Tag Archives: Sleep

Nutrition, Supplements, and Sleep

If you have ever done a CrossFit WOD, you know they are brutal. Nowhere else can a three minute WOD named Fran leave you gasping on your back. We don’t need to work out for hours and hours to get a good workout. We do need to be sure we are recovering properly after these WODs though.

How we recover after workouts is as important as the workouts themselves. The workouts are where we physically tear our muscle tissues so that as we are recovering our bodies can rebuild them into something even stronger. The key is to make sure we are giving our bodies adequate recovery time and all the necessary resources to do that. Getting stronger in one way or another is usually at least part of our workout goals. And our bodies need all the right tools to do that.

The first thing we need to make sure of is that our bodies have all the right nutrients to build our muscles bigger and better. Whether you are vegan or vegetarian or Paleo or primal or Zone, be sure you are getting enough nutrients to sustain your current schedule and intensity of workouts. Also make sure to consider what your goals are, if it is weight loss, you may need to watch your calories a bit more, if you are looking to build mass, you may need more calories.

The best thing to do is research each of the above mentioned eating lifestyles, try them out, see how you feel during them and how you perform and recover and then tweak them little by little to fit your lifestyle and goals (it can be overwhelming, but a Nutrition Coach can help.) You need to look at how and what you are eating and see if you need to fill in any nutritional gaps. Maybe a multi-vitamin is in order for you. If you are vegan/vegetarian, be sure you are getting adequate protein from other sources. Your Coach can surely offer some advice and insights for you as well.

Natural ways to get nutrients is always best, but there are a few supplements that may be worth looking into. An after workout protein/recovery drink and fish oil/omega-3 supplements are two of the biggest ones for athletes. A good protein drink will have a decent amount of protein (20 or more grams per serving), it should come from a good source (like grass fed cows), and it should be low in sugar and not contain any artificial sweeteners.

Fish oil will help reduce inflammation and swelling in the joints. Be sure to look for one that is in high in omega-3 primarily from fish with a ratio of roughly 2:1 EPA to DHA when choosing one.

Sleep is so vitally important to our recovery and probably the most overlooked piece of the puzzle. The amount of sleep per night varies per person, but is usually around 8-10 hours a night for adults. Many of us do not get enough sleep or sleep poorly when we do sleep. And sleep is usually the first thing to go when we are stressed or busy. Magnesium (which is a powder mixed with water and taken before bed,) may be something that is helpful is making sure that the sleep we do get is deep and uninterrupted.

You work your body hard when you CrossFit, make sure you are giving it everything it needs and letting it rest and recover properly.

If you would like more information, please visit our Nutrition Page.

Sleep and the Eternal Struggle with Weight Loss

IMG_1811It’s a common problem many people face– you’re working out, eating better but still not taking off the LBs.

Let me boil this complicated subject down into one simple truth about why: If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you won’t see the weight loss results you’re working towards.

Getting adequate sleep can be tough. Read on to learn just how sleep affects your weight loss and the simple things you can do to ensure you’re getting quality shut-eye.

Somewhere along the path to fitness, we began to lose focus on big-picture wellness. Logging long hours focused on cardio became the end all, be all for losing weight. Calorie counting and low fat was the roadmap to kicking those last few pounds. Yes, what you put into your body matters and exercise is vital. But what’s even more important — and often overlooked — is SLEEP.

Consider sleep your building blocks for your mental and physical health.  

Clean up your sleep diet. If your goal is to lose 5, 15, or 50+ pounds, and you are serious about your goal, you first priority would be to check your sleep habits. Five hours of sleep a night is not enough. Patchy sleep with tons of distractions doesn’t cut it.

You need to have a serious conversation with yourself (and possibly any partners you share sleeping quarters with) about the amount you are sleeping as well as your sleep hygiene. A great quote from an interesting book on sleep (Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival) is “Get as much sleep as you can without getting divorced or fired.”

Why? Current research indicates that lack of sleep makes it almost impossible for your body to break down your fat stores for use, increases the likelihood that you will store more fat, and increases your cravings for high sugar food (and it makes sense. Have you ever been up late and had sudden cravings for ice cream or cookies?) All of this together spells doom for your weight loss goals.

Today’s lifestyle all but guarantees hectic workdays, busy evenings, and erratic schedules. So what can you do to take back your control over your sleep habits?  

  1. Prioritize sleep. Is that web surfing or next episode of your favorite show really more important than another hour or two of sleep? The answer is no. Those things will still be there tomorrow or this weekend. Once you lose sleep it is gone forever (contrary to popular belief you can never really “catch up” on sleep).
  2. Think: cave. Make sure the sleep you get is the best possible sleep. Try blacking out your room as much as possible (this is especially true for those of you who sleep during the day) for a cooler temperature during sleep times. A great analogy is to try and make sure your sleep area is as close to a cave (cool and dark) as you possible can.
  3. Let there be (no) light: Eliminate as much artificial light as possible in the hour(s) leading up to sleep. You can do without your smart phone/tablet/laptop/TV in bed.  Try reading an actual book rather than on a tablet. It is amazingly relaxing and always helps me drift off to sleep.

Huffpost recently wrote an AWESOME article chock-full of tips for a better night’s sleep. Check it out here.

At the end of the day, you’re in control. You can make the decision to work on your sleep habits. Yes, it will take time to reconfigure your schedule to get an optimal night’s sleep. That’s OK! Give yourself a break – you can’t change a life’s worth of habits overnight.

My last bit of advice: Give it a shot. Try a few of the tips listed above and in the Huffpost article. I promise you it’s worth it. You’re worth it.

Sleep and the eternal struggle with weight loss

It’s a common problem many people face — you’re working out, eating better but still not taking off the LBs. Let me boil this complicated subject down into one simple truth about why: If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you won’t see the weight loss results you’re working towards. Getting adequate sleep can be tough. Read on to learn just how sleep affects your weight loss and the simple things you can do to ensure you’re getting quality shut-eye. Somewhere along the path to fitness, we began to lose focus on big-picture wellness. Logging long hours focused on cardio became the end all, be all for losing weight. Calorie counting and low fat was the roadmap to kicking those last few pounds Yes, what you put into your body matters and exercise is vital. But what’s even more important — and often overlooked — is SLEEP.  Consider sleep your building blocks for your mental and physical health.

Clean up your sleep diet. If your goal is to lose 5, 15, or 50+ pounds, and you are serious about your goal, you first priority would be to check your sleep habits.  Five hours of sleep a night is not enough.  Patchy sleep with tons of distractions doesn’t cut it.  You need to have a serious conversation with yourself (and possibly any partners you share sleeping quarters with) about the amount you are sleeping as well as your sleep hygiene.  A great quote from an interesting book on sleep (Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival) is “Get as much sleep as you can without getting divorced or fired.”

Why? Current research indicates that lack of sleep makes it almost impossible  for your body to break down your fat stores for use, increases the likelihood that you will store more fat, and increases your cravings for high sugar food (and it makes sense. Have you ever been up late and had sudden cravings for ice cream or cookies?.  All of this together spells doom for your weight loss goals.

Todays lifestyle all but guarntees hectic workdays, busy evenings and erratic schedules. So what can you do to take back your control over your sleep habits?

  1. Prioritize sleep. . Is that web surfing or next episode of your favorite show really more important than another hour or two of sleep?  The answer is no.  Those things will still be there tomorrow or this weekend.  Once you lose sleep it is gone forever (contrary to popular belief you can never really “catch up” on sleep).
  2. Think: cave. Make sure the sleep you get is the best possible sleep. Try blacking out your room as much as possible (this is especially true for those of you who sleep during the day).  for a cooler temperature during sleep times.  A great analogy is to try and make sure your sleep area is as close to a cave (cool and dark) as you possible can.
  3. Let there be (no) light: Eliminate as much artificial light as possible in the hour(s) leading up to sleep.  You can do without your smart phone/tablet/laptop/T.V. in bed.  Try reading an actual book rather than on a tablet.  It is amazingly relaxing and always helps me drift off to sleep.

Huffpost recently wrote an AWESOME article chock-full of tips for a better night’s sleep. Check it out here.

At the end of the day, you’re in control. You can make the decision to work on your sleep habits. Yes, it will take time to reconfigure your schedule to get an optimal night’s sleep. That’s ok! Give yourself a break — you can’t change a life’s worth of habits overnight.

My last bit of advice: Give it a shot. Try a few of the tips listed above and in the Huffpost article. I promise you it’s worth it. You’re worth it.