routine.

Brittany Waddell

Brittany Waddell

Brittany Waddell is a contributing writer and media specialist for RightFit Personal Training. She often produces content for a variety of fitness blogs.

Publicado el 13 comentarios

Best Swimming Workout to Lose Fat

Now that we are enjoying the summer, it is hot and what we most want to do is dive into the water, Eva Forde brings us the best swimming training to lose fat:

One of the best ways to look great in a swimsuit is to slip into one for your workout. Swimming is by far one of the optimal types of exercise. Not only does it provide you with resistance you can work against to build more muscle and burn more fat, but it is low-impact, so any one of any age and any fitness level can do it.

Of course, you’re not going to lose much weight just dog paddling around the pool. If you want to lose serious fat, you need to slip into your best sports swim suit and ignite your fat burning engines. To do this, you need to tap into your anabolic system: that system that fuels your body without the presence of oxygen. Instead, you draw on your glucose and glycogen to fuel your movement. The result? You use existing energy stores instead of O2, and you burn more fat.

So, the question remains, how do you get an anaerobic swimming workout?

Read on to find out!

Interval training!

Interval training uses short, intense bursts of energy followed by a short period of active recovery (minimal intensity) to maximize your workout, and increase your fat burning gains. When you’re pushing yourself through those intense bursts, you’re working in your anaerobic zone, and you need to be pushing yourself to your limit. Remember: you won’t be doing it for long! You continue to cycle back and forth between your working sets and your active recovery sets until your time’s up.

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-swimming-on-body-of-water-863988/

When is your time up?

That’s the other good news: when you interval train, you don’t have to workout for long. As little as 20 minutes can give you better long-term metabolic health than an hour on the treadmill.

Sounds great, right?

Of course it does. So suit up! Here’s your fat-blasting swimming workout.

You’re going to do this workout in a circuit. Start with exercise #1 and then move to #5. Cycle through the circuit 3-5 times, depending on your current fitness level, and then call it a day.

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/water-swimming-competition-pool-56837/
  • Exercise 1: Front Crawl at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 2: Butterfly at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 3: Back crawl at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 4: Flutter kick at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 5: Reverse flutter kick at maximum intensity  — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.

A note on maximum intensity…

For this short and sweet workout to burn the fat and build the muscle that will keep your fat burning engines revved, you need to work hard. Super hard. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being lying on the couch doing nothing and 10 being working so hard you’re ready to vomit, you need to be working at a 9. This is the only way you’re going to see the results you’re working toward.

Eva Forde

Eva Forde

Eva Forde is a dedicated and passionate freelance lifestyle blogger. She blogs over at evafordebeauty.blogspot.com about Fitness and Fashion.

Publicado el 28 comentarios

The common causes of muscle pain and how to avoid them in your exercise regimee

A couple of weeks ago, the guys at Bodytonic clinic contacted me because they wanted to expand their health and fitness related blog content. 

Specialist Osteopathy, Pilates, Massage, Health, Beauty and Fitness clinics based in the heart of London, Canada Water SE16, Wapping E1W & Stratford E15 (E20, Zone 2).

They are very nice guys and great professionals, if you have the opportunity because you live near or you travel to London, I recommend that you pay them a visit and enjoy their facilities and services.

For this occasion, they’ve put together an infographic about the common causes of muscle aches and pains in your fitness regime, specifically those which come about as a result of a poorly planned fitness regime.

Obviously, this wouldn´t happen if you´d hire a personal trainer to plan your fitness journey and help you all the way.

The common causes of muscle pain and how to avoid them in your exercise regimee