Is A Lack Of Sleep Affecting Your Fitness?

Is it possible that a lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep, could be negatively affecting your weight loss goals? Or even making you fat?

According to recent research this seems to be exactly the case.

At the University of Chicago’s General Clinical Resource Center researchers followed 10 overweight, but healthy participants aged 35-49 who according to body mass index were considered overweight. The participants were given an individualized balanced diet that reduced their calories by 10% of what was needed to maintain their weight without exercise (roughly 1,450 calories per day).

Each participant was studied twice: the first time studied participants slept on average 7.5 hours over a fourteen day period, the second time for only 5.5 hours over a fourteen day period.

The researchers found that when sleeping less it reduced the participants fat loss by 55%. It was also found, that when participants got adequate sleep their ghrelin levels were lower. (High ghrelin levels reduce energy expenditure, increase hunger and promote fat retention.)

In conjunction with Stanford University the University of Chicago went a step further by looking at the leptin (leptin sends a signal to your brain to tell you when you are full) and ghrelin levels in 12 healthy men after being subjected to two days of adequate sleep and two days of sleep deprivation. They found that when sleep was restricted leptin levels went down and ghrelin levels went up. Thus, resulting in increased appetites and an inability to get full. They also found that the participants had an increased craving for high carbohydrate, calorie dense food.

Finally, Standard and the University of Wisconsin then took this even a step farther. They had 1,000 volunteers report the number of hours they slept each night. Then measured their leptin and ghrelin levels and charted their weight. Not surprisingly they found that those who slept less had lower leptin levels, higher ghrelin levels, weighed more, and had a higher level of body fat.

If you’ve been dieting and exercising, but having trouble losing weight, check your sleep. We each need between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Even if you sleep less and don’t think you need it you probably do.  Many of us have become accustomed to functioning with sleep deprivation that we no longer remember what it feels like to be fully rested. Sometimes we just don’t know how bad we felt until we feel good again.

Ask yourself, “When was the last time you got a solid eight hours? When was the last time that happened regularly?”

During the hours spent asleep is when all the good stuff happens in your body. Cells repair and regenerate. Hormones function better and regulare. Aches and pains lessen with adequate sleep. And changes in the body’s appearance happen easier.

This is not to say that sleep is the entire answer, but it could be a missing link and the reason you are not getting the results you are looking for.
Not everyone has an easy time sleeping or staying asleep. But there some things you can do to help improve the quality of the sleep you get.

#1. Allow yourself the opportunity to get a full 8 hours and go to bed and wake up at the same time each night.
#2. The hours spent asleep before midnight seem to make a bigger difference than the hours spent asleep after midnight.
#3. Put down the iPad, iPhone, and shut off the TV at least a half hour before you go to bed. The light from these devices stimulates the brain and triggers a wake up response. If you need something to do to relax before bed, read a book, write in a gratitude journal, or take a hot bath.
#4. Do not eat and then immediately go to bed.
#5. Keep your bedroom cool. 68 degrees seems to be the sweet spot.
#6. Keep your room quiet and dark, free of artificial light.
#7. Avoid alcohol before going to bed.
#8. Cut back on caffeine.
#9. There is no research on this, but numerous people seem to sleep better when they take their daily fish oil before going to bed.

#10. Take five minutes to foam roll and stretch before going to bed.
Everyone can run on less sleep for a while, but it will catch up to you eventually and take a toll on your physical health.

Some signs of sleep deprivation are:
#1. Waking up tired.
#2. Increased irritability.
#3. Having trouble concentrating.
#4. Forgetfulness.
#5. Decline in job performance.
#6. Sleeping through your alarm.
#7. Making poor decisions.
#8. Lack of motivation.
#9. Stiff and achey joints.
#10. Frequently sick or not feeling well.
#11. You are not recovering as quickly from your workouts.
#12. Your strength is decreasing.
#13. Your gaining fat and losing muscle.

Get your sleep! It will make a difference in the person you are.

Fitness Doesn’t Take The Summer Off

Finally summer is here! The kids are home, the pool is open, the beach is calling, and the boat is in the water at your lake house.

But, that doesn’t mean should give up on your fitness for the next three months because you are “too busy.”

You worked your butt off for the last six months and now you are choosing to throw it all away and lose it over the next three to four months and have to start back at square one in the fall.

Sure the kids may be home and that is the excuse that most will use, others will use the excuse of traveling more frequently.

But, here is the thing. Being fit allows you to give more to your kids and will give you the ability to run around and keep up with your grandkids when that day comes. Traveling and seeing the world is great and a very enjoyable part of life, but what happens when you are not longer fit enough to fully enjoy those trips.

Fitness gives you the opportunity to get the most out of life and continue doing the things you love.

But, to keep your fitness it cannot be an on again, off again game. Sure doing this is better than never doing anything, but over time it will slowly slip away. Those extra pounds don’t come off as easy, climbing up the stairs gets harder, and getting back into your workouts gets more challenging, eventually leading to a stoppage of all exercise, which finally leads to a deconditioned, debilitated, and poor level of health.

Fitness is a lifestyle. Fitness is something that is a priority not a luxury to be done when the time permits. There will always be challenges to finding the time to workout, but if you do the long-term rewards are worth it.

So here is your plan for June, July, and August. Two workouts per week, that is all it takes to maintain all your fitness. That is 90 minutes at the gym. Can you do that?

It is really just a simple question; “Do you value your health, or not?” If you do you will continue to always workout consistently. If you do not you will take the summer off and every other time when something interferes.

To keep up with your fitness over the summer check out our 6-Week Summer Slimdown by clicking the image below…

You Are Wonderful

Fitness is not perfect. Fitness is wonderful.

To be perfect is not the goal of getting fit. You are already perfect the way you are. Perfection is unattainable. There will always be someone skinnier, stronger, with a nicer butt, better arms, and a perceived better life.

Chasing perfection is a no win game, because no one is perfect. We all have our imperfections and things about our bodies that we don’t like, but it’s those imperfections that make us unique and who we are.

Using fitness to try to build the perfect body shouldn’t even be the goal, but yet that is exactly what the magazines portrait that you should chase.

Instead fitness should be used to make you wonderful. It should make you feel wonderful. It should make you feel like you are a better parent because you are in shape and able to play with your kids without getting tired. Fitness will give you the ability to experience more in life and have wonderful moments. It is in these moments that life will feel perfect.

Nothing will ever make you perfect, but with fitness we are going to make you feel wonderful.

 

Need a Fitness Kickstart? Click the image below to get started.

 

Fitness Over 50 Doesn’t Have To Be Chair Aerobics

It is inevitable that as you age your body will change. Sure it would be great to go back to how you looked and felt in your 20’s, but that shouldn’t even be the goal. The goal should be to be the best version of what you can be today.

Getting older does not mean that you cannot ski, hike, workout, and be intimate with your partner well into your golden year. Fitness promotes all of those and more.

However, the way the fitness industry has approached fitness over 50 sucks! A Google search will turn up numerous articles about walking, some even with hand weights. Or worse yet, sitting in a chair lifting tiny vinyl coated dumbbells. This is 2017, not 1980.

Exercise doesn’t have to be some watered down, soft nonsense. In fact, it is stuff like this that is patronizing, rather than helpful. People can still exercise hard, lift heavy weight, and bang out push-ups and pull-ups well into their 80s. If trained to do so and not led to believe the B.S. that they can’t because they are “old”.

It is common for many of our members to bring their college and young adult aged kids with them to their workouts when they are home and have the parents who are 30-40 years older run circles around them. So much for the 20’s being the fittest years of life.

As the body ages it needs strength training more than ever and can still be trained hard. The biggest difference is in the frequency. While a 20-something maybe able to workout everyday, eat pizza, drink beer, and stay out late and not miss a beat in their workout, you just can’t recover quiet as fast when older. But, three challenging workouts per week based around strength will do wonders for the body.

Maintaining strength and mobility is the secret to aging well. Getting older is the only option we have, whether we like it or not. But, staying fit and strong with age is a choice. You can choose to look at age as only a number and challenge yourself in workouts to stay strong and mobile, or you can buy into the B.S. that someone this age shouldn’t be doing this.

Age is only a number, the way we train is a mindset.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

 

5 Strategies To Eating Healthy On The Road, Or In The Air

Another cross-country flight and yet another day spent eating meals in an airport.

You know that planning your meals is an important part of staying lean and healthy. But, how do you plan when you have lay overs, flight delays, and need to be extra early just to waste time waiting in long lines to be searched by a grumpy TSA Agent.

Here are five strategies to make the most of eating healthy when your days in spent traveling through airports.

#1. Carry and emergency stash. Stock up on a bag of nuts, beef jerky, and a piece of fruit. Pack one of each in your carry-on and then restock in the airport when one or all are gone.

#2. Meat and veggies. In those rare times when you actually get the chance to sit down in an airport restaurant for a meal, skip the burger and fries and order a piece of grilled fish, steak, or chicken with extra veggies.

#3. Be calorie conscious. Most fast-food convenience stores and coffee houses now list their choices on the menus. Look for the lower calorie options and make your choices based around those.

#4. Go easy on the pre-flight, in-flight, and layover booze. Sure a drink may seem like just what is needed after a day of connecting flights, meetings, and yet one more flight home. But, all these extra drinks will wreck havoc on your fitness goals. If you know that your business meeting with customers will most likely result in drinks at some point, then skip the airport booze all together. If they don’t then a drink or two between a connection with your meal isn’t the worst thing.

#5. Drink lots of water. Flying will dehydrate your body and a busy schedule can make it easy to forget to drink some water throughout the day. If you always keep a bottle of water with you there is better chance that you will drink more water.

Keep the above strategies in mind on your next business trip and you won’t have to worry about losing the progress that you’ve worked so hard to gain.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

Regular Exercise Is Simpler Than You Think

You do not have to spend hours in the gym everyday, or even go to gym at all to stay fit. The following are four simple ways to incorporate exercise into your life.

#1. Walk twenty minutes to thirty minutes most days. Done consistently walking will improve your cardiovascular fitness and help you shed a few pounds. Take it up a notch by carrying a 20-40 pound backpack.

#2. 50 minutes, twice a week. Hitting the gym twice a week for a good total-body workout will reward you will numerous benefits when done consistently ovetime. In a years time this is enough to see a completely different person staring back at you in the mirror.

#3. A daily bodyweight routine. Ten to twenty minutes of the following circuit will keep you fit to be able to tackle all of your daily activities.

  • Push Ups x 25
  • Squats x 25
  • Pull Ups x 5
  • Reverse Lunge x 15 each
  • Front Plank x 60s
  • Jumping Jacks – 25
  • Repeat for as many rounds as possible in 10-20 minutes. Rest as needed.

#4. Reps on the Minute. Some days you only have time for a quick 10-minute workout. That is where the “Reps on the Minute” strategy works great. Pick and exercise, start a timer, and perform a set number of reps. Then rest the remainder of the minute. Continue for 10 rounds.

Here are a few examples:

Kettlebell Swings x 25 reps

Squat and Press x 15 reps

KB Snatch x 10 each arm

Battling Ropes x 40 slams

Regular exercise doesn’t have to take a lot of time, it just has to be consistent

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

What 80/20 Really Looks Like

You may not be eating as well as you think.

Sure Monday through Friday you may do well. But, then Friday night hits. You go out for dinner and order the grilled salmon with steamed veggies and skip the bread. But, you have dessert and a bottle of wine.

Or maybe on Saturday you feel that it would be nice to make your kids a big breakfast of pancakes and bacon. You tell yourself it’s okay because “it’s for the kids” and you’ll only have a little.

Then there is that stressful day that just needs unwound with a few drinks or a bowl of ice cream.

These are the small things that by themselves are perfectly fine, but added up can wreck your progress. To get results in the gym it takes eating clean 80% of the time. For most, it ends up only being 60-70% clean.

So what does 80% look like? Or better yet, what does the 20% look like?

To stay at 80% or above means you can have roughly 3-4 cheats per week. Every alcoholic drink that is a cheat. Every dessert that’s a cheat. Every piece of chocolate or candy another cheat. Fried and processed foods, a cheat again. Chips and salsa, you get the point.

Eating clean is the missing link to getting results. And many times what we think is clean eating isn’t clean enough.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

Start Your Morning With A Bang

Alarm. Coffee. A few minutes scrolling your news feed. Shower. Breakfast. Kids out the door. And finally yourself out the door. It has already been a busy day and you have not even started work yet.

Give yourself 10-minutes every morning dedicated to exercise. Best of all you don’t even have to add this to your routine. Just replace “scrolling the news feed” with a simple bodyweight routine.

Here is one that will only take 10-minutes:

  • Front Plank 30 seconds
  • Mountain Climbers – 5 each
  • Bodyweight Squat – 10 reps
  • Push Ups – 10 reps
  • Reverse Lunge – 5 reps each
    • Repeat 3x

Done every morning you will find that over time you begin to feel better and have more energy. And eventually may even want to add more.

To make exercise consistent, exercise needs to become a part of your routine.

If you’d like more information about fitness coaching click here:

https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

Movement Is Life

Denver Neck and Shoulder Pain Treatment

The body was made to thrive on movement.

Daily movement is essential for life, yet the modern lifestyle promotes being sedentary. A typical day results in an hour commute to work, eight to ten hours at a desk in front of a computer, an evening filled with running kids to activities, and then crashing down on the couch or in bed at ten in the evening to unwind with a book or TV before going to bed. Outside of walking the dog the entire day is spent sitting.

But, the body was meant to move. It is this lack of movement that causes aches and pains, poor posture, and a host health of issues. It’s also why weekend warriors get hurt skiing, playing pick up basketball, or doing yard work. The body has been sedentary all week and then it’s pushed to be physical, but isn’t prepared to handle the physicality of those activities, so it gets injured.

Finding ways to move more each day can prevent this. Go to the gym two or three days a week and do some strength training, get up from the desk every hour and do a short two minute body-weight routine, take a ten minute walk a few times through out the day, join a gym that is near the kids places of activity and go there in evening rather than sitting in the car or watching them practice, find as many ways as possible to be more active.

Movement is life.

If you want more information about fitness coaching click here:
https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/

Every Good Workout Starts With Coffee

Here are 7 ways that a cup of joe can make your workout better.

1. Promotes fat cells to be used as energy versus glycogen when consumed before a workout.
2. Coffee can help boost performance by helping you train harder and longer.
3. Increases mental focus.
4. Gives the body a boost in antioxidants to protect against damage caused by free radicals.
5. Suppresses appetite, researchers have found that those who drank black coffee before a workout ate 72 fewer calories later in the day.
6. 300mg of caffeine, roughly the amount found in a cup of coffee, helps the body burn 15% more calories in the 3 hours post-workout.
7. Makes working out easier. Research from the Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that caffeinated exercisers found their workouts easier than non caffeinated exercisers.

Grab a cup 30-60 minutes before your next workout, just skip the cream and sugar.

If you want more information about fitness coaching click here:
https://pittsburghnorthfitness.leadpages.co/21-day-shape-up-challenge/